The Great Dun Fell (SW #186) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

5.2
FIETS
4.6 mi
DISTANCE
2,052 ft
GAINED
8.4 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

Page Contributor(s): Andrew Hartley, Manchester, England; Charlie Thackeray, Ongar, England.

INTRO

This 7.5 kilometer bike climb is located in England, United Kingdom. The average gradient is 8.4% and there is a total elevation gain of 625 m, finishing at 843 m.

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Climb Summary

Cycling the GREAT Dun Fell

Ride 7.5 kilometers gaining 625 meters at 8.4% average grade.

This unique road bike climb is both the hardest in the UK and the highest paved road in England.  The climb takes us from 714 meters to the radar dome 848 meters (2,782’) above sea level in just 7.5 kilometers!  The road ends at an Air Traffic Control facility that services Northern England and Southern Scotland.

Thank you Andrew Hartley, Manchester, England,

The roadway is not open to motor vehicles but thankfully is to walkers, cyclists and horseriders.

Considered by Simon Warren in his Book Another Greatest Cycling Climbs (2012) to be the hardest hill climb in the UK. Cycling Uphill has a nice summary of this climb by Tejvan (May 6, 2014) at https://cyclinguphill.com/great-dun-fell/ .

Another 100 climbs states that Great Dun Fell is the greatest climb in England’ “Our Mont Ventoux’ it  has no peers, there is no comparison.” The only surprising thing is that I hadn’t heard of the climb until quite recently. But, since finding out there was a Pyrannean style climb in England, it was definitely on my list of things to do. Since I was up in Kendal for Shap Fell hill climb, I thought it would be good to combine the two.

I’ve spent many years scouring OS maps, looking for the most difficult climbs, but you could quickly scan over Great Dun Fell (on OS 91), assuming it is nothing more than a farmyard track or glorified footpath. Ironically it has a pretty good road surface all the way to the top. The top half is closed to cars, but open to bicycles. It is definitely worth a visit and is a real epic climb.”  Read more

RoadCyclingUK.com writes of this climb:

“Like Lowther Hill in Scotland, Great Dun Fell is another restricted access road to a radar station and arguably better known than its Scottish counterpart.That’s thanks in no small part to the fact the road is comfortably the highest in Britain, with the road at 835m/2782ft (the radar station is another 13m above sea level).

Again, cyclists (and walkers and horseriders) are allowed to use the road, while public motor vehicles can’t pass much higher than the village of Knock.

Looming large over the village of Knock, the climb is peerless on these shores and has been dubbed the Ventoux of the North Pennines thanks to its barren landscape and the radar station at the top.

At 7.4 kilometres long, with an average gradient of eight per cent and a maximum pitch almost double that, the climb is as tough as they come in Britain, with an ever-changing gradient adding to the difficulty.”
 Read more 

 

Steepest ½ kilometer begins at km 4.9 (14.1%)

The climb on the western edge of North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

“The North Pennines was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1988 for its moorland scenery, the product of centuries of farming and lead-mining. At almost 770 square miles (2,000 km2) it is the second largest of the 49 AONBs in the United Kingdom. The landscape of the North Pennines AONB is one of open heather moors between deep dales, upland rivers, hay meadows and stone-built villages, some of which contain the legacies of a mining and industrial past. The area has previously been mined and quarried for minerals such as barytes, coal fluorspar, iron, lead, witherite and zinc.In 2013, a Canadian mining company were allowed to test drill for zinc around Allenheads and Nenthead. They said the region was sitting on a "world-class" deposit of zinc and predicted that a new mine in the area could produce 1,000,000 tonnes (980,000 long tons; 1,100,000 short tons) of zinc ore per year.”  Wikipedia - North Pennines

The climb also borders and runs parallel to the southwestern border of North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty:

“The North Pennines was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1988 for its moorland scenery, the product of centuries of farming and lead-mining. At almost 770 square miles (2,000 km2) it is the second largest of the 49 AONBs in the United Kingdom. The landscape of the North Pennines AONB is one of open heather moors between deep dales, upland rivers, hay meadows and stone-built villages, some of which contain the legacies of a mining and industrial past. The area has previously been mined and quarried for minerals such as barytes, coal fluorspar, iron, lead, witherite and zinc.In 2013, a Canadian mining company were allowed to test drill for zinc around Allenheads and Nenthead. They said the region was sitting on a "world-class" deposit of zinc and predicted that a new mine in the area could produce 1,000,000 tonnes (980,000 long tons; 1,100,000 short tons) of zinc ore per year.”  Wikipedia - North Pennines