Sunday, 17 April 2011

Ton up in the Dales

Can we ever have had two such exquisite weekends in succession at the beginning of April? The weather is sure to turn soon so I decided to make the most of it again today. I'd set my mind to doing a hundred miler and decided on a route which I thought would bring me home very close to that ton. It was basically a reverse of last weekend's ride, but with a variation in Swaledale to explore east, and also ride a few miles of road which I'd not ridden before. It's getting harder and harder to find these little sections of new scenery to explore.

It was quite chilly first thing so I delayed my start until after 9am. Even then, I still needed my top and full gloves, but the intensity of the sky held promise that they would be discarded soon enough. I had the same feelings today as I described in my post on last weekend's ride. There's nothing to add really. Instead, I'm going to let some pictures tell the story. I'm convinced more than ever now that there is no better place for cycling in the entire world than here in the Dales. It's the intimacy of the landscape that I think is unique. The scale is very human.

The Cavendish Memorial Fountain just past Bolton Abbey.

On the descent into Burnsall.

Looking up the Wharfe Valley shortly after Thresfield.

Stopping for water at Kettlewell.

The tranquil Upper Wharfe valley.

Ahead to the first part of the climb over Fleet Moss.

Looking back down from the summit of Fleet Moss with Penyghent in the far distance.

At the top of the flying 50mph descent into Hawes.

I had to include some sheep - grazing in the luminous green fields of Wensleydale.

At the bottom of the 25% climb out of Askrigg.

After cresting the summit and on to the roller-coaster descent into Swaledale.

A view of Swaledale looking towards Muker. This dale seems completely untouched by the passage of time.

A small waterfall near the wonderfully named hamlet of Crackpot.

Climbing back out of Swaledale, returning to Askrigg over the bigger and longer of the twin climbs.

The wild moors of Askrigg Common, looking south to the hills the other side of Wensleydale.

The village of Askrigg from Cubeck, and a view of the moors just traversed ... twice!

Back in Wharfedale, approaching Buckden. Homeward bound!

Burnsall village and fell from the Hebden road.

A view up a dramatic section of the Wharfedale valley from the same point.

99 miles on the clock and a sight of Ilkley. Almost home!

It was a grand day out. The legs are a little jiggered and I've definitely caught the sun. The ride was 100.5 miles. A shade under 7 hours in the saddle. Finished in good form again, so confidence for next month's events is growing.

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