MY SPECIAL RIDE
Yorkshire Dales are a delight
This ride kicks off from Junction 51 on the A1(M), signposted A684 Bedale. You’ll find swanky new services here, but I’d rather hold out for one of the many local stops en route. Take the A684 in the direction of Bedale and a newly-opened bypass will whisk you away from the madness of the motorway; turn right at the roundabout towards Leyburn and after a mile or so there’ll be an opportunity to top up for the duration in Little Crakehall. Kinked straights blend into long sweepers as the road ahead quickly evolves, but take note of the warning sign as you pass Akebar Park – the crossroads ahead is blind following a downhill left/right twist so be aware.
Turn left in Leyburn by the Bolton Arms to ride the tarmac snake that glides along the valley, crossing the River Ure at Wensley. The road’s liquid curves reflect the river’s meandering course as it winds onward to the Dales; flick right to left over Bishopdale Beck, then duck and dive among the encroaching hills before a plunging corkscrew into Bainbridge. Take a left at the T-junction to stay on the A684.
The blacktop sweeps on as the countryside rolls by, each glorious twist answered by a joyous turn until it reaches Hawes, a popular hub for those exploring the wonderful roads hereabouts. There’s always a line of bikes by the Penny Garth Café and it’s as good a place as any to stop for a brew. North from Hawes lies the legendary Buttertubs Pass while to the west the A685 wends its way to Kendal. This route, however, eschews those options in favour of the B6255, a left fork out of town that heads south, up and over the Newby Head Pass to Ingleton.
The B6255 climbs immediately into flowing esses, a sinuous grey strip that follows the contours of the countryside; dipping and swooping beside sparkling streams, growing ever more remote as the elevation increases. It flattens naturally across the top of the pass and as Ingleborough (the second highest peak of the Yorkshire Dales) comes into view the descent begins. It’s a relatively straight run in the shadow of a screestrewn escarpment, but the views are stunning; mountain to your left and river to your right with the whole world opening up ahead. Through Ingleton follow the signs for Kendal and turn right to join the A65.
Watch for the A683 turning on the approach to Kirby Lonsdale – you can’t miss it; there’s a yellow speed camera on the left just before the sign. Take a right here to find Devil’s Bridge, another popular tea stop and a fitting place to mark the end of this ride.
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Twists, turns, ascentgs and steep plunges… this northern route has it all