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Yorkshire Dales Cycling Weekend

Yorkshire Dales

Sometimes things do not go to plan and end up better...

I am a great believer in 'signs' and that if the universe is telling you not to do something then it is better to stop what you are doing, take a step back and work out an alternative plan. Maybe it is my spiritual side or just learning from previous experiences, but on the Friday that I was meant to go to Hawes in North Yorkshire, everything just didn't feel 'right'.

Here's why...

  • I woke up later than planned which is unusual.

  • Ended up taking Pauline's (Jilly's Mum) whippets for a walk around Rochdale.

  • Left my helmet at home and only realised whilst at the VW conversion centre in Todmorden.

  • Got caught in a torrential downpour outside Lidl whilst doing a small shop.

  • The weather forecast was generally very poor north of Skipton.

  • Randomly went to the JD Sports distribution hub near the M62.

  • Gave up, came home, ended up going for a run and rearranged the hostel for the day after.

But hey, managed to tick off some essential jobs, had a fun day with Pauline and ran 13 miles, so not all bad...

Off to Hawes on Saturday instead...

I woke up early on Saturday and decided to ride from my front door in Rochdale to Hawes approximately 70 miles away. I originally planned to catch the train to Clitheroe to cut out the generally busy and unpredictable roads around Nelson, Colne and Barnoldswick before heading north of the A59 through the quiet lanes of the Yorkshire Dales.

The weather wasn't too bad except for the occasional heavy downpour in the hillier areas. Fortunately, I had a tailwind for much of the way but had to be really careful when the strong gusts caught me from the side. I was riding my heavy touring bike with a full Altura rack pack, so had some extra weight to keep me stable. I really dislike riding with a sidewind especially on my road bike and was glad to be on my sturdy Marin touring bike.

The scenery is really dramatic in this part of the country and there is also the added bonus of passing past Yorkshire's famous 'Three Peaks' of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. I even rode past the Ribblehead Viaduct that is a feat of Victorian engineering and one of the highlights of any journey along the Settle to Carlisle Railway.

I arrived into Hawes - the self-titled outdoor capital of the Yorkshire Dales and found the village to be a paradise for all things adventurous. Everything is geared up to the walker, cyclist and active traveller. The youth hostel is a great place to stay with a really good location in the heart of the village and I only paid £21 for the night. The chippy tea for a tenner was a nice way to end the day as well!

The journey through the Yorkshire Dales...

Looking towards Burnley
Moody Lancashire skies
Yorkshire Three Peaks
Leaving Settle behind
Ribblehead Viaduct
Fleet Moss
Welcome to Hawes
Bolton Abbey

Back to Rochdale via Ilkley and the wonderful Dales...

To complete the tour, I decided to ride back to Ilkley near Leeds around 40 miles away before catching the train back to Rochdale.

Along the way, I took on the notoriously difficult climb of Fleet Moss, passed through the very traditional English village of Kettlewell before stopping off to photograph the ruins of Bolton Abbey. I definitely deserved my Italian espresso at the excellent Ilkley train station cafe when I arrived in the early afternoon. There were hundreds of cyclists out and about on the fine Sunday morning which was a great sight to see.

I have written a shorter blog post than normal because it was only a short cycle tour, but an important one personally so I will let the pictures tell the story.

This was a spontaneous cycle tour that did not cost a lot, was far away enough from home to feel like I went somewhere, but close enough to get back in a couple of hours by train if necessary.

The buzz phrase for this kind of mini-cycle tour is probably called a 'micro-adventure' or similar, however, I like to think of it as part of my own personal philosophy of 'making every weekend feel like a holiday'.

I am just glad I went to Hawes on Saturday rather than originally as planned...

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