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Keswick Mountain Festival: combining concerts and climbing

Book your place in one of the UK's most scenic sportives and celebrate with live music in the last of the summer sun

Cyclist magazine
23 Mar 2021

The Keswick Mountain Festival is back. After a year off due to Covid-19, the ultimate adventurers' festival returns to the Lake District with the same spirit, the same stunning scenery and a few exciting new offerings.

Since 2007, around 20,000 people a year have flocked to Cumbria for the festival's unique blend of sporting activity, outdoor adventure, big name speakers, live music and camping.

With a weekend of running, hiking, swimming, triathlon and, most importantly, cycling events surrounding family-friendly activities, it's a great way not only to celebrate completing a challenge but to do so surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK.

This year the music is headlined by: Friday - Bad Manners, plus Merry Hell and the Baghdaddies and on Saturday - Holy Moly & The Crackers, Republica and Space.

Each sportive entry includes a concert ticket and an event t-shirt with electronic chip timing, a free photograph and feed stations ensuring you get the most out of the miles you put in.

With new dates of 10th-12th September, sign off the summer holidays in style and sunshine at the outdoor festival. Here's what you can look forward to...

Cyclist readers can take advantage of 10% off full price entry tickets: use code Cyclist10 at checkout – valid until 31st May 2021:


The Cocker Hoop Cycle Sportive

For a tough road challenge, how about trying the Cocker Hoop sportive? Taking place on the Sunday on the festival, the 72km loop takes on some of the Lake District's most infamous climbs and most beautiful surroundings. 

It features nearly 1,480m of ascent over four summits so will test both your mental and physical strength, requiring endurance and enough gears to get you to the top.

The Cocker Hoop takes you over the Honister Pass, Newlands Pass and Whinlatter Pass, all of which feature in Simon Warren's 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, before heading down the River Cocker to Crummock Water and going back over Honister Pass. It's England's Alpe d'Huez.

With two of those climbs having featured in the Tour of Britain, you can have a day of pretending you're in the pro peloton before returning to the camp for an evening of endorphine-filled fun.

Enter The Cocker Hoop Cycle Sportive now for just £42


DexShell Hell in The Fells

New for the 2021 festival, DexShell Hell in The Fells is somehow even more fun than the name suggests.

A stunning 72km gravel ride through the North Lakes' most jawdropping routes, passing the Skiddaw, the Bassenthwaite and Whinlatter Forest, giving participants the best views in the Lake District.

Not only that but riders will climb 2,032 metres on the Sunday morning, meaning the rest of the day will likely include a lot of sitting down – it's not yet confirmed whether ice baths will be available.

Given the extent of the challenge, everyone who completes the route will be given a classification based on their time: Gold if you do it in under four hours; Silver for under five and a half hours; Bronze for anyone who comes in under seven hours. 

Enter the DexShell Hell in The Fells now for just £60


Back O'Skiddaw Cycle Sportive

If you want to experience the joys of cycling the lakes without doing the wealth of climbing that comes with the above two rides, or if you fancy a warmup ride the day before them, the Back O'Skiddaw ride is for you.

At 70km it's no easy feat, but with 650m of ascent it's significantly flatter and better suited to less experienced riders, while still taking in some of the best views and most scenic cycling the area has to offer.

British Cycling grade the Back O'Skiddaw as 2/5 stars, word on the street is that the remaining three stars are playing at the festival.

Enter the Back O'Skiddaw Cycle Sportive now for just £42

Cyclist readers can take advantage of 10% off full price entry tickets: use code Cyclist10 at checkout – valid until 31st May 2021:

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