Stats: 17 miles with 2492 feet of ascent
You’re on your own here guys. Carry it and have some tea and cake at the Dales Bike Centre afterwards.
This route winds its way across Swaledale, keeping height where necessary, and losing it where it’s fun to do so. It brings in some singletrack that is sweet and secret, due to poor navigation by many people. Starting and finishing at Grinton Lodge, it allows you the opportunity to cycle from the door if you stay over at this great Youth Hostel. Yep, they sell alcohol!
1. From the Youth Hostel take the bridleway directly opposite the gate that crosses between the two tarmac roads. Crossing the road, the track continues across grass, twisting its way to a narrow gate. Descend this technical singletrack with care, before crossing the stream and doing some bike hike up the other side. Please email me if you clean this section! Nope, not you Nick (Craig)! It’s pitched at that level, not for mere mortals.
2. Now cross the moor on some sweet singletrack (see image top left), At the first track junction continue straight on, skirting the edge of the wall and riding the excellent but rocky singletrack until it joins the wider track, descending right down to the road at Maiden Castle. You will go through a gate near the top of the wide field gate; after approximately 40 yards take the singletrack off to the left on the bend in the track. It is this that descends to a gate in the fence by the road.
3. Turn left onto the road and cycle along until the bridleway leads you back onto the moor (see picture top right). Cycle up the excellent double track until it turns left, still climbing on loose rock. Halfway along this section an unsigned bridleway leads you off to the right, crossing a small gulley before the track continues through a gap in the wall, leading to heather clad singletrack once more. A further wall gap then takes you across three grassy meadows before you reach High lane (see picture bottom right).
4. Turn left at the road, cycling along until you reach the cattle grid. A waterfall crosses under the road at Bank Top. Take the bridleway to the right which falls down across the rocky path beside the stream, before going through the gate (bottom right). This narrow grassy lane twists and turns, leading you right and left onto the steep grassy slopes that fires you down to Low Houses, spitting you out on the lane to Crackpot.
5. Ride through Crackpot to Summer Lodge, taking the rocky track that climbs back up to Long Road. Turn left and cycle along to the bridleway just before the rickety stone garage on the right. Now climb this excellent doubletrack, passing the track junction to the left, before turning off left 1.4km up the climb. This technical track, initially indistinct and passing shooting butts, soon develops into sublime singletrack that flows down to the shooting track.
6. The track rolls along, twisting and turning, passing a large wooden shooting lodge, before a steep climb right. Stay on the right hand track. A final fast descent will water your eyes if you’re brave enough to stay away from the brakes, before crossing a track junction and twisting right to a stream which is crossed by a gate. Take the gated track and cycle back to the road, turning left, before the initial bridleway is re-joined, leading you back to Grinton Lodge.
click below for gpx file