This Mountain Bike ride starts from Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales and loops around Whernside one of the 3 Peaks of Yorkshire taking in Dent and Kingsdale.
Loop distance: 25 miles
Route Approx Time: 4 hours
Route is Challenging, 2 long tough climbs especially from Dent but also a long descent into Dent as well.
I parked up early near the Ribblehead Viaduct as at this time of year it can be difficult to get parked after 9 am. I started by heading along the track underneath the viaduct along the road and past the farm, (as this is a bridleway) this takes you eventually past a house where you follow the bridleway sign which take you under the railway and here you join up with the main path up Whernside, so be watchful for walkers, in the summer this can be very busy. The track is cinder to start with alongside the railway line before coming alot rougher as it crosses over the river, although its nice and level, may need to get your feet wet. Then just before the climbing starts we cross back over the railway line and you can see where it enters the main Bleamoor tunnel under the hills.
Now the first part of the climb is still alongside the walkers so and the track it steep and fairly narrow maybe two people wide. Luckily around 2/3rds of the way up the main path for Whernside spurs off to the left and you shouldn`t have many more hikers to negotiate. One the climbing is done you are out onto an open grassy track with great views over Dentdale and across to Arten Gill where you can see the Railway again.
Following the open track you will eventually come to a gate, then track starts to descend into Dentdale. This is pretty steep and rocky in places having been resurfaced a few years ago and a lot of the hard-pack surface has been washed off. However, the descent is great, long and fairly straight with rocks and boulders and very steep in places. Once you get to the road, just a small single lane bear right and continue toward Dent village, bearing left at the next junction. Once in Dent follow the bridleway signs to the left and at the end of a dead end road follow the narrow and very steep bridleway up Flinter Gill. At the top if you are lucky you will have a great view from the bench, I wasn`t so lucky, it being rather dull. From here bear left along the bridleway. You will follow the track around the hillside its fairly level and pretty good repair, until you bear right on the next track you join. Now I found this next section to be really boggy and washed out, really hard going for the next couple of miles. You have Whernside on your left for the whole way and can see the track on which you descended to Dentdale. I had to keep getting off to walk, however after the track hits the highest point the track is being rebuilt and resurfaced, so hopefully in the next several months is should be a fantastic ride along side Whernside.
Now the track begins a descent which cones out on the Kingsdale road towards Ingleton. This goes on for several miles and is a narrow tarmac-ed road that is gated in placed so make sure you close the gates. At the head of Kingsdale you need to take the track to your left that goes over the river, this is at the far end of the mountain and joins up for a short while with a track used by alot of people doing the Ingleton waterfall walk, you may even find the Ice cream van along the track! After maybe a quarter to half mile the bridleway head up the grassy bank and the end of Whernside, its pretty steep to start with but eventually you come out at the rumps of Whernside and get so great views of Ingleborough and out above Ingleton towards Morecambe bay.
One up the steep section the track levels out and starts through an old track cut out of the Limestone rock before going onto a new hard pack surface which skirts around under the side of Whernside (on the left). From here there are great views of the surround hills and you can see the viaduct in the distance. This track follows the level until it starts to drop down towards the farms on this side of the Dale. Now follow the bridleway signs to Ribblehead which take you past farms and onto the narrow tarmac road before joining back up with the track you took at the start of the day from the Viaduct.