Stats: 72 miles and 7227 feet of ascent
Lots of opportunities to refill in Settle (the Naked Man) or, if you can handle the climb out of Settle on empty legs, the Dalesman at Gargrave. After that, it’s lean pickings.
A tough but enjoyable ride covering some esoteric delights (hands up who knows their way around Sawley, Eldroth, Glusburn and Lothersdale?) as well as a popular corner of the Dales. It’s an ideal ride to do with a mixed party of Yorkists and Lancastrians so they can bicker the whole way round over the scenic, cultural and climatic merits of their respective counties. And, if they have enough energy to re-enact the battle of Towton after all those miles, good luck to them.
1. Pendle Hill keeps constant vigil over your shoulder on this ride but you’ll start by climbing over its shoulder. Start by heading up Noggarth Road, then drop down Spenbrook road to Newchurch-in-Pendle.
2. Go through the village of Barley and follow the lane flanking under the ominous Big End of Pendle. Plummet down to Downham and go over the A59 on a flyover.
3. Fork right into Ribblesdale View and sharp right at the end in Chatburn.
4. Briefly join the A59 eastbound but hang a left to Sawley Abbey, then cross the river and head north on pleasantly level ground.
5. Turn left at Copy Nook Hotel then right into Holden Lane and Dugdale Lane.
6. Cross the B-road and head up past Stocks Reservoir with Gisburn Forest on your right.
7. Clamber over the wild top of Bowland Knotts, with its rocky tors at over 400m and descend at speed with the Three Peaks spread out before you. Take the first available right, signposted to Settle 7¼.
8. Go through the hamlet of Eldroth and cross the A65 into Giggleswick and Settle.
9. Clatter out of Settle on the cobbles of Victoria Street and Albert Hill then heave up the 1:5 of High Hill Lane.
10. With impressive views back to Pendle, cross the moor, bearing right at the fork, sign posted to Airton.
11. Follow lanes south and south-east, through charming parkland scenery, to Gargrave and the Dalesman cafe.
12. Leave Gargrave over the bridge and head south to Broughton on the A59.
13. Dogleg right then left, through more parkland scenery, up to the hamlet of Elslack. Bear left up Moor Lane, climbing with a forest on your right. Hold a south-easterly course to Cross Hills and do another dog-leg (this time left-right at the A6088.
14. Fork right at Sutton-in-Craven and make a short, stabby climb with the steep-side gill of Lumb Clough on your left. Turn left, signposted to keighley and Slippery Ford.
15. Turn right at a house with a gas canister in the garden into Long Gate, still following signs to Slippery Ford.
16. Turn right at Oakworth cemetery and turn right in the village, heading back west. The only thing between you and the end is the watershed of Northern England.
17. Gentle climbing takes you over the tops. At Laneshawbridge, turn left on the A6068. Follow this onto the Colne bypass. Don’t expect prettiness.
18. Turn right into Barrowford Road at the Lloyd car dealers. Follow this past Barrowford Reservoir, the canal and the Pendle Visitor’s Centre.
19. In Barrowford, turn left on the A682 and right at “Nursery Time” up Church Street. This becomes Wheatley Lane Road and will take you back to the start.