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MTB – Hawes to Castle Bolton and Crackpot

Took a long ride taking in Upper Wensleydale and a small part of Swaledale today.

Distance: 28 miles
Time: 4.0 Hours
Mainly off road, some tough climbs made up for by a couple of great descents.

Starting from Hawes I took the main road to Bainbridge and then across the valley to Askrigg, through the village and up to Nappa, the turn is signposted Napp Scar and climb the No-Through Road up towards the house at the top, where it joins with the Bridleway, bear right and follow the track towards Woodhall and just keep following the Bridleway signs to Castle Bolton, this follows the the fell side contours, mostly across green fields for about 4.5 miles. If the weather is fine you get some great views of Wensleydale.

Once in Castle Bolton go past the Castle and in to the village. After about 50 yards, look to your left for a gap between the House’s and you should see the Green and Orange Bridleway notice. From here starts a long climb initially up a path before opening out in to fields. The route is indistinct but you basicly are climbing straight up the hill side, before bearing left and following the wall up until the track becomes fenced. Got to say this is pretty steep and the climb just keeps going!

Once at the top you are through the gate and bear right along the track. What follows is a good section gravelly downhill after that stiff climb. Past the first Shoot House and gate before coming to a crossroads of bridleways. Take the Bridle way to the left and follow the track. This continues for a couple of miles with at least one very steep ascent, just keep on the track and don`t take any turns as these others are for the Grouse Shoot and farmers and are not public rights of way. You know your on the right track if you get to a very steep ascent with a concreted section, good luck.

Once at the top there is a fantastic flowing few miles of downhill before coming to the tarmac road in Swaledale near Crackpot. From here turn left for the last couple of miles on the single track road back up to the top of Askrigg Moor, keep on going down the singletrack road into Askrigg carefully for cars as there are some blind corners and dips. Once in Askrigg you will reconginse the A684 and bear right back to Hawes.

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