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Nidderdale Take 2 Page 1

Our second trip to Nidderdale, this time in late Winter shows how beautiful this ride can be even in February.

Total distance 48K (30 miles) Grid references and map links from: Landranger OS 115 Snowdon and Caernarfon.

To open map link click on 'show'. To change to OS map select halfway between + and - on map size selector.
1.  230 743 show Kirkby Malzeard
2.  191 732 show Swetton
3.  135 718 show Right Turn
4.  107 753 show Shooting House above Thrope Farm.
5.  102 751 show Thrope Farm
6.  101 734 show Lofthouse
7.  092 742 show Middlesmoor
8.  067 766 show Scar House Reservoir
9.  078 777 show Wooden Bridge
10.  108 762 show Lofthouse Moor
11.  130 746 show High Ash Head Moor
12.  194 752 show Ripon Rowel Walk
13.  227 742 show Kirkby Malzeard

Where is Kirkby Malzeard? 

Sun Dance
MBUK featured Nidderdale and followed a long route from Kirkby Malzeard around Nidderdale and back in time for tea. We liked the look of it because Kirkby is much easier to reach by car than Middlesmoor or even Pately Bridge, due to it's relative closeness to the Al(M). We made it back to Leicester in two hours flat on a Sunday evening: swift. On the morning of the ride the journey up North was through heavy showers under dark, sullen clouds. Clinging to my faith in meteorology I bravely promised the un-believers (Matt and Tom) that 'sunny periods' had been forecast. Sure enough when we arrived the clouds parted and the sunny period turned out to be the whole day: nice.

Tarmac Beggars
On the ride out of Kirkby we all noticed how like Leicester's Swithland the countryside was, as Kirkby and Carle moors came in to view soon after this illusion was thankfully dispelled. A very pleasant tarmac lane leads you right up on to the moor and I sadistically warned the lads they'd be begging for some tarmac later on. Shortly before the road ends we were treated to the sight of North Gill Beck in full spate, none of us fancied canoeing down that torrent. As we crossed Carle Moor we stopped for an early bite to eat and I pulled two large Bakewell tarts from my sack. You'd think from Matt and Tom's reaction that I'd set up a four course lunch complete with a menu and sweet trolley. Surely there's nothing wrong with treating yourself on a day out? They certainly weren't averse to scoffing some down.

Soon after this the downhill begins and a rocktastic rolling romp it is too. I reigned in my zealous speed freak buddies just in time to make the right turn before East Side Wood. This is where the trail gets tough and pretty much stays tough the whole way around the upper valley. Although this is a good Winter trail, ruts and the dreaded baby head rocks make getting a pedaling rhythm going harder than drunken tight rope walking. We had taken this masochistic diversion in order to include the amazing descent to Thrope Farm, a mile North of Lofthouse.

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Loony Leader
When we reached the impressive Shooting Lodge there was some disbelief from the troops. "What trail?" they said as I pointed over the edge. The general feeling was that I'd lost it and should be relieved of command and quite possibly locked up for my own safety. Truth is the top section of this bridleway is so infrequently used that there's not much on the ground to show it's existence. Add to this the sudden transition over the steep valley side and your friends may fear for your sanity as you point over the edge. As soon as you do take the plunge the grassy path guides you off to the left and then heads straight down at around 1 in 2. Some delicate braking and deft line choices are needed unless your handlebar is a foot higher than your saddle.

Eventually you reach a gated wall and can stop chewing your shorts on the rear tyre, for a moment. Through here and it's off to the left again building up way too much speed for the ninety degree right hand bend and more of that 50% slope. This time there are rocks and one or two roots to add to the general smell of fear and ensuing hilarity. Finally you arrive at another gate in to a farmers field, straight across the middle towards the farmhouse then left on the lane. The farmers lane can be muddy but you'll still be buzzing from the descent, we hardly noticed it. You soon drop down in to the village of Lofthouse then turn right for the steep tarmac climb to Middlesmoor. > Next Page >

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