Nutwith Woods

Nutwith Woods

Route Information

Stats: 5.7 miles

OS map link: 

Character

A jaunt in the woods that will leave you thirsty for more. Try a few laps of this, or join it up with the Grewelthorpe night loop and head over the moors.


Route

1. Ride out onto the road and turn left then immediately right into Nutwith Woods. Go along the track until you reach the timber store area and take the track left. After about 300 metres, turn right steeply through the trees on the technical singletrack. Follow this directly across the next fire road.

2. As the singletrack joins the fire road turn left onto the fire road and head upwards. At the top of this fire road turn right into the trees next to the pile of trees. Follow the singletrack as it weaves through back to the fire road. Ride along and down the fire road for approximately 100 metres before re-joining singletrack into the trees to your left. Follow the track. re-enter fire road and take the next right to join the fire road back uphill. At the log store (same as earlier) take the right track and head along for 500 metres before a gap in the trees to the left leads to flowing singletrack. Follow this to the top of the woods.

3. At the gate onto the road, take the road left for approximately 400 metres before a gap in the trees to the left shows a hidden track. Follow this through fir trees until it falls sharply left and heads downhill. Simply follow this line on fast singletrack all the way to the bottom.

4. At the fire road turn right either pedal along the road back to the car, or alternatively, go right onto the uphill fire road back towards the log store junction, but do not go all the way to the junction. Approximately 30 metres before the junction, singletrack opens up on the left. Follow this until it leads down and back to the first road and gate. Back onto the road and into the car park – enjoy!
Route extension:

To extend the ride: 3b. Turn right instead of left. At the junctions go left. Take the bridleway at Blackhill House with a fast descent along a tree lined green lane. Follow this to its conclusion. At the farm by the lane, take the steep track to the right which descends to a ford. Follow this as it twists and turns on rough tracks.

This meets the narrow road, head straight ahead and joins the track across the moor as the road turns sharp left. Climb on the technical track with difficult rock steps through the gate where, after about 1 mile, a track to the right speeds you downhill with exhilaration.

As this track meets the road at Ilton, follow the road back to the top of Nutwith Woods and re-join the route above.




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Nine Standards Rigg

Nine Standards Rigg

Route Information

Stats: : 26 miles, 4,600 feet of ascent.

OS Map:

Refreshments

Depending on season and opening hours, sustenance may be sought at Keld, Kirkby Stephen and the Tan Hill Inn.

Character

There’s a distinctly North Pennine feel to this loop – it’s higher, wilder and wetter than most Dales rides. Expect frothing rivers, Lagavulin-brown with peat and long stretches where the only movement is flitting pipits. The route bestrides the main watershed of northern England so there are a couple of substantial climbs, but these are partly alleviated by tarmac. Expect to use map and compass skills across the moorland sections and try not to have overoptimistic expectations of distinct, dry, free-rolling tracks.

Possible bonus section: For an extra climb, park in Muker and get to Keld over Kisdon Hill, returning via the Upper Swale.


Route

1. Leave Keld on the B6270 signposted to Kirkby Stephen. It’s a long, draggy climb if the wind is in the western quarters but the river scenery of Birkdale more than makes up for it.

2. Just after the watershed (and the Cumbrian border), a bridleway forks off to the right. Follow this on a northerly bearing over limestone scenery, then veer north east across the flank of Nine Standards Rigg.

3. After climbing up from a second major stream, turn left on a northwesterly bearing, picking up a stone wall. The bridleway eventually reaches a roadhead.

4. Follow tarmac down, past quarries, to the charming village of Hartley. If hungry, go down to cross the Eden to sample Kirkby Stephen’s manifold delights. If minimising mileage, follow lanes straight to Winton.

5. Head out of Kirkby on the A685 towards Brough. Fork right to Winton and follow lanes through the hamlets of Rookby and Heggerscales.

6. The road becomes a rough track down to Wrenside Farm. Veer right here, through a couple of fords. Ignore the quad-bike trail going straight up and keep to the wall, past a ruined barn.

7. Ford the rather Old-Testament-sounding River Belah and head upstream over rough terrain. At the charmingly-named Woofer Gill, it gets rougher still. Shoulder the bike, climb out of the ravine on your left and follow a precarious trod that would give a mountain goat pause for thought, never mind a horse and rider.

