Dales Cycling

Easter was just about warm enough for cycling in the Dales, around Reeth, Tan Hill, Ingleton, Whernside, and the like. Tan Hill was visited on a sunny day (two half pints of beer and a couple of packets of crisps cost £6.85, so probably not the place for a session) as part of a circuit starting from Grinton and taking in Kirkby Stephen, so about 50 miles with plenty of climbing. I’d forgotten just how remote the road between Thwaite and Kirkby Stephen feels – over the watershed – and, of course, Tan Hill feels high up. Indeed, there was snow in patches, slowly melting. A trip to Ingleton via Ribblehead in the dry, which was great and included a visit to Chapel le Dale, with its memorial to the remarkable, for present times, number of deaths building the Settle-Carlisle line. We saw more evidence of the death toll the next day at Cowgill Church, along with the curious tale of the dispute between the then curate (in the mid Nineteenth Century) and Prof Sedgwick of Cambridge University (of geological fame) over the name of the village (the curate wanted to change it slightly and did so, Sedgwick, as the old established family, resisted even unto an act of parliament), The curate seems to have been a bit of a handful. Cowgill church was very useful as a place to shelter from the steady rain on Saturday, after coming down from the little road round the back of Whernside. Then finally a trip around the Stang, from Grinton. I did the tough climb up the Stang without any walking, my knees may be ruined… Lovely quiet lonely roads…

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