Yesterday took a ride over in Swaledale for the first time in ages. After pouring over the OS Maps I`d decided it was time to get the roof bars on the car and have a longish ride over the tops in Swaledale. Weather forecast checked and the day sorted.
Parked the car just below Grinton Youth Hostel in the little car park, sorted the bikes and started the climb on the single track road back to the top of the fell. Some slight navigation issues not withstanding (,too many rides on the same bridleways leads to a blasie attitude to the route, need to study the map more and check distances) eventually we reached the top and made our first turn off-road to the right 500 metres before the top cattle grid. Now we`re on to peat and grit stone tracks and soon are gently climbing to the highest point. Through a gate we took the track down to the left, a nice long rolling gravelled track past Grouse Shooting Butts and down to a cross roads near the Shooting house, could have been a good mile or so descent.
Here we took the fork to the right and along a good level track through the little valley, until we hit a very steep uphill section, that has concrete laid for 4x4s to get up. We had to get off and walk mainly due to the concrete stoping us getting a bit a zig-zag on to do the climb. At least we didn’t have the burden of the lady we came to that had a trailer bike fastened to her Mountain Bike and was gamely pushing up the hill as we got there. Now the track gets to a gentler slope before going through a boundary gate and a long couple of mile descent back into Swaledale. Eventually you hit the Crackpot road over to Askrigg, here you bear left as if heading to Askrigg and after some further short sharp climbs, you cross a small bridge and about a 200 yards come to a sharp uphill bend in the road, here the is a Gravel runoff and a gate to the right. The Bridleway to Crackpot heads off down the hill here, be aware its very steep and loose hardcore at the top, not helped by the rain starting. But from here its a good fast run down to Summer Lodge and the track becomes a road. Here we went left on the road to Crackpot and then through Gunnerside.
From Gunnerside we headed along the main road towards Reeth for about 2 miles before crossing back over the river and heading back towards Grinton. This starts on a narrow road and then takes the bridleway that is to become part of the Swaledale Trail. Slowly climbing back up towards the Moor road to Grinton. Now after about 3 miles we take the Bridleway that goes to the right up the hill, again this starts pretty steeply on peat and Gritstome but soon flattens out on Shoot tracks back to the Grinton YHA and the Coffee and cake in the car.