8. Head out over open moorland towards a new plantation of ash and rowan. At the time of writing (October 2011) these are no more than a foot tall, clad in plastic tubes. You may have to vault a low fence to escape the new wood.

9. Look up the slope for a cruciform bridleway sign pointing downhill from the road. This will be your only guide – don’t expect a distinct trail on the ground. Turn right and follow the road to the Tan Hill Inn.

10. Straight out of the inn’s front door, the Pennine Way heads south. This starts off dry and stone-based but soon reverts to marshy type. This is the Pennine Way, remember. Ignore a couple of opportunities to turn right (down to the road) and, where the track goes left through a gap in the wall, go straight on, down to Keld.




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Nidderdale Loop

Nidderdale Loop

Route Information

Stats: 21 miles

OS map link:

Refreshments

Pateley Bridge is the spot for accommodation and food. However, the Sportsman’s Arms at Wath is excellent for a pint and more upmarket accommodation if it takes your fancy. There is a superb small camp site in the valley, near Lofthouse. It has the best showers and facilities of any campsite in the area.

Character

This ride is an excellent trip out, with some hard climbs matched by superb descents. The climb to Middlesmoor will test all riders, and you may want to stop to enjoy the view at the top – it is fantastic. Before you set off, pick up a steak pie at Kendal’s in Pateley, and finish off in the Sportsman’s Arms at Wath.


Route

1. Ride across the bridge and at the lane end head straight on up the bridleway. Eventually the top is reached near to a deserted farm where you enjoy a rapid descent which is only halted by a couple of gates.

2. The track flows alongside the reservoir, becoming technical, with some rock steps to negotiate before evening out. Follow the bridleway as it leads around to Bouthwaite.

3. As the lane joins the main road, turn left towards the village (Ramsgill). On entering the village turn right and go through the farmyard signed for a bridleway towards Lofthouse. This track flows and winds across meadows and along stone walled lanes, dropping on cobbles and eventually meeting the road to How Stean.

4. Take the narrow road to a tea stop at the gorge cafe. From here, retreat along the road towards Lofthouse, however turning left at the junction and steeply uphill to Middlesmoor.

5. At Middlesmoor take the walled track which rises towards Scar House Reservoir. The descent that follows to the car park at Scar House is superb – fast and dicey!
6. Go over the dam, turn right up the incline, joining the track that skirts the edge of the valley, following this around the edge of Nidderdale.

7. At the road, head straight across, joining the track to a junction, keeping right, before a descent goes steeply down technical rocks to Bouthwaite.

8. At the tarmac lane, go through the gate and turn left. Head along the side of the reservoir, to the starting point at Wath and have a well-earned rest.




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Moresdale Road Swaledale

Moresdale Road,  Swaledale

Route Information

Stats: 18 miles, 2468 feet of ascent

OS Map: Requires map

Refreshments

Start at the Dales MTB centre for the best facilities; a bike shop, toilets, cafe, and even a bunkhouse if you want to stay over – great pubs in Reeth, with great grub.

Character

A cracking route that’ll show off the very best of Swaledale riding,with steep climbs and great descents.


Route

1. From the Dales MTB Centre, head up the road to Reeth. At Reeth market place take the road out to Langthwaite climbing steadily out of the village and over the cattle grid. 1km after the grid you need to look out for a double track on your left climbing steeply up the moor. Follow this track above Riddings Farm and drop down to Thirns, turn right and take the next track on the right as it climbs steadily. Follow this track and just after the wall on the left stops there is a crossroads of tracks – bear right towards a post and follow this single track bridleway as it climbs the side of Cringley Hill and then drops down to Fore Gill Gate – go through the gate and turn right onto the road.

2. Follow the road for 0.5km and a double track bridleway is signed on your left – follow this as it gains even more height. Just before the top on the right another track heads off above some trees – take this and have a breather on the first bit of flat trail so far! Once past the trees look out for a rocky track on the right – this track is a zig zag descent through the hushes – its fast and loose with plenty of sharp stones to puncture on but great fun. This will bring you out onto the Langthwaite – Tan Hill road where you need to turn right.

