Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Cote Gill and Mastiles Lane

Tuesday rolls around, the forecast is nice and the trails and bridleways of the Dales are calling. Karl is otherwise indisposed (house hunting) so an early off from work sees me rolling out of the car park near Malham Tarn for what the (excellent) South Dales guide book lists as it's first Classic ride - Cote Gill and Mastiles Lane. Admittedly I'm doing it from the Malham side and not Kilnsey but there's the same amount of up believe me!

On the way up to the top of the hill
It's a steady climb up to Cote Gill top on grassy track. Nothing technical or muddy, just sit and spin and enjoy the views, the sheep staring at the intruder, the purple and yellow flowers making the most of the sun, curlews barracking you from the skies and oystercatchers and lapwings zooming around overhead. And the brutal headwind that reduced me to the granny ring for much of the climb!

About to head down Cote Gill
Over the top and a long steady descent with Cote Gill on the right. I was somewhat disappointed to not get a good view down into the gill from the trail. I must come back for a walk up it at some point, perhaps on a roasting summers day where is northerly aspect might offer respite from the sun and make for a nice cooling gorge scramble.

Before I knew it I was down in the very quiet and pleasant valley of Littondale, with my knobbly tires on freshly laid tarmac making me sound like a swarm of disgruntled wasps as I rolled down towards the main road and on to Kilnsey.

There were plenty of climbers on Kilnsey crag but too far away for any of my photos to do them justice. Lots of lurking at the bottom in down jackets, one chap redpointing a route with an inventive heel hook rest on a ledge and someone else top roping a pale patch of limestone on the left of the crag. A good evening for it.

Turning right at the Tennants Arms I pulled in on a grassy bank, pulled on my jacket which smelled of ripe banana, ate the aforementioned fruit item and the standard cheese/marmite bagel, enjoying being out of the breeze for a moment. A man in a white car drives past, opens his door, a dog jumps out and then runs up the road with the man following behind. Most people use feet and, you know, a lead when walking their dog, not a mid price Japanese saloon car...

Up a short tarmac climb and the long climb of Mastiles Lane hove into view, extending up into the darkness of a cloud shadow looking ever so slightly foreboding. To the Granny Ring Batman!

Mastiles Lane
Not a bad climb really, steep but mostly fairly easy to pick a good line along the edges. The hardest bit was the slightly looser and rockier steep section at the top where my front wheel was feeling light and a bit of zig zagging over the width of the trail was required. The climb up Rooley Moor on the Mary Towneley Loop was much harder with it's unavoidable fist sized rocks ready to send you off in interesting new directions like pinball bumpers in slow motion.

At the top of the steep part, I paused to cough up a lung or two, noting the lack of really hard exercise of late. Now that work has calmed down a little, the dial registering "busy" instead of "frantic", I hope to he stretching my legs a bit more.

A good climb.
The ride back towards Malham along the top of Mastiles Lane was great. Fast rolling grass, the odd depression in the trail to pump the bike into for a bit more speed, middle ring riding all the way scattering sheep and skylarks. Well worth the climb up.

Fingerpost, Street Gate, Malham Tarn
I wasn't ready to pack up yet, so I headed for a quick loop around Malham Tarn, surprising groups of blindfolded children on a "team building" exercise from the field centre with dings of the bike bell.

They have a problem with spiders at the Field Centre...
A quick whip back along the road, back to the car and then off in search of chips...

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