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27 August, 2005

Cycle ride: Clapham-Ribblesdale-Ribblehead-Lancaster

Today's bike ride was probably my longest yet: from Clapham railway station to the village, across to Ribblesdale via Austwick, up the valley to Ribblehead, back down Chapel-le-Dale to Ingleton, then home; 72 km (48 miles) in 3hr56', though I made frequent stops and was out for 6h15'.

One reason for that time was that I made a poor choice of route at Clapham.
The obvious option would have been to follow the old road (B6480) from the village towards Austwick, but that involved following a short section of the A65, perhaps even a section of dual carriageway. I wasn't sure whether cyclists were permitted to do that (we are; it's not a motorway!) and I didn't fancy riding in heavy or speeding traffic, so decided to follow Thwaite Lane, the unsurfaced track from behind Clapham church to above Austwick. It was a pretty enough route and I discovered tunnels I hadn't realised even existed, but it was rough going, and very slow. Not a shortcut, and I doubt I'd bother to repeat the experience by bike.

Impatience meant I rather rushed the next section, so I'll have to return to explore Austwick and Helwith Bridge some other time. Similarly, I only made a couple of photo stops around Horton in Ribblesdale, though I have every intention of visiting again soon to climb Pen-y-ghent [and did].

I did make a proper stop at Ribblehead, leaving the road to study the famous railway viaduct, and another further down the valley near Chapel-le-Dale church: I'd seen a pothole indicated on the map, so investigated. As the accompanying photos show, the entrance of Hurtle Pot is a substantial surface feature (which isn't always the case in the Dales), worth visiting even by non-cavers, though I suppose it was slightly foolhardy to enter a muddy, steep-sided bowl alone, when no-one even knew I was out, never mind where.

Having survived, all that remained was the ~35 km (~22 miles) ride home, arriving at 20:00. If anyone cares, my average speed was 19.5 km/h (12.1 mph), reaching 48.8 km/h (30.3 mph) at least once.


These photos are beautiful; excellent captures!

Posted by David at June 1, 2008 06:31 PM
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