Friday, 21 August 2015

Dales MTB, Circuit From Hebden #mtbtuesday

Finally I've managed to take the mountain bike up into the Dales! Karl and I headed up to Hebden outside Grassington (at the suggestion of Damian at work) for a short circuit on the moors.

Plenty of parking at the start in Hebden and before long we were winding our way up alongside the beck through a pleasant mini valley, criss-crossing the stream a few times leading to some soggy socks (everyone's favourite). The route spat us out at Yarnbury, site of the last Fellsman checkpoint so some fond memories from my last visit to the area!

This route takes you through the abandoned lead mines above Grassington, a landscape that you could conceivably use for testing moon landers. Old 50s concrete and rusted corrugated iron vies for place with old spoil heaps from the shallow drift mines. I'm quite fond of derelict industrial landscapes in a way, the setting of this one is particularly jarring.

I've heard Grassington was once considered the roughest village in Yorkshire due to the number of lead miners in the area; a far cry from the tea shops in the village that bills itself as the Heart Of The Dales. The history of the village makes for interesting reading.

The track over towards Bycliffe / Mossdale Scar is a steady away climb on a good surface and would have been fairly quick had we not been hampered by a strong cold headwind and horizontal rain. My waterproof has given up the ghost and I got pretty cold at one point, having to stop and fish the buff out of the pack. Ice cream headache makes a James miserable! The rain and wind eventually subsided as we descended.

The descent down into Conistone is nice and steady, fairly easy going with no suprises. Karl let me have a go on his new On One Fatty and I can certainly see the appeal. It's like riding a sofa through the rough stuff - very civilised, stable and goes exactly where you want it to. Grin inducing; I can see me purchasing one at some point. It made climbing back onto Herman seem like a bit of a shock, he does have quite a harsh ride by comparison.

The rain and oncoming darkness meant we skipped the planned trip up Mastilles Lane and headed back down the road into Grassington and back to Hebden. Cold, wet and muddy by the time we got back to the car, it felt more like autumn than summer. On with the heated seats and back for marmite on toast and a hot shower.

More Dales riding pls!

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