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 graded B+

 

 

 


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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 and graded C- (Mild Challenging), and although we were largely heading south, the wind had not yet started to impede our progress…

 


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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…

 


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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 grade 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, D+ (Hard Demanding). If pushing into a headwind was not enough, we were forced to cycle a further 2-miles due to a diversion past the road works at the A1!

 


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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 grade D. This would have been our hardest day of the holiday, had it not been for the windswept day before!

 


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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 grade C+.

 

 

 


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New day, new dale: Wensleydale…

 

More steep hills and great views…

 

Wensleydale …

 

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: 35-miles grade D-.

 

 


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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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