Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Way of the Roses review, part 1

Day 1, Home to Settle

It seems plenty of cyclists will be tackling the Way of the Roses coast to coast route over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend. We're off to try Lon Las Cymru but I thought it might be nice to look back at our experience of the WOTR route last September with a few pictures to whet the appetite for those tackling it in the next few weeks.

I persuaded our happy troop that trains would take nearly the same time as cycling to the start in Morecambe from our base in Blackburn. Following Lancashire Cycleway NCN 6 up the Lancashire Coastal Way from Conder Green meant we could refuel with elevenses at Cafe d'Lune, overlooking Morecambe Bay. Because of that, day 1 of the official WOTR route started just before lunchtime so we planned to spread the hilliest sections of the route over the first two days, with the third day being the longest mileage. Day four would be a short section and return home. Our stopovers were booked in Settle, Ripon and Driffield.

Crook O'Lune

From the traffic free start in Morecambe, the Lune Valley Cycleway takes you to country roads and the first hills of the day, these essentially being a detour to avoid the A683 between the end of the cycleway and Hornby.

Climbing up from Halton Green

Lunch was taken at the Bridge House Farm Tearoom in Wray, and can be recommended. From Wray,  passing Bentham toward Clapham, one senses the geology changing and the transition from Lancashire into Yorkshire. From Clapham the way gets interesting as the need to avoid the busy A65 takes you off-road onto some classic ancient tracks.

Whilst a verge path along the A65 will in future be another option, it is well worth the effort to trudge up through the tunnels above Clapham and onto Thwaite Lane, as it is then that you really start to get an idea of the beauty of this route.

Thwaite Lane
Isolated, away from traffic and towns, you know you've entered limestone country with stunning views of Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent on the way to Stainforth and, finally for us that day, Settle with views of Giggleswick school as we passed by.


On a recent visit to Settle we were treated to a tour of the Settle Water Tower at the station. This featured on the television series Restoration Man. If you are lucky, Mark Rand and his wife may be working in the garden and offer a visit around in return for a donation to the Friends of Settle and Carlisle Railway. Be warned though, visitors may get featured in the water tower blog.

At the end of day one we'd covered around seventy miles in nine hours and climbed about 4140ft including the thirty five miles added before the official start. This section of the Way of the Roses was thirty four miles, took about five and a half hours, ascended around 3000ft and including two cafe stops.

Next time....tackling the big hills and danger.

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