It is one of the Lake District’s toughest endurance challenges, which once again proved to be a huge hit.

More than 2,500 cyclists headed to the county to take part in the annual Fred Whitton Challenge.

Starting and finishing in Grasmere, riders took on a punishing route of about 114 miles which took them through the heart of the Lakes.

Cyclists passed by the picturesque sites of Calderbridge, Ennerdale Bridge, Loweswater and Lorton before heading towards Buttermere and Borrowdale.

From there riders rode along Derwentwater towards Keswick, then on to Troutbeck, past Ullswater and then south on to Ambleside and back to a finish in Grasmere.

The course is famous for taking in a number of Lakes passes, with climbs going over Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott and Wrynose passes.

Sunday’s event was hailed as another success by those involved.

Paul Loftus MBE, president of the Fred Whitton Challenge, said: “It’s not a ride in the park, it is really hard. It went according to plan; the weather couldn’t have been better.”

The event has grown rapidly since being set up after Fred Whitton, a popular member of the Lakes Road Club, died aged 50 in 1998.

“This is our 20th year,” added Mr Loftus. “It’s a fantastic thing to do.

“We had about 70 at the first one, most of them said they’d do it again. The next time we had 400 and since then it’s ballooned.”

Cyclists from as far away as Australia took part this year.