Pioneer of the Cold War – Taking on the North Pennines

This week our Head of Design has not only been working on some exciting products for 2018, he was lucky enough to join Tom Fenton and Andy Heading on a ride around the North Pennines. Whilst many of the details of this trip have to remain For Your Eyes Only currently, John has managed to leak details to us of an epic climb up Great Dun Fell.


I have always looked up from the A66 and seen this golf ball shape on top of the fells. Little did I know until I went out on a photoshoot ride with Andy and Tom, just how epic a climb lead to this summit! As we set off from Blencarn, Andy and myself had no idea what was ahead.

Don’t miss out on our Flash Trail Sale!

The climb started steadily out from Knock in warm autumn sunlight, but it would soon start to steepen. By the time we had got over half way up the gradient got more aggressive and you started to notice the change in temperature.

After a physical and mental battle I reached the barrier that blocks the road within a few hundred meters of the radar station. I find Tom lying flat on the ground head facing into the wind trying his best to get some shelter for the gale force winds.

Climb stats:

Vertical ascent: 632 metres

Average gradient: 9%

Max gradient: 20%

After re-grouping we sneak past the barrier to ride the final few hundred metres to the top. This proves just as challenging as the rest of the climb, although the gradient is easier the headwind and cross wind practically blew us off the road and the wind chill is practically unbearable. Reaching the top, our reviews of the climb consisted mostly of unrepeatable four letter words!

In hindsight, this was probably a climb to take on with a road bike rather than my excellent Cotic Flare trail bike. However, the Flare, along with my Pioneer jacket and Discovery shorts came into their own on the off-road trail descent back down to Kirkland. But for now that route must remain ‘Top Secret’.

Check out our Flash Trail Sale to get your hands on the kit that John tested on this ride!