3. Go down the road and take the first road on the left, crossing Stang Bridge and then climb for about 2km on the road, ignore the first bridleway sign on the right and keep on until you see a double track on the right – take this and it rises steadily with cliffs on your left and a great view of Arkengarthdale on the right. After a short sharp climb the track forks – take the left to the top of Windegg Vein. Follow this track, the Moresdale Road, across the moor.

4. About 1km after the shooting hut turn right on the double track and enjoy a short descent. The track regains a bit of height but then starts a steady drop to Schoolmaster Pasture – engage big ring and enjoy.

5. Turn right on the road and take the tarmac to Washfold and straight on at the crossroads up to Hurst. After some cottages on your right there is a gate on the left with a track climbing alongside some spoil heaps – take this up to another gate – once through the gate its a steady climb on a rough track across Marrick Moor to another gate. Go through the gate and enjoy the view before dropping down Fremington Edge – either of the tracks from the gate will get you down – rough to the left, fast to the right. Halfway down a gate stops the fun – just hang back from the fast one to give them chance to open it for you! The rough track joins tarmac but is still entertaining.

6. Follow the road down through some trees and as the road bends left, turn right down a short boulder strewn trail where it comes out beside a house. Turn right and drop to the main road. If you parked in Reeth turn right and you will be there in a couple of minutes – turn left for the Dales Centre.




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Mastiles Lane

Mastiles Lane

Route Information

Stats: 14 miles

OS Map:

Character

This is an absolutely terrific route at all times of the year. In the past two years I’ve done the route with snow lying on the very top; in the rainy autumn, where we got soaked after only 10 minutes, and a mate refused to let me eat on the way around, stating ‘eating is cheating!’ And I’ve done it on glorious sunny days, with the open dales spread before me.
It’s only the distance that makes this a borderline route. If you extended it to Settle, it’s definitely a hard route. So when you finish, head into the pub at Kilnsey for a good meal.

Refreshments

Park at the cattle grid if in small numbers. Alternatively park at Kilnsey Park, where a good restaurant awaits at the end. For me, I’d choose the Tennant Arms for food every time. Accommodation is ample nearby, with Kettlewell Youth Hostel for the budget conscious.


Route

1. Turn off the road behind the pub at Kilnsey and drive up the steep lane, parking at the start of Mastiles Lane, by the steel gate. The initial climb is on tarmac, allowing you to warm up. Go through the gate and onto the rough bridleway.

2. Follow this as is gently rises and falls for a short distance, before your eyes lead you to the dramatic incline in the distance. Head up the bridleway as it climbs for about 2 miles of hard graft before easing off a bit. The track then falls as you enjoy the first really fast, twisting descent. Go through a series of gates as you follow the bridleway on good ground. After the ‘Roman Fort’ marked on the OS map, a descent takes you across bumpy ground, through a gate and across a deep ford before a tricky rocky climb.

3. The track eases and leads to a field gate as you complete Mastiles Lane. Go through this gate and turn right, following the fast track as it descends, across a cattle grid before turning left by a small copse and following the track to Malham Tarn.

4. Cycle around the tarn, past Tarn House and down the drive to a point by a gatehouse with a track junction marked on the left. Take this track which has wetlands to the left of a drystone wall, until it meets the road.

5. Turn left and follow this road to a junction, turning left and heading back to the end/ start of Mastiles lane.

Now reverse the lane all the back to Kilnsey. The final descent is one of the best you’ll find anywhere in England. This route has several extensions: The Settle Loop or a drop down into

Malham followed by a return via Gordale.
If you’re going to Settle, then the Three Peaks Bike Shop is one of the very best anywhere in the UK, with a superb cafe too.




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Malham Tarn

Malham Tarn

Route Information

Stats: 10.3 miles

OS map:

Refreshments

Apart the tea van and ice cream that often parks up nearby, there are fantastic facilities within Malham itself. Numerous tea shops, inns and a good little store, as well as the National Parks visitor centre. Car parking is ample at the roughly surfaced car park adjacent to the Tarn road. Nearby is Settle as well, with even more facilities. Yes, Settle. If you head across towards Langcliffe, it’s a short but beautiful ride down to Langcliffe and in to Settle. It cuts out a long road route that most people would think of, and is probably one of the most scenic roads in the Dales.

