Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Scotland C2C Training on the NY Moors - Day 1

So Hilary collected her new custom hardtail from Eighteen last Thursday and we decided to test it and the BoB trailers with a two day ride round the Nork Yorks Moors.  Our route was to set out from the campsite in Great Broughton, ride the back lanes through Ingleby Greenhow and up the Ingleby Incline to the old North Eastern railway line which carried iron ore from Rosedale.  It finally closed in 1926.  There's some history about the Incline along with some old photos here.  The section from Bloworth Crossing east to Blakey Ridge is most notable as being the boring but fast bit of the Lyke Wake Walk you do through the night, unless you're perverse and do an east-west crossing, in which case you probably get to see it in daylight.  However, from Bloworth we would head south down Rudland Rigg, which separates Farndale and Bransdale and offers panoramic vistas into and across both.  We would then turn east on lanes and farm tracks to Hutton-le Hole and Lastingham before heading north onto another LRT to Ana Cross and Rosedale Chimney, with a wild camp somewhere on the southern end of the same disused railway track above Rosedale.  Sunday had a choice of routes depending on weather and how we felt.

The previous week I was doing a bit of research on the web, when I found a potential problem.  I rang Hilary.

I've just found out that the Ingleby Incline is 1 in 5 for almost a mile

Oh, that sounds bad

It's ok though. I've found a zigzag route up through the forest which leads to the top


We left the campsite at about 9.45, having had to faff with assembling trailers and some last minute decisions about gear to take, which probably added a kilo or two.  The ride to Ingleby Greenhow gave a splendid view of the Captain Cook memorial on Easby Moor and Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping

I'm still experimenting with the GoPro for the Scottish ride and mounted it under the saddle to get a view of the BoB trailer. The rear mud catcher gets in the way, so this kind of shot will only be possible when it's not wet or muddy.

Riding the lanes to Ingleby Greenhow

We cycled past the end of the bridleway to the Incline and straight on up a steepening track past a farm. As the farmer was there, I bid him a cheery good morning and asked

Is this the way into the forest?

It is but you'd be better off going up that way, pointing to the bridleway behind us leading up to the Ingleby Incline, especially with those trailers.  There are big rocks this way, and he made a kind of 'yeah big' gesture, the dimensions of which didn't look compatible with a BoB.

But the Incline is 1 in 5, I said, a slight whimper in my voice breaking through

It is, he said.  You're in for some pushing, he said,  But it will still be easier than going the other way.  I can just get to the first gate with my daughter on the trailer bike, he said

It turned out he was a keen cyclist, on and off road and he and Hilary exchanged coast to coast stories.  Then we got onto subject of the Moor To Sea trails and he mentioned that the Ingleby Incline was part of a new section they'd just established as another route to Dalby but the route wasn't shown on the website.  So having satisfied us with his credentials (!) we came to terms with the reality that the only way up was via the Incline.  We didn't make the first gate before we had to push but a BoB with camping gear is heavier than trail-a-bike with a daughter - it's a well known fact.

Ingleby Incline - the 'easy bit' below the gate.

The push below the gate was just the warm up for the main event.  It seems churlish to wish the sun hadn't been out but it was hot work.  I managed to ride a few 50yd sections but in the end just accepted defeat and as I shoved bike and BoB up the hill I passed the time trying to recall if anywhere along the Corryairick Pass was this steep.

Ingleby Incline - the 1 in 5 for almost a mile section

Ingleby Incline - the final push to the top

But we were rewarded by the views from the top

Hasty Bank from top of Ingleby Incline

Once we'd got our breath back, that is

Top of Ingleby Incline

With that behind us, we rode the short distance to Bloworth Crossing on dry tracks with the sun on our heads.

Bloworth Crossing
Rudland Rigg is essentially a long straight track running for just over 6 miles to the southern end of the moors, along a spine left over when glaciers carved out Farndale and Bransdale.  The surface of the LRT has improved at lot since we last rode it 18 months ago; the huge lakes have all been filled in for a start.  There still seems to be more uphill than the contours on the 1:50k would have you believe but it's easy riding and you can let your thoughts roam freely while soaking up the tranquillity of wild moorland, the silence broken only by the occasional call of the curlew, a dirt bike and a convoy of 4x4s.

Easy riding over the Moors

We had a brief stop along here to re-attach the back wheel on Hilary's bike.  It had come adrift when the special quick release for the BoB, which has lugs by which to attach the trailer, had worked loose. Although the BoB skewer is better made than the ones which came with the original trailers we bought off eBay last year, it's still the weak part in the whole design, in my opinion. It was a faff to get the wheel back in because the brake pads needed to be forced apart to re-insert the disk rotor.  We've started to build up a comprehensive set of tools and spares for Scotland and this episode re-affirmed the need to make sure we have enough tools, parts and skills to fix anything that can reasonably be fixed on the trail.  With the wheel back in place, I made sure the quick release was wellied down tightly and it was no further problem for the rest of the weekend.

The two miles of descent from the high point on Rudland Rigg down to the road afforded just enough of a technical challenge to practice avoiding rocks and drop offs with the trailer.

After a short road section, a bridleway and a brutal hill climb, we rolled into Hutton-le-Hole, a pretty village that offers a choice of places to stop for refreshment.  We called into the Forge Tea Rooms, which was staffed by a couple of Essex girls who plied us with tea and cake and filled up our water bottles.  Where we were intending to wild camp seemed a bit devoid of water sources, so I got the platypus filled up as well, giving me around 3kgs of extra ballast for the climb up to Ana Cross.  It's good to have a challenge.

Leaving H-le-H, we continued east to Lastingham where an LRT over Spaunton Moor heads north.  This was busy with walkers and although the climb is sustained (aka relentless), it can all be ridden towing the BoB, though we did pause for a jelly baby induced sugar rush on the way.

The track over Spaunton Moor to Ana Cross

Further J-Bs were consumed at Ana Cross along with a protein fix of cheese, chorizo and tuna, and I made a failed attempt to tweet this picture.

Ana Cross

The afternoon was wearing on and we'd done about 20 miles to this point.  I had a target of 25-27 miles in mind to put us somewhere on the disused railway above Rosedale for the night.  We pressed on northwards.  Beyond Rosedale Chimney Bank, where the road comes up a 1 in 3 out of Rosedale Abbey, we encountered very few people - a group of walkers, a runner and a couple of mountain bikers.  This was good because I wasn't really sure if we should be wild camping up here.  We reached a suitable spot, well it was idyllic actually, just after 4pm and laid out on the grass for an hour in the sun, when we thought it would be pretty safe to get the tents up.  Hilary found a stagnant pond with some water in, which she filtered in her Travel Tap, so I probably hadn't needed to carry the ballast but better that than going thirsty for the night.

There is an especially ugly fence here, which I'd noticed on a previous ride and when I went to investigate, I found it was surrounding a rather large deep hole in the ground from which emanated the sound of running water.  I couldn't find anything to throw down it to gauge the depth but I guessed it was at least 50ft.  Some Googling when I got back home came up with Sheriff's Pit, 270ft deep.  This was an old ironstone mine and at the base of the shaft, a horizontal drift driven along an ironstone outcrop, extends 1500ft to emerge out of the valley side.  There's a picture of the winding gear and buildings taken in 1911, the year it closed, along with some more history about the ironworks and railway here.

Wild camp above Rosedale
Part 2 to follow.

Distance: 24 miles
Ascent: 2750 ft



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