Cycling the Moors and Dales of Yorkshire, September 2011: AKA surviving Hurricane Katia


Route difficulty calculated using cycalc



We started our holiday at a friend of ours, Alasdair, who lives near Prudhoe


Day-1 was from High Mickley to Haswell Plough, passing through Durham on route. An easy day of 30-miles with 2130ft ascent, grade average-B




View 10 Sept 2011 in a larger map




It was a nice day, by and large, but we knew it was the calm before the storm



Even though this was an easy day, I found it hard-going having not been able to train since my surgery.



Through Durham, past the castle and cathedral



Wind-farms are springing-up everywhere (they would be pumping out the power in a couple of days!)


After our night at The Gables Inn, Haswell Plough, we set off the next day on route for Great Ayton in North Yorkshire.

This day was 40-miles with 2110ft ascent, grade mild-C, and although we were largely heading south, the wind had not yet started to impede our progress


View 11 Sept 2011 in a larger map





Once we were well away from Durham, the roads became peaceful




Harvesting was well underway



It was a very tiring day for me, but tomorrow (Monday) was set to be a BIG challenge!


We stayed Sunday night at The Royal Oak in Great Ayton: we can recommend this inn for friendliness and food!


Day-3 we cycled from Great Ayton with the intention of heading south over the high North Yorkshire Moors to Ampleforth. We didn’t manage it: after 10-miles heading east, largely sheltered from the worst of the wind, we turned south directly into the teeth of hurricane Katia. And I got blew off my bike! It was time for prudence to dictate the day


View 12 Sept 2011 in a larger map




It was the start of some proper hills, and hillsides covered in heather



We were still heading east, and still climbing, with the wind partly behind us



Higher and higher, but still largely sheltered



Our route turned due south at Castleton, and we were exposed to the full force of hurricane Katia. Probably blowing at around 40MPH, it was impossible for us to cycle further! The staff at the Castleton Tea Rooms kindly arranged for our transport to Ampleforth.



It was a great relief to have a means of continuing our holiday. Forty-minutes in the minibus brought us to Shallowdale House, our accommodation for the night. Shallowdale House is a gem of a small hotel – absolutely recommended by us!


Reluctantly we had to leave Shallowdale House and head-off due west to Pateley Bridge: 39-miles with 2450ft ascent, grade average-C in calm conditions. This turned out to be one of the hardest cycling days we have ever had, and in retrospect it became graded as, at least, middling Extreme. If pushing into a ~15MPH headwind was not enough, we were forced to cycle a further 2-miles due to a diversion past the road works at the A1!


View 13 Sept 2011 in a larger map




Packing our panniers at Shallowdale House. It would take 7-hours of hard cycling to reach our hotel at Pateley Bridge!



It was nice to get the occasional respite from the wind, as here at Byland Abbey



Not much remains of the abbey since the Reformation



We cycled past several trees blown down by the previous days winds



The village of Kilburn



Kilburn has its own White Horse figure in the hillside. Not ancient, it was cut in 1857, but impressive all the same



We sheltered from a number of intense showers. Blown horizontal by the high winds, the rain was shot past us!



As the day progressed, the rain dissipated, and finally as we dropped down to Pateley Bridge the sun came out



At the Harefield Hall hotel we discovered we had been bumped-up to the Bridal Suite. If only we had not been so knackered to appreciate it!



The following day, which turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, we cycled from Pateley Bridge to Hawes: 36-miles with 3780ft ascent, grade Ex-1(73W). This would have been our hardest day of the holiday, had it not been for the windswept day before!


View 14 Sept 2011 in a larger map




This is more like it. No wind, sunny and warm



Julie can take any amount of this weather!



Kilnsey Main Overhang – one of my old climbing venues (I wish…)



Beautiful Wharfedale




Uphill and down dale: quite an energetic day!


Our penultimate day we cycled from Hawes to Romaldkirk: 33-miles with 3400ft ascent, grade mild-D(72W).




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New day, new dale: Wensleydale




More steep hills and great views







Over Buttertubs Pass



Looking into Arkengarthdale



More steep hills, but this time with a refreshment stop



Tan Hill: Britain’s highest pub at 1732ft above sea level




Another ambition satisfied



Leaving the Yorkshire Dales, we descend into Teesdale


After another good day’s cycling we arrived at The Rose and Crown, Romaldkirk, for our last night of pampering


Our last day’s cycling of the holiday took us from Romaldkirk back to High Mickley: 34-miles with 3715ft ascent, grade hard-D(73W).



View 16 Sept 2011 in a larger map




As predicted, our last day was to be rainy: drizzle as we left Romaldkirk, heavy rain later



Julie just loves Crawleyside Bank – especially in the rain!



And finally, full circle, 260-miles and 22600ft later!



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