Swaledale Valley and Pinseat
Stats: 23 miles and 3080 feet of ascent
All you need at the Dales Bike Centre, plus nearby Reeth. Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel is also nearby. Around the route you could pop in for a brew at Gunnerside where there’s a good cafe.
A route with good climbs on road and trail and an great descent on the hard but loose tracks down Pinseat. Flowing tracks along the river make this a great and steady day out and a super intro to riding Swaledale.
1. Head out of the centre and turn right towards Grinton. Go over the bridge and as the road bends to the left, take the junction ahead, climbing the steep tarmac road all the way to the top, to open country and Grinton Youth Hostel
2. At the fork in the road take the right fork signed Redmire, then head onto the moor through a gate, keeping on the main bridleway that heads due west, across Harkerside Moor.
This rises and drops, and twists and turns on loose gravel, giving a lovely ride, with fantastic views over the valley towards Reeth.
3. Keep on this main track all the way to a large track junction, near lead mines at Whitaside Moor. Keep left, turning uphill towards ‘Morley’s Folly’ (OS map).
4. At the junction of tracks at the ‘Apedale Road’, turn right and descend the track to the road, turning right onto the road for a short distance. A farm on the left of the road has a BW and rocky stream running down beside it. Turn off left and descend this excellent track beside the winding wall and into the steep meadow to the valley bottom. Where it goes through a gate into the lane, turn left and follow the track / lane to the bridge, going over the river and turning right into Low Row.
5. Climb steadily for a short distance before a forked track off to the left and behind (by old sheds/ garages) takes you up and over to High Smarber where walls and meadows lead you to the heather clad steep moorland singletrack (tricky navigation initially, but improves significantly). Follow the singletrack for 1 mile, then linking in to a well -made moorland track which leads up to the old mine workings at Moor House. Turn right at the track junction and descend to the next track junction where a right turn will take you down at speed on loose gravel to Surrender Bridge.
6. Turn right at the bridge, where a short and testing ascent of the road towards Low Row, is rewarded with a fast and steep descent, so take care and modulate your brakes to keep the speed safe. Once at Low Row, re-cross the Swale at the Bridge and turn left now onto the same bridleway as before, this time staying alongside the river as the bridleway rolls steadily, joins tarmac for a short period at Low Witha, before taking you back down to the river on an excellent bridleway down to Stubbin Farm (OS Map) and along mixed ground all the way to the bridge at Grinton.
7. Finish back at the Dales Bike Centre for a brew and cake.