No Route, No Problem: Bikepacking the Lake District (Video)

In Allen Boardman’s latest video, he sets off on a quick overnight bikepacking trip to the UK’s Lake District with just one hitch: he had no plan or route. Find a short reflection from Allen and watch his amusing 22-minute video here…

Our friend Allen Boardman has been busy finding new ways to get outside this winter despite challenging conditions, plans changing, or, as demonstrated in his latest video, having no plans at all. Watch his new 22-minute video overview of a recent overnighter bikepacking trip in UK’s Lake District, and then scroll down for a written recap Allen put together.

  • no route no problem
  • no route no problem
  • no route no problem

Words and photos by Allen Boardman

The Lake District is one of my favorite places in the UK. I almost know it well enough to head out without a route and piece together an adventure or a day ride without too much bother. It doesn’t always end in smiles, but with a wrong turn or two, it’s hard not to enjoy myself. I couldn’t stop thinking about sleeping out under the stars in my tent—something I hadn’t done for a while, so I headed for the hills in search of adventure.

no route no problem

I started in Staveley and cycled to Bowness-on-Windermere, where, for £2, the ferry takes you and your bike over to the west side of Lake Windermere. After a coffee in Ambleside, I was to continue north towards a camping spot looking back down Glenderaterra Beck. This is a place I cycled past on the Lakeland 200 in 2023. I always wanted to return to ride slower and stop longer to take it all in.

  • no route no problem
  • no route no problem

Reflecting on how much fun I had on my last trip that ended up at the local pub, it took a fair bit of willpower to carry on cycling past a pub and continue with my loose plans to sleep in the hills. Even when it went dark on my way through Threlkeld, I remained in good spirits, listening to a podcast and taking in the views of the mountains silhouetted in the distance.

Before the bridleway from the Blencathra centre joins the Cumbria Way, I remembered there was a bridge with the perfect flat spot. It turns out that my Lakeland 200 mindset after around 18 hours was rather muddled, and the perfect spot wasn’t there, no matter how hard I looked. It’s always harder to find camp in the dark, so I carried on further along Cumbria Way. Snow started to appear on the trail, and I couldn’t be bothered digging it out enough to pitch my tent, so I turned around.

no route no problem

I was back by the bridge again a few minutes later, where I managed to find a decent flattish spot. I put all of my warm clothes on, gathered water, and star-gazed for a good hour or two. Clouds started to cover up my entertainment for the night, so it was time for some food and to get snuggled up in the tent for what I thought would be a super toasty night. I’m a very cold sleeper, so I need to have warm everything, which weighs much more than the kit to keep you alive. I wanted to be comfortable, but at 5 a.m., I was wriggling around like a worm, trying to generate some heat to make me fall back asleep. I couldn’t be bothered getting out of bed and doing the usual star jumps to get the blood pumping. The wriggling worm trick worked slightly, and I dozed off again.

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise, then promptly fell asleep again, missing the best part—waking up more than an hour later. There was so much condensation in my tent from my being in there with the varying temperatures throughout the night and no wind. Breakfast was a double portion of porridge with chocolate that I hadn’t eaten the night before. Leaving just enough chocolate for breakfast in the morning is harder than any event I’ve ever done!

  • no route no problem
  • no route no problem

Being out in the sun in February was so nice, as it felt much warmer during the day than on previous trips and rides. Rather than changing my plans for this adventure, I went with none. Don’t be afraid to go and cycle; you don’t always need a route with a name, just an open mind and a sense of adventure.

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