A golden hour evening escape to explore the secret deadend road to Adamthwaite Farm and the lanes over Ash Fell, Orton Fell and Ravenstonedale. Proper Cumbria.
We've long been fascinated by the unique joys of a great deadend. In 2018 we wrote about some of the best ones we'd found in the #ColdDarkNorth so far. Great names like Bull Pot Farm, Howtown, Great Dun Fell and Wasdale Head, amongst others.
Inevitably that led to a number of recommendations from punters for their favourites - obscure lanes into residential areas, remote tracks in the Yorkshire Dales and then there was Artlegarth/Adamthwaite. In the remote Cumbrian fells, North of the Howgills and South of the Cross Fell Pennines, this relatively short and mildly steep farm road doesn't really turn heads on paper. But when someone shows you a picture of it, it's easy to see why its allure draws you in. It's gorgeous. A sinuous, twisting switchback carved sharply into an otherwise gently rolling road. And it's steep. Immediate hit list stuff for any #deadendclub members.
Not Just a Pretty Place
We wanted to do more than just the 4km of deadend to Adamthwaite, so we parked up at Tebay Village and planned a 50km loop - starting in the quiet lanes from Tebay to Newbiggin-in-Lune and Ravenstonedale (pronounced "Russendull" as our friends at Sedbergh Cycle Club had been keen to inform us) - we rolled to the start of the road we'd come to explore.
Through the village of Ravenstonedale you start on an immediately quiet lane. Quickly you're alone with just the imposing hills that surround you and the occasional grumpy looking startled sheep.
The sign for Artlegarth Farm is the start of the steeper ramps in this relatively benign climb - past the last two farm houses on the left and the road rises more steeply before levelling by an abandoned barn and then the view opens in front of you.
It is the most sumptuous little ramp that takes you into unknown territory beyond. And its really is steep. Like a pocket-sized Park Rash. Rising over 25% but only for about 20 metres. Then the climbing relents and there's a fast descent to the farm at the end of the road. That's it. Time to return and enjoy the breathtaking views of the northern fells beyond.
Beyond the Deadend
After a long flowing descent back into Ravenstonedale, our loop goes to the North over the steep and relentlessly long Ash Fell road. Then turning left off the fast descent and winding through very remote lanes over the idyllic ford at Scandal Beck, the aquaduct at Crosby Garrett, and taking in the sneaky views of Great Dun Fell in the distance. The route turns to face the inevitable headwind as you cross Orton Fell and pass Sunbiggin Tarn before descending back into Tebay.
You can view and download our route here: Only Good Ends
Here's the profile of the Adamthwaite Bank climb too: