A Yorkshire Classic
This ride is a Yorkshire classic and ranks as one of the most picturesque in the whole of the Dales! It was an excited group of 7 riders – four grown-ups (term used generously!), two flyers and one mini – that met at Clapham, in the shadow of Ingleborough ready for an exciting ride, and looking very much relieved that Saturday’s rain had been replaced with winter sunshine for Sunday!
Through the Tunnels and Over the River
This ride starts with a bang – in this case, a very steep climb up through the tunnels out of Clapham to the lower edge of Ingleborough. With legs very much warmed up, the group headed East on hard-packed surfaces heading for our first obstacle – the stream crossing above Austwick. Normally, this is a gentle flow of water with an old, stone pack bridge allowing an easy crossing, but after the rains of Saturday, this had become a raging torrent and one end of the bridge was submerged a foot deep in water. Obviously, this didn’t stop this intrepid bunch and several riders braved the water to try to ride it. Full credit to Steve Renshaw and Oscar Hall for riding straight across with no fuss whatsoever – in fact, Oscar went back for a second go once he realised that he’d ridden it so quickly that noone had a chance to take any photos!
Singletrack, White Water Racing and Cheesy Chips!
With feet nicely damp, a cracking bit of hard-pack, windy singletrack descended us to Wharfe. With the heavy rain still showing its evidence, much of this was ridden in flowing water and there were some huge smiles at the bottom after a bit of impromptu racing on the bottom section! From here, a quick blast took us to Elaine’s Cafe in Feizor for an early lunch stop, where, after a brief discussion about the merits of cheesy chips, the group proceeded to order all of the food that they had in the kitchen!
This route likes to keep riders awake and so, less than 50 yards after the cafe stop, a short but brutal climb took us over the hill and into Ribblesdale for the first time. with spectacular views across to Pen-y-ghent.
Up We Go Again!
From here we headed to Helwith Bridge and onto Horton-in-Ribblesdale. Despite being on mountain bikes, you can tell this group are road riders as they automatically group-up for the road section! From Horton, we pick up the Pennine Way for a long slog around the side of Pen-y-ghent heading up onto Birkwith Moor. This was a tough climb, both physically and also technically, with long rocky sections that only Steve seemed able to navigate without putting a foot down!
After a mile or so on the moor top, we forked left and descended back down to the valley floor via a mix of twisty singletrack and open trails to finish at the beautiful wooden bridge across the River Ribble.
The End is in Sight
By this point, the end is in sight – and what an ending it is! A modest climb from the bridge over the River Ribble takes us over the main road and up to Sulber Nick, adjacent to Simon Fell (familiar to any Three Peaks CX rider!). From here, we fork towards Trow Gill and then brace for one of the best, high-adrenaline descents in the dales as we headed back towards Clapham! A short run back down through the tunnels and past Ingleborough Hall and we were back at the start.
Distance: 22 miles
Duration: 3 hours (moving time), 5.5 hours elapsed