• This topic has 11 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by DougD.
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  • South Yorkshire to Edinburgh – 2 days by gravel route ideas?
  • munrobiker
    Free Member

    I’m down at my folks’ for my birthday this year as I’m down for a sailing event and I’m pondering riding home. I’d take a couple of days, budgeting aroung 120 miles a day on the gravel bike.

    I’ll be starting near Barnsley. The Cycling UK Great North Trail route looks good from Appleby to Hawick, and for a lot of West Yorkshire I’ll be on the old railway lines around Dewsbury and Cleckheaton, getting straight through Bradford as quick as I can then up onto the canal from Saltaire to Gargrave.

    Can anyone please recommend a nice way to get from Gargrave to Appleby, and from Hawick north? I don’t mind quiet roads (and to be honest, I might need some to make up some time). The Cross Borders Drovers Road looks a little savage so close to the end but I can’t really see a way round it without going on the A7.

    chestrockwell
    Full Member

    From Gargrave you can follow the BW to Bell Busk, then road and BW to Airton, BW up to Weets Top followed by road over the top of Malham and towards Pen Y Ghent. From there you can head down towards Hawes or go the other side towards Ribblehead. I’m out from that point but imagine the road fro Hawes to Appleby won’t be too busy.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    https://bikepacking.com/routes/gb-divide/

    https://www.cyclinguk.org/route/great-north-trail-full-route-cape-wrath

    From Edinburgh, so backwards for you:
    You could also look at the Capital trail to Melrose, then St Cuthbert (ignore the initial Eildon’s bit) to Jedburgh, pick up Dere Street to the Cheviot ridge. Pennine Way into Kielder and then carry on (sorry, don’t know the area beyond) across the Northern Pennines.

    intheborders
    Free Member

    There’s also the Borders Abbeys Way from Hawick going north, to Selkirk (all rideable), then around to Peebles and onwards (via Minchmoor Road & fireroads into Inners).

    damascus
    Free Member

    @whitestone will be able to give you some good advice from Bradford through the dales off road.

    There are some big days there, good luck

    When you’ve finished, can you post your route?

    DougD
    Full Member

    Did an off-road route from West Linton to Kielder back in May following the Southern Upland Way, Borders Abbey Way and Great North Trail: Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/vB9B8C2Pcib

    Was pretty nice, bit boggy and slow in places because of all the rain, it would be much quicker now with it having been so dry. Stayed overnight at the Pheasant Inn which I can highly recommend, then rode back up to Edinburgh the next day along the roads.

    whitestone
    Free Member

    Since someone mentioned me!

    Gargrave to Bell Busk via Markhouse Lane BW, when you get to the road head towards Otterburn but after about 200m there’s a BW on the right, take this to Airton. Short section of road to Calton. BW up to Weets Top, down to road, turn right and head to Lee Gate Farm then Mastiles Lane. Turn left along ML, go past Malham Tarn. Keep going on the road over a hill, there’s then a steep drop and equally steep climb back out. Turn left at the next junction then in about 200m turn right onto a track. This leads over to Helwith Bridge. When you get to the road turn right and head to Horton in Ribblesdale.

    Turn right by the pub and up a long BW. Before you get to the forestry there’s a new BW to the left, take this and at the houses you join the Pennine Bridleway. Turn right on this, go past Ling Gill and up to a logging road. Two options here: go right up to Cam Head then cut back left still on the PBW and descend to Newby Head; or go left and drop to the road. Turn right and take the farm road on the left which leads to a BW which ends up on the Dent road just down from Newby Head.

    Rejoin the PBW and follow this around the top of Arten Gill to reach The Coal Road (a really steep road between Dent and Garsdale Head) go right and blast down to Garsdale Head. At the main road turn right and head to the Moorcock Inn. The PBW cuts up onto the next hill here but it rejoins the road further down Mallerstang so choose what you want.

    Once you get to Kirkby Stephen there’s a myriad of back lanes to get to Appleby.

    HTH

    whitestone
    Free Member

    Just checked The Great North Trail – I thought it went over Cross Fell to get to Alston but it goes via Great Dun Fell. We did that bridleway last weekend – some shots here: https://bearbonesbikepacking.co.uk/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=20380 we actually came up from Garrigill but heading downhill it will mostly be rideable apart from the sections that have been washed out by the beck plus one or two ditches. Best after a prolonged dry spell as there were still some boggy bits after all this dryness. It’s an easy BW to follow as you just drop into a shallow valley and follow the beck – if you are bashing through heather then you’ve gone wrong!

    munrobiker
    Free Member

    Thanks everyone.

    Whitestone, which way do you think would be best for making up time? Cross Fell or Great Dun Fell?

    The “The Hard Way” in the title of your ride DougD suggests it may not be what my legs want at the end of two hard days! I can’t see much of an alternative though.

    whitestone
    Free Member

    Great Dun Fell – really smooth road with no traffic to gain height. Cross fell is rideable to about half height and then it’s a mix of pushing and riding.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    An alternative from Gargrave is Mark House Lane as above, but continue along the road to Otterburn instead of heading up to Airton/Weets, which can be a bit of a slog. At Otterburn you can cross the bridge then take a forestry track and cross a couple of fields (FPs, if that matters) to join Langber Lane, which is a very gravel-friendly way of traversing towards Settle.

    After Settle, cross the Ribble and take the minor road north to Little Stainforth, then onwards to Wharfe, where you can climb up on singletrack to rejoin the Pennine Bridleway. My personal preference on a gravel bike would be to climb Cam Fell, but take the byway down to hit the main Ribblehead/Hawes road just before Hawes. You then have a short stretch of the 684 before deciding if the rewards of the high level route along Lady Ann’s Highway is worth the bastard push either up Cotter End or behind the Moorcock Inn.

    It’s a bumpy old route, good luck with it.

    The “The Hard Way” in the title of your ride DougD suggests it may not be what my legs want at the end of two hard days! I can’t see much of an alternative though.

    It won’t be at the end of two hard days, he’ll still have Kielder and the borders to negotiate past that 🙂

    DougD
    Full Member

    Ha, well it was the hard way mainly as it was harder going than the road route back (https://www.strava.com/activities/5346272300) but the scenery was really nice and most of the trails were decent. There were just a couple of rather frustrating slow sections but given how wet it had been that probably was to have been expected. The road route in the link above was really nice if you’re looking for a bit of an easier second day.

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