The Howardian Hills 86 miles
For some reason, the general interest in doing an A route (over 80 miles) had dwindled this morning, and only three stalwarts turned out at 8.30am for the major ‘hike’ into the Howardian Hills and up onto the Yorkshire Moors.
The unique selling point of this route was…..well, I’m sure you’ve guessed. In short, you had to relish the prospect of several major climbs, many over 15%, up to a maximum elevation of 1200 feet.
Through the honeypot attraction of Helmsley, then up and up to the wild heather-covered moorland, with bilberries annoyingly not quite ripe,
…up to the head of Sleightholme Dale, marked by the tiny hamlet of Cockayne. The views over the dale were dramatic, the ultimate reward for the toil and the grinding of gears.
My companions, Alex and Edward, were able to spin their pedals up the climbs, with their triples and widely spaced gears.
The gears on my double front, however, were more suited to the rolling landscapes of the midlands, which meant I had to capitalise on momentum and attack the hills to get to the top. This ultimately has a wearing effect on the legs, guaranteeing the last climbs of the day were going to be particularly demanding. And they were….but I still had the satisfaction of having climbed everything.
The ‘hillocks’ of home seemed strangely insignificant when I gazed over the vast expanse of the Moors from 1200 feet.