Dent to Hawes
Stats: 23 miles, 2,915 feet of ascent
Sportsman’s Inn at Cowgill, in Wensleydale, there’s Moira Metcalfe’s studio at Appersett or mosey into Hawes, especially for the Penny Garth Cafe.
An excellent loop straddling the main watershed of Northern England. The initial climb is brawny but surprisingly do-able and both big descents are to-die-from.
If you think there’s an excess of tarmac in the second half, you can embroider the route with extra loops up Cotterdale, Cotter End (descending from Hell Gill Bridge) and Grisedale. You could even trundle further west to pick up the bridleway from Dandra Garth back to Cowgill.
1. There’s a tiny layby on the left (facing upstream) just before the Sportsman’s Inn with room for only one car.
2. The bridleway up Arten Gill leaves on the left at the chicane over the stream.
3. Climb. Further description is redundant.
4. At the top of the heave, turn right on the Pennine Bridleway, starting on gravel but leading to grassy cruising.
5. Turn left at the minor road then cross the Newby Top Road to gain the PBW signposted to Cold Keld Gate.
6. Turn left on the Cam Road and then fork left on the Pennine Way. Cruise along the rim of the more-impressive-than-it-sounds hollow of Snaizeholme. At the fork, bear left down a magnificent cobble-fest alongside the Tunguska’d plantation on the left (May 2013). If you’re still in the saddle when you reach the road, congratulate yourself.
7. Turn left on the PBW signposted to Thorney Mire House.
8. Turn right on the road to Appersett, then left on the Sedbergh road.
9. Near the Moorcock Inn, take the PBW signposted to Garsdale Station.
10. Haul up the Coal Road, then fork left at the top to cruise back to the top of Arten Gill.
11. Plummet. No further description is needed.