Yorkshire Dales Altournative
Stats: 36 miles and 4300 feet of ascent
The Corn Mill Tea Room or the Rose and Crown in Bainbridge, The Tan Hill Inn, Muker Tea Room
This is a magnificent loop, taking in three meaty climbs and some terrific scenery. It dodges around some of the Tour de France route to offer alternatives to the most well-travelled ways.The Pedal North team did this route in a strong sou’westerly, which made the stretch from The Disputes to Tan Hill a little draggy but it was still a superb day out.
1. From the triangular village green, pass to the right of the Rose & Crown.
2. Cross the Ure and turn right towards Askrigg.
3. Go up through the village, passing the Crown Inn and fork left onto the minor road – Moor Road which is signposted “Muker, 5.”
4. The entire purpose of your life is now to climb, climb and climb a bit more. Turn right at the first junction on leaving Askrigg behind (signed “Reeth, 8”) and, keep climbing. Sublime views of limestone escarpments abound, and you grind away the gears to the top at The Fleak (OS Map).
5. All climbs end, eventually. Top out and begin one of the most delightful descents in the district – swoopy and intense but sustained, with a glorious outlook over Swaledale.
6. At the 7.5 tonne exclusion signs at the bottom, turn left over the Swale and right onto the B6270. Pass through Healaugh as you trundle along to Reeth, turning left to Langthwaite.
7. Up, up, and up Arkengarthdale, alongside miles of moorland that sweeps before your eyes, until you see the welcome outline of the Tan Hill Inn shivering against the moor.
8. Turn left just after the pub and whizz down to Keld. Mind the hairpin at the bottom.
9. Head down the valley to Thwaite. The Tour de France wannabees will all be girding loins for Buttertubs but we have a much quieter pass in mind. Go through Muker.
10. About a mile after Muker, turn right at a low barn, signed “Askrigg 5”
11. Last climb – Promise. Only the initial 1 in 4 is demanding; the rest is steady and there’s some intriguing gully scenery under Oxnop scar. The final twisting section is not dissimilar to Winnats Pass (Peak District); closed tightly in by steep sided fells that guide the way to the final summit of the day.