THE BROMPTON GOES WILD AMONGST THE HILLS AND MOORS
Rosedale Chimney Bank on a Brommie? Wel, not quite, but Mark Jacobson's folder took him to the hills and moors of Yorkshire.
Halifax lies to the north of Huddersfield and made a good place for morning coffee. I had arrived via the Ribble Valley Way, a quiet route. In leaving, however, it seemed impossible to reach Shibden Hall without navigating around the very busy road junction to the north-east of town, where all roads seem to meet. Fortunately some provision has been made for cyclists. After this visit, leaving was much simpler, a pedestrian crossing being provided at the exit over the A58, a short stretch of which brought me to Stump Cross, country lanes and tranquillity. But did I mention hills? The climb from the A58 at Stump Cross is cobbled and steep, making for a long push.
Having surmounted that obstacle it was fairly plain sailing (or cycling) to Haworth for my lunch stop, the excellent Steam Brewery PH meeting that need. After watching the next train pull into Haworth Station, I continued towards Bingley to view the Five Rise Locks. These are well restored and in general operation, a view of the town below from the top lock. Leaving was uphill, and another long push, eventually getting me to a high eastbound lane, busy and narrow, rising to Eldwick Crag before its descent into Menston.
Feeling rather tired by this time, I chose to try the camp site at Clarion House, which proved to be my most expensive and least restful. Lying under the flight path for the Leeds-Bradford Airport, planes flew low overhead except between midnight and 7 am. In addition, three ladies with two very young children who were staying in one of the pods, even after midnight were still sitting out at a picnic table, talking in the night air. Next morning, soon after 6 am, the elderly couple in the adjacent caravanette had the car radio going loudly. Rather without being rested, I packed up my wet tent early and left, the overnight rain easing.
Low Harrogate provided a morning break; High Harrogate was reached with difficulty, traffic almost at a standstill. It became necessary to use the pelican crossing to turn right off the A6040 but even then, the 'quiet' road to Knaresborough was so busy I rode the pavement.
Knaresborough was closed, that is to say, the roads had been coned off, for the annual 'Bed Race'. I shot off to Boroughbridge to set up camp and get supplies in, then returned for the spectacle. The beds are specially made platforms with largish wheels, carrying a single passenger. Above this are protruding bars for the six runners to propel the device at speed: they run about two miles before entering the town and then rush downhill past where I stood to cross the bridge and then finish uphill on the other side, a total distance of about 2.5 miles. Apparently there were about 70 entries this year, and at least twenty minutes between the front runner and the tail.
The next day I moved on. Surprisingly the baker in town was open and setting out chairs, despite this being early on a Sunday. I stopped for coffee, not having used my stove while the soft rain fell. I then set off north-eastwards for Ryedale, only to find myself travelling south-eastwards towards York. Retracing, I eventually reached Crake having covered 24 miles, to see the sign indicating 10 miles from Boroughbridge While the rain continued to fall softly, I directed my wheels to Helmsley for lunch and then took to the A170 for Pickering before turning off for Newton-upon-Rawcliffe for my next camp site.
After a rest, I took to my feet for a walk to Levisham. Although less than two miles away, Newtondale lies in between: a very steep drop and then equally steep climb of about 120 metres, undertaken both ways. Damned good exercise, what?
Next day I rode unladen to Grosmont, over the Egton High Moor. The road in places is marked by standing stones, some of which have a square hole cut in it to use for sighting the next marker. No one knows quite how old these are, whether stone age, middle ages or even more recent, or maybe they are from different ages. Dropping to Grosmont there is a lovely old ford with a few inches of water tumbling over the cobbled bottom. My clever little Brompton found the missing cobble. Having emptied my shoes and squeezed out my socks, I repaired to the nearest tea room to recover.
To reach Egton entails a 25% climb; just a short bit of pushing. Leaving for Egton Bridge entails a 33% descent. At the fork in the road it was a choice of 5 miles to the left, Goathland, after which main roads to Pickering, or 8 miles to the right for Rosedale, and lanes returning to my tent. I chose the latter, and immediately came to the 33% climb to the top of another part of Egton High Moor. Surprisingly I only had to push two short stages, riding the rest!
Eventually ahead of me, across Rosedale I could see the Chimney Bank climb, the toughest 33% ascent in England and, no, I had no intention of attempting it.
Next day I moved on southwards.
PUBLISHED MAY 2016