Today they said it was going to be hotter than Greece…My arse LOL (laugh out loud) !!! Later that evening whilst drinking several Stella’s on our veranda we decided we would go out on the bike on Tuesday all the same, after all its been a pretty wet couple of weeks and hey ho it might well be a bit sunny after all.
The fleece came off minutes later and it was only 09.30 hrs
Bloody hell it really is sunny and its surrounded with a whole load of blue up there! Julie went off to physio first thing (I’d forgotten about that) I got MISTRESS MABLE out of the garage and put GEORGE on the seat, he is our French sheepskin purloined several years ago in the mountains somewhere near Mont Blanc.
I thought we would be off for about 8 o’clock to the lakes but forgot about Julie’s appointment so I rigged the route. Tapping into Mistress Garmin a lazy eight route of about 150 miles going up the A1 as far as Knaresborough heading north-west to get to the Dales.
We dressed in a mixture of leathers and jeans, black black or black! After fueling up we dashed across on the M62 to the A1 then zoomed up the Knaresborough turn off. Wow it was so sunny and hot even at this hour. At 11.00hrs we rode through the small town to see the flagstones cracking, Id already discarded the fleece and I’d already noticed plenty of white flesh here in Knaresborough, they will be the colour red in a day or so and brown by June hopefully! We noticed also lots of Union Jack flags, I presume the town was getting ready for the coming Jubilee weekend.
Near Pateley Bridge
We nipped through here pretty and on towards Ripley on the back roads, now my smile widened as we began to gather the pace leaving the cars behind in our hot wake. We leaned into the swift bends to the left then to the right and back again, flies and bugs met an early death as they crashed into the windscreen by the dozen, splurges of green and yellow dotted the screen. I remember years ago I came back from Spain one summer and the short windscreen of my Honda Shadow was a sea of yellow, white and green, Id encountered hundreds of the white butterfly as I rode over the vast plains of the Spanish interior. I arrived back in the UK looking well-travelled, my lid and my leather jacket had bits of white butterfly wings stuck in the creases for weeks after that trip.
Gouthwaite Reservoir near Pateley Bridge
We followed the River Nidd for a while as we rode towards Pateley Bridge. The traffic was mediocre around the little towns and villages, its quieter on Sundays but then you have to cope with imbecilick “Sunday Drivers” However during the week the roads have people in the cars and delivery vehicles going about their daily business and not just bumbling about in that annoying fashion, today I only came across one such git and he got both barrels as he stopped to wonder at the stone bridge…whilst ON the stone bridge IN his volvo. Arent we just blessed with granddad drivers!
We refueled at Pateley Bridge then rode alongside Gouthwaite Reservoir wiggling along the edge of the water and stone wall, going all the way to the end of the road arriving at Stean Bridge just off to the left over a rickety bridge and to an out-of-the-way cafe stop at the end of the road, along this long narrow road we commented how bumpy it seemed this time. We realised it was because we are on our own and going at least 20 mph faster than we did with the APPY WANDERERS!
After tea and cake we returned back down the reservoir road then turned right up Greenhow Hill at the top the views were magnificent but quite hazy in the blistering sun, views like these look much clearer early or late in the day.
Kilnsey Cragg near Kettlewell.
We passed through Grassington and rode towards Kilnsey Cragg, we hopped to the other side of the River Wharfe to approach Kettlewell from the leafy road that bumped over tree roots hugging the dark stone walls and negotiating the fit old boys on their push bikes. From Kettlewell we went up the valley before hooking left to go through Hubberholme, and Deepdale.
Two views of a popular stop by the River Wharfe in Langstrothdale Chase.
We pulled over at the popular spot by the gentle ambling river, it meandered over rocks and ledges and looked so peaceful. I have seen the very same spot winter when the river takes on a dangerous attitude of rage, noise and power, it stood a good deal higher then too as the rains swept down the valley and surrounding hills here in Langstrothdale Chase. We watched several pairs of Oystercatcher wading in the shallows hunting for food whilst others played in the sky above.
A pair of Oystercatcher.
We climbed up and high over the right hand valley dropping down the other side into Hawes. Today its was market day and was bursting with traders their stalls white vans and wares. Locals busied amongst it all, the road was full of cars, tractors and land rovers, every space was occupied by something or somebody! We passed through, determined to have a person free day on the bike in the countryside!
Today was NOT about people!
We left the main road taking a favorite squiggly road up to Hardraw up through the woods and back down the other side along the famous but scary road known as “The Buttertubs.” I say scary because it had steel wire hawser barriers to prevent vehicles go over the edge, the drop was measured in hundreds of feet. The wire would snag a car Ok I’m sure. But for bikers it would rip both legs off at the knee and catapult half a biker over the edge to die. Personally I’d like to go to my maker intact!
A photo from an earlier visit to Muker.
We pulled into the village of Muker at the bottom of the valley. Muker is a village in the Richmondshire district. At the 2001 census it had a population of just 309! Its name reflects its origin as a Norse settlement, derived from the Norse word “Mjor-aker” meaning “the narrow acre”. It really beautiful, the village tea shop was built-in 1680 and the spot where we had lunch, the good lady made us a couple of sandwiches of Wensleydale cheese and pickle with steaming cups of tea followed by more cake. We set off again down the valley into Swaledale for a long few miles.We rode through Reeth turning right over the bridge, we then reversed our direction and began to ride back up and over this ridge, turning down to our right, we stopped again to gaze in admiration and wondered at the far off village of Crackpot!
We were slowly riding along yet another white numberless nameless narrow road, it was quite a blind ride for a couple of miles with an unusually high stone wall to our right and a rocky verge just six feet to our left! What few cars we encountered kindly pulled over to allow us by including a young nurse on her rounds. We stopped often to just sit and stare at the fantastic views.
A proper bikers garage! One must READ the signs in these parts
I turned off the engine to soak in the silence, broken only by the “pewitt.. pewitt” calls of the numerous Lapwing, these guys took to the sky as we stopped, they are ground nesters and is part of their routine to take attention from their nearby home on the ground. The ticking of the cooling engine was just about the only other noise we heard, we saw and heard several Curlew their stocky brown bodies with a long curled bill was quite unmistakable and lovely to see as they took to the sky from just a couple of yards away.
This is one of the many white roads on the map that have no number or name, it’s somewhere in Coverdale to the north of Kettlewell.
An hour or two later we were passing Askrigg riding on towards Aysgarth turning onto a white road again, later joining the slightly bigger road to ride south to Cray and back into to Kettlewell for a final stop. Tea and creamy scone was purloined.
We set off on our final leg down the familiar road passing Kilnsey Cragg, and Cracoe, swooping in and out of the slow and scarce traffic, it would be fair to say we had a lot of fun on this last blast before joining major civilisation! All too soon we had to reign the horses in as we turned onto the busy A59 to Harrogate, and through the other side before joining the A1 at Knaresborough. The last 60 miles back down the A1, M62, M18 to our house was a bit of a chore as usual but didn’t detract from a fab day in our Yorkshire Dales in Greek weather!
Roll on the next adventure!