Character

If you’re looking for a great short ride for kids and families in the Yorkshire Dales, between 10 and 25 km, then this is the one. It’s not too steep, but has enough fun sections to keep them happy downhill, but to ensure they won’t go too fast. For an introduction mtb ride for kids this is it. Good surfaces, great views, and an ice cream to finish. The route is rideable at all times of the year, but wrap up warm in winter. The photo below shows the approach to the tarn with snow in the dips. However, the views made up for the cold.


Route

1. Turn left out of the car park and along the road for a short distance. At the first cross roads, the left hand junction is a track which takes you to the edge of the Tarn.

2. Follow this track, through a gate and around the Tarn, before heading into trees, and a short climb to the Malham Tarn Field Centre. Go around the centre and downhill, passing National Trust cottages before joining a ‘T’ junction.

3. Turn right along the lane, heading towards Arncliffe for about a mile. At a shoulder in the road, the Pennine Way crosses the lane, marked by a good sign post and continues along a good farm track ahead and to your left (ignore this!). Take the other bridleway, directly opposite the sign post, through the field gate and across Malham Moor.

4. Go diagonally across the field to a gap in the wall, and continue along the faint path across beautiful limestone countryside as you climb Malham Moor. Once the halfway point of the ride is reached the gradient becomes friendlier for the kids and begins a rolling descent, all the way to tarmac at Henside Road.

5. Turn left at the road and cycle along to the road junction to the left (signed Arncliffe. Go left and along this lane until a fork ahead, with the right hand fork being a gated track. Take this gated track, which leads back to the route around the Tarn.

6. At the next track junction turn right and back around the Tarn. As you descend and come out of the trees, a short distance (200yards) on, a track to the left should be taken. This is lightly rougher and be avoided by simply continuing back to the car. However, it is worth the detour.

7. Follow this track which loops around a scar, to a small copse on the right and track junction. Turn right and along towards ‘Street Gate’, the start of Mastilles Lane.

8. At Street Gate, turn right again and along the road back to the car.
Pack up the bikes and go and get the kids an ice cream. If they won’t share, get them one each.




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Langthwaite MTB

Langthwaite MTB

Route Information

Stats: 9.4 miles

OS map:

Refreshments

The best place for good facilities is Reeth, with ample accommodation choices and places to eat. Grinton Youth Hostel is superb, but is beaten in my view by the Dales Mountain Bike Centre at Low Fremington. Stuart and company will also fix up your bike for you. If you do stay in the area, keep this for an evening outing. At the end, head for the 18th Century ‘Charles Bathurst Inn’, for an excellent meal. If you fancy a bit more comfort for sleeping, then the rooms at the Inn are great.

Character

A 2 hour ride up and over Swaledale moorlands with steep ascents & descents, starting with a killer climb. Initially on tarmac, as the narrow lane twists and turns, it joins the rough moorland tracks through a gate on the left hand side of the lane near what you hope to be the top.

However, although easing off, it continues to climb until respite is gained with superb views all around. It is an excellent introduction into Swaledale biking. It takes in some superb scenery…if you can catch your breath enough to enjoy it!

Albeit steep, if possible, the climbs are best done in the middle ring. The descents will more than make up for the climbs. Remember that speed is your friend and enjoy what Swaledale has to offer.


Route

1. Start at the pub car park at Langthwaite (grid 99950320) and head down the road to the junction, turning left and up the hill towards the bridleway at grid 02450090.

2. Go over Peat Moor Green to the track junction and head east past St Andrews Cross to the Moresdale Road (track). The steep climbs are rewarded with a terrific descent across the moor that will make your eyes water! Check the brakes before you begin the descent. This is definitely fast and furious – hold on and enjoy!

3. Drop down the goat’s road into Washfold village, going west and through the village onto Hurst, joining the track heading west.

4. Continuing along the bridleway west, towards Langthwaite. This descends Fremington Edge, with a technical rocky section. beware of hidden dangers here. Rocks will spring out at you from within the grassy meadow.
A final sweeping walled lane will lead to a well-earned finish.




