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Pedalling North into Nidderdale

Pedalling North Day Three  - Sunday 23rd August 2015

Harrogate to Pateley Bridge and back – 40 miles with Rob, managing editor of Pedal North 

Today was originally intended to be my rest day, but as I was in Rob’s neck of the woods it would have been incredibly remiss of me not to at least try and meet up with him. As he was only free on Sunday, switching my rest day to Monday instead made perfect sense. I’d always planned to take in a route around Nidderdale, choosing a route that followed some of the Grand Depart stages in and out of Harrogate, but as Rob knows the area so very well I deferred to his superior knowledge. 

Agreeing Pateley Bridge as the meeting point we arranged to meet at 11am, plenty of time for me to meander there, or so I thought! I wasn’t counting on feeling a compelled to stop and take pictures at almost every turn it was just so beautiful and there was evidence of the previous year’s Grand Depart everywhere! Eventually put my camera away and got a wriggle on, Rob was waiting and I hate being late! 

Rolling in to Pateley, I see a conspicuous looking lycra clad man loitering by the entrance to a large car park, so I wave wildly hoping this is Rob and not someone else who will just think me overzealous with my greetings to fellow cyclists, and to my relief it was indeed the lovely Rob. Advising him of my niggling knee issue and hoping we would avoid anything too climby (we were in the Dales, was that even possible?), Rob reassures me he has the perfect route in mind. A gentle, steady climb along a road going nowhere, well not exactly nowhere but all would be revealed once at the top of the climb! 

So off we go chatting side by side where possible, falling back to single file when the road got a little congested and in between acknowledging the many cyclists passing by in both directions as the road twists this way and that all the while heading upwards until we reach Scar House Reservoir, the point at which the road goes no further but the views were just spectacular - Not for nothing is this place a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - so of course the camera has to come out again, just to try and capture something of it’s charm. 

After a gentle roll back down part of the hill, we came to a stop at How Stean Gorge, another hidden beauty spot perfect for adventure junkies intent on scrambling around the craggy surface of the gorge and splashing about in the water; but for today it was the perfect spot for a pot of tea and a cake in the sunshine. Refreshed by the tea it was time to roll on back to Pateley Bridge. As we wended our way down, Rob told me that I 'really wouldn’t be impressed with what was around the next bend', and that I should prepare to be revolted by what I would see. Taking the corner and looking ahead, I could see just what Rob meant; far too much green, absolutely everywhere! I mean, just how do you cope living somewhere so disgustingly beautiful? Definitely an area I need to revisit and explore some more!