Archive for the ‘Due North’ Category

Due North, day 4

11 March 2009

duenorth4Stanhope to Corbridge

My last day was tough. From Stanhope the road was immediately uphill for a long hard climb up on to the moors at Hise Hope followed by a long high level stretch. I was not very surprised when I reached the top to find that snow was falling and I pedalled along for a couple of miles at least in driving snow. My mood was triumphant rather than defeated, I knew that it wouldn’t last too long, the wind was not in my face, and it felt like a fitting climax to the trip. Added to that I could imagine the comments of the occasional car drivers who passed me.

(more…)

Advertisements

Due North, day 3

11 March 2009

duenorth3Aysgarth to Stanhope

On Monday the day started with fair weather. Since Aysgarth Falls is right in the valley bottom, where the river Ure forces its way through a series of rocky cataracts, the journey inevitably started with a steep uphill, after which the road wandered across Wensleydale, through the village of Redmire, then up the steep valley side on to Greets Moss. Over the top of the watershed it came down Harkerside Moor into Swaledale and the town of Reeth.

(more…)

Due North, day 2

11 March 2009

duenorth2Haworth to Aysgarth

Sunday was the first full day of my trip The morning was brighter than the previous evening but still wet and windy. The landscape around Haworth, inspiration for the Bronte novels, is hard work for cycling, rugged terrain with plenty of short steep hills diving down into small valleys only to haul straight back up an equally steep climb. By contrast the limestone terrain I was to cover further north tends towards much easier gradients and a few big hills rather than many small ones.

(more…)

Due North, day 1

11 March 2009

duenorth1Hebden Bridge to Haworth

Hebden Bridge is an interesting place set in a steep Pennine valley with houses stacked on top of each other to make the best use of the limited land on the hillsides. In the 1970’s it was a magnet for people escaping from the city and looking for an alternative lifestyle. The combination of very cheap houses, heroic landscape and a regular train service to Leeds, Bradford and Manchester resulted in an unusual community of artists, alternative therapists, walkers, climbers and commuters, now smug owners of houses that have rocketed in value since the town’s charms have become more widely ecognised.

But when I arrived at Hebden Bridge station there was little incentive to explore. (more…)

Due North, planning

11 March 2009

duenorth-1501Hebden Bridge to Corbridge

Where will I go? There are journeys that you don’t have to search out – the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostella, the Pennine Way, The Silk Route, the Kyber Pass Railway. They wait and you only have to choose them.

Other journeys sneak up on you.

When I lived in Halifax in West Yorkshire, I sometimes visited my friend, the typographic designer David Plumb, in Aysgarth in North Yorkshire and over time I began to realise that the route between our homes ran almost directly north. Tracing it on a map and seeing where it extended to I formed the idea of one day cycling along its meridian, which crossed each of the watersheds between the Yorkshire Dales and touched many beautiful places.

(more…)