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Lady Anne and the Wild Boar

Lady Anne and the Wild Boar

Route Information

Stats: Be warned, only a few of the 38 miles are easy miles and none of the 5,000 feet of ascent are easy feet. Memory Map has this at over 5,300′

OS Map:

Refreshment

This is a wild and remote ride with long stretches away from civilisation but there are opportunities to eat and drink at Sedbergh, Dent and Appersett (Moira Metcalfe’s art studio serves hot drinks and scones).

Character

This is a tough but magnificent loop around the North-Western Dales involving five substantial climbs and some wild, remote trails. It takes in the northern shoulder of Wild Boar Fell and the full length of Lady Anne Clifford’s Highway. You could start and finish in Sedbergh, Dent, Hawes or Mallerstang but the route is described starting from Street (near Ravenstonedale) so the biggest climb is with fresh legs.


Route

1. There’s plenty of roadside parking, as long as you aren’t pulling a caravan (council signs line the verge to ward off travellers). Set off up the lane to Stennerskeugh, past the ostentatious gates and the folly, with signs for “Pennine Bridleway” leading to Mallerstang. Fork left at a fallen tree (September 2011) and head upward to the slight dip on the skyline.

2. The descent is likely to be wet so go easy on the brakes. Initially it is well-defined before a sketchy stretch across the most tussocky field in Christendom. A stone-based trail soon resumes and swoops down to the road under a railway bridge. Mallerstang Edge rises in front like something from Trotternish or Conan-Doyle’s Lost World.

3. Turn left and follow the B-road briefly until a sign points back and up to Hell Gill Bridge. This byway is Lady Anne Clifford’s Highway, named after the redoubtable 17th Century noblewoman.

Climb gently but persistently to Mary Bourne’s evocative sculpture “Watercut” and then keep contouring at around 400m, forking left after the impressive gorge of Hell Gill. Ignore bridleways turning right and keep going on the byway to Cotter End. Plummet down this to the road at Appersett. After a mile of tarmac, nourishment may be sought at Moira Metcalfe’s art studio on the left.

4. Leave on the lane marked “unsuitable for wide or heavy vehicles” by Widdale Bridge and join the B-road for a while before turning right at Widdale Foot. Go through coniferous forest until the track turns into a peaty wallow chewed up by irresponsible scramble bikes. When you reach the brow at 526m, however, the descent is a gem, rattling down under Artengill Viaduct, with only the rain gutters to worry about.

5. Spin down Dentdale on tarmac. If feeling energetic, you can go over to Sedbergh by Rawridding but our route hugs the lanes until SD668 896 and the easier track to Millthrop (See picture, below right).

6. From Sedbergh, head out on the A683 to Brough, then fork left at the speed camera sign.(See picture above) Climb gently on tarmac then follow a long, sinuous feast of singletrack along the skirts of the Howgills. After a deep ford, climb to Narthwaite and head right.

7. At a second ford (Wandale Beck) climb out by a limestone ramp then fork left, up through birch and hazel woods. When the wood peters out, the trail is indistinct, but maintain your course, heading for a large barn. After Murthwaite, a good road drops down to the A-road at a small Wesleyan chapel and an even smaller phone booth.

8. Head straight over the road and up the byway through a ford (a useful opportunity to wash off the worst of the muck). At the top, turn left on tarmac and follow this until it re-joins the A-road. Follow this back to the car.




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Kirkby Malzeard Moor

Kirkby Malzeard Moor

Route Information

Stats: 16 miles

OS map link:

Refreshments

This is a great loop route starting and finishing in the pretty village of Kirby Malzeard. In the village there is a butchers, shop and a pub/tandoori restaurant if that takes your fancy.
Kirkby Malzeard is a great place for mountain biking, but has a limited amount of accommodation to choose from. Nearby Masham has a greater choice and flexibility, whilst remaining close to lots of rides. However, for snacks, the butchers and deli at Kirkby Malzeard really does take some beating. Oh, and the pub has a great curry house inside – honest!

