Stats: 21 miles
OS map link:
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.
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.
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.