Thursday, 24 May 2012

Way of the Roses review, part 2

Day 2, Settle to Ripon

If you've done your Way of the Roses research, you are probably aware of the hill out of Settle. Long before the full English breakfast has settled, Albert Hill gives a foretaste of the challenge that lies up ahead on Scosthrop Lane. The only tips I can suggest is stick to muesli and a banana, reward yourself with a late second breakfast on arrival in Airton and do a couple of laps of town to warm up. It's all very impressive and gives a great sense of satisfaction having attained the summit.

Second big hill of the day up from Skyreholme
The next section passes through some lovely Yorkshire villages and renowned eateries, but there is more climbing to be done, so choosing where to refuel is important. It's a great temptation to call in at the Craven Cruck Barn in Appletreewick, which is where we noticed some other WOTR riders entrenched. The problem is, if you stop, you'll not want to get going again and as soon as you do, you encounter the steep uphill out of Skyreholme and onto Craven Moor past Stump Cross Caverns. If you can wait, refreshments are available there or down in Pateley Bridge, which is where we had lunch. A word of caution: The descent from Greenhow Hill is a classic but does involve four steep gradients so it is too easy to let the bike run away before you realise what speed you're doing. It is an accident black-spot and has already claimed a few WOTR riders including two airlifted to hospital last October.

Looking back to Pateley Bridge and the Nidd valley
For us, this was the day with the most effort required, as we still needed to get to Ripon, which involved some more climbing out of Smelthouses onto Brimham Moor. On the one side you look down into the Nidd valley and then, on attaining the ridge of Hartwith Bank, a huge vista opens up east and you know you've crossed the divide of the Pennines.

The view of Knaresborough from the top
It's not quite down yet as the route follows round Brimham Rocks with the expansive views over the flatter end of Swaledale and the wolds. Descending to Fountains Abbey and a trip through Studley Park with its impressive driveway, to finally emerge through the gates into Studley Roger and Ripon itself, was our remaining work of the day.

The main drive of Studley Royal deer park with Ripon cathedral in the distance
Day two stats: 42 miles in around 6 hours, ~4560ft of ascent with two cafe stops and max speed held to 40mph down Greenhow hill - that was near the top, it was considerably less on the steeper lower slopes.

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