Twenty go touring to Slaidburn

Sheffield CTC’s end of summer residential weekend
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All lined up outside the youth hostel ready to start Sunday’s ride back to Sheffield.

Day one: Sheffield to Slaidburn

The group met up at Wortley village, north of Sheffield, at 8 am where we organised ourselves into fast and slow groups for the ride over to Slaidburn.  The route took us out through the north of Sheffield via the villages west of Barnsley and over to Emley Moor where we had our breakfast cafe stop at Thorncliffe Farm. The slower group had already been held up by a puncture early into the ride and arrived just as the fast group were getting ready to leave – the last we’d see of them for the rest of the journey. In true CTC style we managed to while away a good hour in the cafe before heading off across the hills west of Wakefield.

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Thorncliffe Farm Cafe

We descended into Dewsbury where we picked up the Spen Valley Greenway, an old railway line that links the West Yorkshire towns of Heckmondwike, Cleackheaton and Bradford, providing cyclists and walkers with a lovely, traffic-free route in an otherwise densely populated area that was once heavily industrialised. We stayed on the trail for around eight miles until we reached the outskirts of Bradford to start the climb over to the Aire Valley.

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Spen Valley monsters

We left the trail at Low Moor and climbed up through Shelf and Queensbury before stopping for lunch at Asa Nicholson’s Bakery cafe at Keelham. After lunch we wound our way over the tops of Denholme and Ogden to avoid the traffic through the village centre on the A629. The route took in some spectacular views over to Leeming reservoir and Haworth before eventually rejoining the A629 and dropping down into Keighley.

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Looking across the Aire Valley from Cononley

From Keighley we avoided the busy A65 by taking the hillier but quieter route through Steeton, Crosshills and Cononley. The weather took a turn for the worse and we had a few good soakings in heavy but short showers enroute to Gargrave.  Another puncture conspired to slow us down further so we forfeited the last cafe stop at Gargrave in favour of an earlier arrival at the youth hostel.

The final leg of the route followed the edge of the Dales through Long Preston, Wigglesworth and Tosside providing us with great views across to Ingleborough. By this point the slower group fractured into a few little sub-groups as legs were starting to tire on the ups and downs of the quiet, lumpy lanes.

The last few riders made it to the hostel around 7pm and were pleased to discover that the fast group, who’d arrived around 5pm, had already got dinner well underway.

Day two: Glasson Dock and Wray over the Trough of Bowland

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Descending from the Trough of Bowland

The harder of the day’s two circular rides on offer was a hilly 60-miler up over the Trough of Bowland and out towards the coast to the Lantern O’er Lune cafe at Glasson Dock before heading back inland over to Caton, just east of Lancaster.

At Caton the route crossed the River Lune and joined the Way of the Roses cycle route eastbound until the village of Wray where it turned south to climb back over the moors to Slaidburn via the summit of White Hill.

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Looking down from White Hill to Stocks Reservoir.

 

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