Published: July 20th 2006July 20th 2006
Above Halton Gill
Kasia, on the road from Littondale to Ribblesdale
Last Saturday, seeing it was a nice day, we decided to go for a bike ride in the Yorkshire Dales. With the weather warm and sunny, it seemed a good opportunity to cycle up to Ribblesdale, and back to Leeds on the train either from Horton or Settle.
Originally, the plan had been to get the famous Settle-Carlisle
train to start the ride at Horton, but we ended up going the other way. However, we had a bit of stuff to carry, as we had been working at my parents’ house so it slowed us down a bit and we haven’t done any rides of any length for a long time. But hey, what’s the problem with taking your time? Though very popular with cyclists, mid Wharfedale is pretty hilly, particularly above Bolton Abbey.
The weather got really warm soon on and so we needed to take on extra water. Kasia found someone to ask who was in his garden in Hebden - and it turned out to be my old Human Geography teacher! Good chance to catch up after 18 years!
We rolled through Grassington without stopping and made good progress through Grass Woods and
The side view - this bit drains into the North Sea, and the other side into the Irish Sea.
on to Conistone. We then crossed the river and as the temperature climbed went passed Kilnsey Crag and up the hill at the foot of Littondale. Littondale looked glorious, and at Litton we again took on water - a bit like a pair of steam engines! The uppermost part of Littondale looks more open as the trees thin out and the grass takes on a more bronzed, moorland look. There is less shade as a result, and today it was strong sun with zero cloud.
Occasionally the river disappears under the limestone to re-appear further along. We took a break at Halton Gill before the climb over the pass to Silverdale and Ribblesdale. Turning back into the south easterly breeze helped to regulate the heat going up and there were cracking views as we crossed the plateau between the dales. Passing Pen-y-Ghent (one of the "Three Peaks" of Yorkshire), the road drops sharply down, the tarmac melting and coming off in chunks after a tractor had passed! It concentrated the mind on the descent a bit! Kasia came in contact with nettles after a forced sudden dismounting of the bike, occasioned by a trapped shoelace in the bike chain!
Descent into Silverdale
Not the Lancashire Silverdale of my previous blog, but a short dale running into Ribblesdale.
We settled on going downdale to Settle after Stainforth, but as many of the cafes were closing up it would have been better to ride up to Horton. Settle was really hot, (going north west seemed to be hotter) the concrete of the little market square radiating out bags of heat in the 5 o’clock sun. Only the chippy seemed to offer sustenance, and we fortified that with a drink and a fabulous ice cream before catching the train home to Leeds.