Ride to Bolton Castle
Driving into the dales the scenery was stunning and there was an abundance of welcome signs, 10%, 12%, 15%…..25% you’re welcome! For those riding today, the plan was to arrive around 1230-1300 have a two hour ride and back in time for the food delivery between 4-5pm. It was a good plan but…..
Setting off from Hill Top Farm there was a lot of gear crunching and out of the saddle groaning as we immediately hit a steeper than expected narrow lane leading up to the main road. The road to Askrigg was generally downhill with a short 7% ramp through the village. We then turned south to cross the river Ure at Worton before tackling the climb up to Cubeck where we were faced with a 600m climb at average 9%.
Fortunately we then had a chance to recover as the terrain went mostly downhill once more as we passed through Thornton Rust before hitting a scary 25% winding downhill to the bridge at Aysgarth Falls.
There’s only one way to go after reaching river level so upwards we went again, all the way up to Carperby, a mile featuring ramps up to almost 12%. As we approached the junction turn to Carperby we met Alison heading in the opposite direction. “Is there a 25% climb along that road?” she asked “I’ve just taken a picture of the warning sign”. Faced with the prospect of the tough climb from Aysgarth Falls, she decided to join us and go to Castle Bolton instead.
From Carperby we had a lovely downhill section for about two miles before turning up towards Castle Bolton. Just as well we had that recovery segment as the climb up to the castle was about half a mile with average gradient of 9% hitting 19% around the half way point with another 16% ramp near the end. “Why do they always build castles at the top of a hill?” someone asked pleadingly.
The views from such a lofty position were stunning in the afternoon sunshine as we sat outside enjoying the panorama and our refreshments while “shooting the breeze”. Soon enough we headed back down the castle hill to commence the slog back up to Carperby. Nothing too taxing along the way but heading into the the North westerly wind just to add to the degree of difficulty.
As we zoomed into Askrigg, Neil pulled up next to the Crown Inn. “Anyone fancy a pint?” he asked looking around at the noncommittal faces. “Puggy looks thirsty and needs a drink” he added as way of encouragement. “Oh alright then, just the one” was the consensus as we trooped across the road to find a nice sunny spot in the appropriately named “BS Corner”.
It turned out we were all so “thirsty” after exercising our mouths that another round was called for. “Not for me Neil” said Heather donning her sensible head. However such entreaty fell on deaf ears and a small glass of sherry soon appeared in front of her. Well this lady was “not for drinking” and with stoic resolve left the drink untouched. As we got ready to depart, Neil just couldn’t let a drink go to waste and necked it in a oner. A decision that he’d come to regret on the final mile or so back to our abode at Hill Top Farm.