One of my targets for the summer had been the two-day excursion between Reeth and Horton-in-Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales. As the year pushes on, it might not happen, so today I did a “lite” version: from Semer Water in Wensleydale, over Kidstones and down to Buckden, then along Langstrothdale Chase before climbing up the road towards Hawes, and finishing off-road along Cam High Road.
The weather was still, grey, and the 10°C felt warm.
The ride across to Kidstones was shrouded in fog and drizzle, but I’m sure would be beautiful on a nice day. Descending to the road, I passed a couple of cyclists trying themselves out on the Cote de Kidstones Moor from the Tour de France. My route was down the bridleway to Buckden on slippery limestone.
After lunch, the next section was a fair amount of road-riding, and a big climb. Not the best on a full-suspension bike. However, there was plenty of time, so I just took it easy and went to my own schedule.
Along the stream I decided to take a break for some chocolate brownie from the bag. On a summers day you could spend hours here…
At Beckermonds it was time to head upwards and follow the signposts to Hawes, back in Wensleydale.
Before long, I was back in the mist, and only the GPS showed me the climb was not endless. I didn’t even stop at the viewpoint shown on the OS map: there was only grey cloud and drizzle to see. A short climb to the top of the hill, a fast descent with a careful eye on the map and then it was time to go off-road rather than follow the tarmac to Hawes. Cam High Road is an old Roman road, and now a by-way. It makes for interesting riding, with some (relatively tame) bedrock exposed.
Out of the mist came a convoy of 4x4s, giving me the opportunity for a rest! One of the drivers congratulates me for being out on the hill, climbing up such terrain.
Before long, the by-way starts to level off and head downwards. This becomes one of the best bits of the day: fast-and-furious with plenty of bedrock, small boulders and plenty of slippery stones. Letting the bike do its thing seems the best route to success. When my arms and legs are about to give in due to their protracted pummelling, I hit the tarmac crossing the track, and it’s time for a short uphill, before the steep tarmac descent back to Semer Water and the car.
Hard work, not the best weather to appreciate the dales, but great food and a feeling of satisfaction at a hard ride completed.