Ride Report 14th October 50 miler.

It might not seem too attractive to the reader to learn that today’s ride had to confront a real mixed bag of weather conditions that caused a diversion from the planned route, obliterated any views on high ground, had us cycling through flood water with water up to the axles of our wheels and over the tops of our shoes but which finished in autumn sunshine and near summer temperatures. In fact those who took part reported high levels of enjoyment.  The 11  who set off to do the longer route were met by Kevan near Winterburn who had cycled down from Kirby Malham with tales of flooded roads on the planned route to Airton. So we changed course and headed for Eshton and up the Malham road. The R, Aire was in full spate near Newlands Hall and just beyond we met the first of what was to be a series of flooded roads. During the course of the day we adopted various techniques to try to keep our feet out of the water but you can only do so much when forward movement is stalled by water 12± inches deep. The 30 milers left us at Airton heading for Hellifield as we climbed over Scotsthrop Lane to Attermire and that fast descent down High Hill Lane to Settle. The Highland cattle loomed out of the mist over the tops and  seem to be more threatening than they really are! Nevertheless slowing to snail’s pace to get past them seems the most sensible thing to do. The drizzle and mist obscured any chance of the wide view from the tops here. Our cafe stop at 3 Peaks Cycles was a first and we were welcomed by the owner. Beans on toast with or without eggs, Fish finger butties and toasties were consumed and off again to ride into clouds from Stainforth to Halton Gill. Christine P left us at Settle and Kevan did the same at Silverdale. Just beyond the Malham Road turn off we were confronted by a pack of Hounds coming down the road out of the mist. We wondered what they might be hunting up there on such a day. The fast road  to Halton Gill from Dalehead was spectacular for the gushing streams coming down from the high ground and  the valley opposite was intersected in every gully with ribbons of white water. The roaring R, Skirfare at H. Gill was barely contained in its banks and  in the next several miles down to Arncliffe we had to ride through these overflows and any pretext of keeping feet dry was quickly dispelled. There is something very rewarding though when you are able to see this powerful natural aspect of the Dales at close quarters without the  presence of cars which would struggle to get through.  Joining Wharfedale at Kilnsey we continued down to Bolton Abbey and then over the gated road back to Skipton as the sun broke the clouds and raised the temperature to the mid teens which dried us out for our ride debrief in Bean Loved.

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