Character

The mountain biking in this route is superb, tarmac lanes leading into rocky but well defined track around Kirby Malzeard Moor. In the west of the ride you will see dramatic views of the high end of Nidderdale into Middlesmoor and Scar House.


Route

1. Park up in Kirby Malzeard. The Main street provides ample parking throughout the day and the shop is close by at the top of the Main Street.

2. Head west out of the village onto Greystone Head. This lane is good tarmac road with a steep but short climb with a forest to your right. The lane eventually stops at Dallowgill, by a parking area and stream. Continue onto the unmade lane. Going initially is ok but it will soon become quite rocky and better MTB terrain.

3. Through a gate and down the slope, taking the right fork at the next track junction. Rough track with shooting traps on your right hand side. Through later months there will be shooting parties moving through fields.

4. At the next fork take the left hand lane down into the dip and bridge, and up the other side to another junction in the tracks. This junction, I find, is about half way and a good place for a break.

5. Continue east along the descent track towards the pinnacle of Kirby Malzeard Moor at 359m. The track becomes straight and fast as you drop over the other side.

6. A fast descent awaits, but keep looking for the fork to the right, passing tracks to the left on the way. At times of the year it can be slightly hidden in the heather. If you are enjoying the fast descent too much you may miss it.Not a problem – just keep going and look for the next right turn onto Brown bank Road. If you have managed to see the fork take the right track and keep travelling down through the heather to Newlands House and through the farm yard.

7. Follow Brown Bank Road onto Kirk Bank, east back into Kirby Malzeard. A fast descent down the good tarmac road and an enjoyable end to your ride. Plenty of pubs in the village for a pint.




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Kettlewell Killer Loop

Kettlewell Killer Loop

Route Information

Stats: 21.2 miles

OS Map:

Refreshments

Park up at the field adjescent to the bridge and opposite the garage where you can easily imagine moonshine is brewed. It’s cheaper than the National Parks car park and hey – this is Yorkshire. Kettlewell is an excellent village, with loads of cafes and Inns, and a terrific Youth Hostel. The food in ‘The Racehorses Inn’ is terrific, as is ‘The Kings’ and ‘The Blue Bell.’ What the heck – they’re all good.

Character

Let’s be clear – this is a very hard route. Don’t event attempt this if you’re not a strong climber. However, the descents are amongst the best in the Dales, and even the climbs are enjoyable. Just take a look to the left – fantastic tracks! The riding around here is extremely steep and wonderful. So pack a camera, tubes, tools, a map and off you go!


Route

1. Head out of Kettlewell on the lane towards Conistone. This will give you a couple of easy miles on tarmac to warm ready for the climbs.

2. From Conistone, go across the bridge to Kilnsey and off the main road, into the village and to the start of Mastiles Lane. Cycle all the way along Mastiles Lane.

3. At ‘Street Gate, head north east on the bridleway towards Hawkswick Cote. This becomes indistinct as it crosses the moor, but is easy to follow. A rocky and technical descent then leads to smooth tracks as you whizz downhill to the narrow tarmac lane. Turn left to Arncliffe.

Go through the village at turn onto the steep bridleway at Old Cotes. The initial climb from the farm is a real killer and will test the best. However, the views are terrific. The photo on this page is towards the top of this climb.

4. Head over Old Cote Moor, through rough ground which can be tricky in places, before it drops off towards Starbottom. The descent has extremely steep drops to the right – so don’t fall!

It continues through trees, crosses the river and along a narrow tree lined track (see home page) before joining the lane at Starbottom
The Fox and Hounds Inn at Starbottom is superb and a welcome break. Don’t drink too much though, because the final climb awaits…and it’s a killer…again!

5. Head out of the village up the Cam Road, a steep climb on good limestone tracks, as it twists and turns all the way to the top. Matty and I came across a bull at the top of here in 2006!

6. At the Cam Head track junction, take the right hand track which descends at speed back to Kettlewell, Beware of the rocky track halfway down; too fast and it’ll shred your tubes. The track leads into Kettlewell, where you can rejoin the car, pack up the bike and head for a good meal at the pub, sharing stories about how steep the climbs were and how fast you clocked yourself on the way down. This is definitely one of the best routes in all the Dales. A real 3 star classic.




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