As I cycled down to Skipton in the pouring rain I wondered how many others would be as dedicated to the cycling cause. I arrived soaked to the skin with water sloshing inside my shoes. I’m not sure if it was my route choice to Stainforth & Halton Gill, or the rubbish forecast that had put the usual Saturday crowd off today, but there were only 6 hardy cyclists gathered inside the doorway of Chevin Cycles this morning. 3 for the 50 miler & 3 for the 30 miles.
As soon as we set off the rain stopped and the sun came out – well almost… that’s how it felt, our spirits lifted. The 6 of us rode together until the routes divided at Hellifield, then Mike, Steve & I headed on to Settle via Wigglesworth & Rathmell, cracking on at a decent pace in the increasing sunshine. ;the boys dutifully dropping back to ensure I could keep up.
We’d had a good morning’s ride on reaching an early cafe stop at Stainforth. Suitably refreshed (with added cake ballast), we immediately tackled the only big climb of the day, chatting all the way to the top of the long, steady gradient up to open moorland flanked by Fountains Fell & Pen-y-ghent. Water spilled out of the hillside streams after all the rain, but now the tarmac was dry. It seems it’s a favourite road for all 3 of us. We were rewarded with the spectacular descent into Halton Gill & the River Skirfare in full flow. An easy ride down Littondale; I felt sad that there were only 3 of us from SCC enjoying this fabulous route and a shame no-one else had felt the initial rain was worth enduring for the scenic rewards.
All we had left to do was head down the valley back to town, the boys doing most of the towing, me mindful of having to ride back up to Haworth. Cheers Steve & Mike for a splendid day in the Dales, plenty of wildlife spotted & we were back in Skipton by 2.40pm too! submitted by Chris P
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