View Full Version : A686 Penrith to Hexham

20.12.2005, 10:05 PM
The famous Hartside Pass road leave Penrith and enjoy the first 5 miles of fast A road looking up at Cross Fell and the North Pennines, roll through Melmerby then start the climb, flip flop through the bottom section, around the hairpins and then the views open out, stop at the cafe and you can see from the Solway Firth, across the mountains of the Lakes and down towards Kendal. the section into Alston is fast, take care as the bends can tighten and then you're through Alston and the road climbs again, up over the tops, wide open stretches with good views of oncoming traffic, perfect on a SBK where knee down corners are easy to find. Wind your way along the valley floor, over the narrow bridge then up to 3 more hairpins. Open the throttle and blast along the straight to the Carts Bog Inn, a fast left then right then a short straight and you're back into more twisties, take care, it can be wet under the trees and the corners tighten 3 miles of that and out onto the A69 back to Carlisle or continue on to Keilder....

21.12.2005, 02:27 PM
Also as well as being a great road, it can get a bit gnarly on the top, at least you can see the bad weather coming and going !


22.12.2005, 04:14 PM
I remember this road , and it's a belter, especially the Hartside-Penrith bit. A few of the bends near the summit are tight as a duck's a*se !. I've only done the Alston-Hexham bit once as we normally tend to do the Longtown-Brampton-Alston-Penrith and A6 back to Carlisle and over the border circuit.

I see I'll have to bring the clan down this year.

22.12.2005, 11:09 PM
I love this road its just a shame Hartside is exactly 100 miles from my front door! All on the back roads though via Middleton in Teesdale etc. Some cracking bits but can catch the unwary out in a few places. Like to carry on to Kielder if I set off early enough (that makes it a 400 mile round trip) either by going to Brampton after Alston and back via Hexham or the other way round. The last bit up to the cafe at Hartside (from Penrith) is a classic and even though I have done it 100s of times I never seem to get it just right! The very tight bits do claim a few usually pretty minor casualties each year. A few years ago it seemed as if every time I went up there someone was picking a bike up out of the gutter, got me the one time at the very last right hander before the cafe, was chasing my mate up on his brand new Triumph T595 and I saw him go down and thought Hows he managed that? Next second I was on the deck. The road was that covered in diesel that another mate helping me pick my bike up slipped and fell on his arse! Spent 40 minutes stood there waving bikers to slow down before the police came with a sign and some sand.

Some of the bends can be interesting at certain times of the year depending on what the weather has been doing. Does not seem as bad these days but even during the warmest days you could find yourself half way round a few of the bends with the bike well over and spot a little stream of water running across the road, not much you could do but hold your line and hope for the best. Another thing to be wary of there is oncoming vehicles running wide on the exit of some of these corners. It has seemed to have happened to me more times on this road than anywhere else.

Dont mean to sound all doom and gloom! Its a great road and if you like ridind bikes its a must do!

Must get round to listing some of my routes soon.

25.01.2006, 12:39 PM
Local drivers exiting the bends are a real nightmare on any of the roads around these parts. Warm Sunday's have to be the worst.

25.01.2006, 05:52 PM
Local drivers exiting the bends are a real nightmare on any of the roads around these parts. Warm Sunday's have to be the worst.

Choose your times carefully, I'll not ride Hartside quickly on a Sunday afternoon, I'd leave it until 6 PM or after. Biggest problem is tail end Charlie who's riding out of his league trying to keep up with his mates, he ends up crossing white lines or running wide in the corners. The locals all know that and rarely go up there on a summer Sunday, mid week nights are much more fun

26.01.2006, 08:47 AM
Yup, can concur with all that's been said. Lots of bizzy patrols on Sundays, so go steady. We put this one in from North Yorkshire, as Martin says it is a long way but worth the trip and for us makes a long day out. Believe it or not I once did this before lunch and then went into work. It was midsummer and I did set off at 6! Now there's a thought for another rideout this year?

16.10.2007, 10:33 AM
Had to try it really fantastic but a lot of leaves on hartside to Alston bit that made corners interesting! Will go back in spring though.