The climb is one of the most challenging activities in cycling. Try cycling Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG), the length of the UK and you’ll realise how the UK can proudly boast plentiful undulations. However, it also gives you an excellent strength and cardiovascular workout, as well as a sense of accomplishment when you are able to conquer a difficult climb, without getting of your bike and walking. Here is a helpful list of ten of the toughest climbs that you can find in the United Kingdom.
Great Dun Fell, Knock, Cumbria
One of the best climbs in England, the Great Dun Fell is frequently referred to as the UK’s Mont Ventoux. It runs for a length of 7.45 km, with a height gain of 638 m and an approx climb time of 40 minutes. The Great Dun Fell climbs starts out difficult right away, and only gets worse as you progress. The steepness can reach up to 25%.
Hardknott Pass, Eskdale, Cumbria
Possibly the toughest climb in the UK, the Hardknott Pass has a length of 2.25 km, height gain of 298 m, and an approximate climb time of about 15 minutes. The climb is very steep, with a series of switchbacks to add to the challenge. If you can take on the Hardknott Pass, you can take on pretty much most of the climbs in the UK.
Wrynose Pass, Little Langdale, Cumbria
The Wrynose Pass is next to the Hardknott Pass in level of difficulty. It is slightly more forgiving than the Hardknott Pass. However, that doesn’t mean the Wrynose pass is any easier. The Wrynose Pass has a length of 2.52 km, a height gain of 278 m, and an approximate climbing time of 15 minutes.
Fleet Moss, Hawes, Yorkshire Dales
Fleet Moss, located in Yorkshire is an extremely tough climb, no matter from which side you approach it. However, the route starting from Hawes presents a greater challenge. Slopes approach 17 to 20% gradient with flat stretch in between. It also has a zig zag at the final leg of the climb. Distances run at 5.34 km, with a height gain of 323 m, and an approximate climb time of 22 minutes.
Rosedale Chimney, Rosedale Abbey, North York Moors
The Rosedale Chimney, is notorious as a tough climb that loves to snap and break chains. The bends can be awfully steep and it gets worse as you approach the next stretch. Distances run for a length of 1430 m, a height gain of 179 m, and an approximate climbing time of 9 minutes.
Asterton Bank, Asterton, Shropshire
The Asteron Bank is a long straight line of climbing misery in Shropshire. It starts with a 25% gradient corner, with a narrow gravel and moss road that can accommodate only a single car. The Asterton Bank is relentless on the climb, until you reach a bend situated near a rocky outcrop. The Asterton Bank runs for a length of 0.96 km, a height gain of 163 m, and an approximate climbing time of 7 minutes.
Bwlch-y-Groes, Dinas Mawddwy, Gwynedd
The Bwlch-y-Groes is well known for the length of its steepest section, which gives you no space or time to recover. The road is also littered with scree, which doesn’t help you any further. It runs for a total length of 3.56 km, a height gain of 385 m, and has an approximate climbing time of 23 minutes.
Bushcombe Lane, Woodmancote, Gloucestershire
The Bushcombe lane is part of three difficult ascents leading up to Cleeve Hill. However, Bushcombe Lane stands apart for those who prefer to climb up the hill in a painful way. Slopes reach from 20 to 35%, steep enough to exhaust your gears on your way up. Bushcombe Lane runs for a length of 1.54 km, a height gain of 167 m, and an approximate climbing time of 9 minutes.
Bealach-na-Ba, Applecross, Highlands
The Bealach-na-Ba is possibly the toughest climb in Scotland as well as Britain. The ascent starts out gently until you reach the first bend, where things start to get serious. A continuous ascent up this mountainside road will eventually bring you into the wilderness, where deer frequently roam. The final leg of this ascent constitutes a 20% hairpin curve on less than ideal roads. It runs for a length of 8980 m, a height gain of 623 m, and an approximate climbing time of 37 minutes.
The Lecht, Cock Bridge, Aberdeenshire
The Lecht is a difficult climb the rewards you at the same time with a stunning view, while you pound your pedals. The Lecht starts from the quaint Corgarff castle with a 20% slope that is steep and a little bit twisted, followed by a short downhill then an ascent that keeps on ramping up as you get higher. The Lecht runs for a length of 3.01 km, with a height gain of 245 m, and an approximate climbing time of 21 minutes.
You can also view a 14 day diary of cycling Lands End to John O’Groats, otherwise commonly known as LEJOG here
Hans Navarra is a licensed physician and avid sport writer. He is a mountain bike enthusiast and regularly writes for the Land Rover Mountain Bikes blog, among many other cycling-related websites.
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