The Way Of The Roses: Day 3

Or day 2 for the pedants… Anything that followed yesterday morning’s bucolic ride through the Lune Valley / Forest of Bowland was always going to come second in the rankings, especially when there are so far only two contenders for ‘morning of the trip’ ride. That said, it was still a good one. A short ride from the campsite in Horton-in-Ribblesdale (very highly recommended) to Settle (where the service and food at the Singing Kettle Café and the fact that it was open at 9am on a Sunday morning also deserve placing in Cycling Europe’s ‘highly recommended’ category):

Then came the long grind up the steep hill from Settle on the direction of Airton. I recommend three things for steep hills:

  • Slow down
  • Sit down
  • Let the gears do the work

I’d like to now add a fourth:

  • Push if needed

Pushing was indeed needed, twice. It’s six miles from Settle to Airton and there’s a handy sign when you are at the mid point. Be assured that all the hard work is in the first 3 miles. The second 3 miles are all downhill.

I did think that the section between Settle and Airton would be the only bit of the Way of the Roses that I had previously cycled but I was soon having flashbacks to 2009 when I cycled the Pennine Cycleway – route 68 – and realised that, actually, as far as Appletreewick, that had also been cycled before albeit, I think, in reverse.

At Burnsall I paused for a spot of lunch. The heavens didn’t quite open but it did get a little damp. I had seen the misty clouds gathering from the top of the valley as I gazed down upon Wensleydale. It was never a downpour but it did curtail my attempts to immortalise the pretty village from the air via the drone. It would reappear later at Studley Royal. The drone that is, not the rain. I’m sure by doing so I was breaking some National Trust regulation but I haven’t been arrested yet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… The afternoon from Burnsall was OK. More climbing into Nidderdale and a subtle change of scenery from limestone to millstone grit. I spent many minutes wondering what millstone grit was referred to before they started using it to mill flour. Any suggestions? The moors between Appletreewick and Pateley Bridge were all a bit Wuthering Heights complete with isolated houses and creepy graveyards. There was a Rudyard Kipling connection at Greenhow and ‘labyrinthine stoneworks’ that the Cicerone Guide informs me is ‘the UK’s biggest public artwork’. It was a way from the road – the unjoyously busy B6265 – so I viewed it from a distance. It’s fair to say that things that are ‘labyrinthine’ are best seen up close, probably even better from the air. I’ll check Google Earth later…

More attractions were passed and not investigated; Brimham Rocks (I went there 30 years ago when a student and geology works slowly so they can’t have changed much), Fountains Abbey (it was closed) and the military installation at Menwith Hill (I don’t work for the security services). And I was beginning to bonk. Snickers and nuts came to the rescue and I trundled down the long road out of Studley Royal feeling much more normal.

Yet the highlight of the day was still to come. I’ll say more after the video:

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It appeared near the end of the video. (Not the Wetherspoons in Ripon which I chose so that I could see the bike cabled copiously to a lamppost outside!) Dave Jolley’s garden. He rents out the space for tents or you can choose to stay in the shepherd’s hut or the treehouse. He’s a wonderfully friendly host and his beautiful abode is just a stone’s throw from the grand entrance to Studley Royal. Another one for the ‘highly recommended’ list. Tomorrow: York.

Note: the sketch was made when I cycled through Airton in 2021. Or was it 2020? One of the COVID years. Today I made a point of taking a picture of the sign itself for reasons of comparison. I’d get out more but I’m too busy cycling…

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5 replies »

  1. Some years ago I read a book by some geezer who had cycled across Europe on a bike called Reggie and it inspired me to have a go at cycle touring. The Way of the Roses was my first attempt. On my second day I had seriously run out of steam by the time I reached Jellylegs (Dave Jolley) and he made me some toast and marmite which absolutely hit the spot for me! I opted for the treehouse instead of my tent and had an excellent meal there as well. So I fully endorse your recommendation! Your trip has brought back fond memories (and some not so fond – thinking hill out of Settle)!

    • Hi Chris. Thanks for the comments 🙂 Dave Jolley has a great place! I didn’t actually sneak up to the treehouse to have a look in but it looked great from the ground. You’ll see it featured in tonight’s film; the premiere is at 7pm. Here’s the link:

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