I did this tour over 4 days in April 2011. Jean's son Jason joined me for the first day, which began at Lancaster station. We set out on NCN (National Cycle Network) route 69, which would take us all the way to our destination for the day: Settle. The full route of my tour is here:
Total distance was ~ 150 miles and included about 12000 ft of climbing.
After an hour or so of cycling on NCN route 71 beside the River Lune and on country lanes, we reached Wray, a village with a Scarecrow Fair that we had both visited ages years ago. Inevitably this year many of the exhibits have a royal theme, but with humour.
Here we were on the exact same path between Clapham and Austwick that we had walked in January. Norber Erratics are a lot of big and strangely-shaped rocks that are just visible on the cliff in the background. Path pretty rough, but worth it for the spectacular road beyond it.
We completed the first day's route at about 4 pm and after a cup of tea in the Settle market square, Jason took the train back to Lancaster from the tiny Giggleswick station, nearby. The next morning I set off from my B & B early in bright sunshine and was soon pushing up this 1:5 hill and over the top to Malham Tarn in the next dale.
Even the sheep seemed to find my Moulton NS bike unusual!
Passing through the picture postcard village of Arncliffe
I ate my lunch beside this lovely stream.
The glorious descent into Gayle (near Hawes) where I was to spend my second night at Marie's house.
While at Marie's I searched for B & B's near Swaledale and managed to book a single at the highly recommended Butt House in the village of Keld. So I set off in good time to ensure I could do my planned itinerary of about 50 miles including at least 3 climbs over the tops.
The first leg of my itinerary took me from Hawes to the top of Dentdale and all the way down it to the village of Dent.
Then I doubled back to the lane that rises steeply from the head of Dentdale to Dent station.
Dent station, on the famously scenic Settle-Carlisle line is the highest in Engand at 1150 feet, well above and over 3 mies away from Dent village.
Passing ove Garsdale Head at 1750 feet, I descended past the next station at Garsdale and entered Wensleydale.
This was the steepest sign I saw, but I'm sure several of the other hills I mounted came very close. Anything over 1:6 (17%) is a struggle to pedal up and it's hard to keep the front wheel in contact with the ground!
Over the top and dropping down a long narrow lane into Swaledale.
Heading West along Swaledale towards my B & B at Keld, up another hill at the top end of Swaledale,
Some of the steepest hills seemed to lie in wait just around he corner from each B & B. This is the one I climbed after leaving Keld.
And this almost totally empty dale was to be my farewell to the dales. After 3 days near-perfect weather, I had emerged from the Keld B & B to a howling near-gale from the east. This was disconcerting, but most of my last day itinerary was north and west, so the wind was not as difficult for me as for the group of coast-to-coast walkers that I's shared the B & B with - they were walking east.
Still in moorland, but here I headed west on NCN route 71, which would take me all the way to my train station at Appleby.
What is this about? I several time saw a string of mole bodies strung up by the roadside (at least I think they're moles).
The route to Appleby was very pleasant, passing through Westmoreland which is much gentler than the dales.
Clapham is a village popular with walkers at the south-west edge of the Dales. The NCN route leaves the road here for a couple of kilometres or so of steep and rough stony track that we scrambled or rode where we could.