Northern Yorkshire Dales & North Pennines AONB loop
A 150 mile ride through amazing scenery on beautiful roads!!
This RIDE Starts and ends at the same point, directly off the A1M at Northallerton.
Apart from the short stint on the A1 and another short stint on the A66 this is winding roads galore. You follow rivers in valley bottoms & ride high along moorland covered hilltops. This route WILL make you smile........ a LOT
My personal favourite part of the ride has to be the road between Melmerby and the old cafe at the summit of Hartside.
This was an unexpected road for me as I was following a good friend of mine who rides this area very often. As we rolled through Melmerby there was a speed camera van in at the side of the road, but thanks to the decent motorists coming the opposite way flashing us and letting us know about the upcoming speed trap we were on our very best behaviour.
Out of the village the road started to head upwards as we started scaling the massive hillside in front of us. A few sharp bends give you a taste of what is to come, these bends keep coming and become more frequent as the drops to the left become more significant.
You pass lefts and rights in awe of this brilliant stretch of road, some of the bends come a good bit quicker than you expect as you get carried away by the romance of what you are riding along. There are a few bends that are a tad tighter than you'd expect but a bit of opposite steering and get a little further over and that smile you're wearing gets a little wider as your heart comes back to it's normal rhythm.
As you pass the flowing right that heads straight up the hill, the tight bends with limited vision ahead turn to open views with less severe bends - this gives you the nod to push on a little and test your machine. Here you can see the remains of Hartside cafe which unfortunately burnt down in 2018 up on the top of the hill. You are now a few minutes from the iconic Hartside cafe car park, but there is 1 more obstacle that means that you need to shed the speed that you have gained in the last part of the ride - a switchback hairpin bend that is almost a 1st gear right hand bend. before a steep climb up to the cafe and the amazing views towards the lake district in the distance. Enjoy it!!!
Places to stop, relax and grab a bite or a brew
On this route there are a number of places to stop off and relax, take some photos or grab some food/drinks but for this blog I will keep it to the places that we stopped.
Leeming Bar Services Macdonalds for breakfast
Just a quick stop for a bite to eat after blasting up the motorway from Leeds
The Chippie, Hawes
Whenever I visit Hawes I have to grab at least a chip butty form this place. Good grub and on a sunny day the whole street outside The Chippie is full of motorcycles of all shapes and sizes, with loads of other bikers to have a chin wag with whilst eating your grub.
As previously mentioned, this extremely popular bikers spot was wrecked by fire in 2018. However it is still very popular with bikers even though the cafe is no longer active. The roads are too good not to visit this place.
The Dairy Barn
The Dairy Barn does wicked ice creams and fantastic cakes, all in a brilliant setting and overlooking a beautiful valley. If there is a negative aspect to this place it would be the long driveway that is all pebbles, which is a little tricky to ride on with road tyres due to the angle of the track on the hillside.
Other great parts of the ride
The descent from Hartside cafe to Alston is super! It is fast and flowing with a downhill slalom of gentle left and right hand bends that take you gradually away from the top of the hill and into the small town of Alston where there is a Shell fuel station should you need it.
The road between Alston and the Cowshill has a lot of great bits to it, very open and quick with great views all around. The descent from the top of the hill to the east of Nenthead and down to the Lead Mining Museum (which is well worth a look if you have time) is short but great, as you drop down from the moor steeply following the river into the woodland and out of the other side to the entrance to the museum. If you pass without stopping at the museum, take a look to your right as you pass and you will see the large water wheel functioning and all the mine workings - Great to see.
The section between Hawes and Kirkby Stephen is brilliant. Starting with the 40mph zone (yes you heard right) with great steady speed bends as you leave Hawes this then opens up after the stone bridge crossing the River Ure to national speed limit and you can unleash the horses to get at this quick & fun bit of road that bends, rises and falls until you reach the Moorcock Inn on the right and signs for Kirkby Stephen. This is a tighter B road that isn't as free flowing but is visually stunning as you follow and cross the railway twice in the valley bottom with hills high at either side of you. Just before Kirkby Stephen there is a cattle grid protected area that you can get vehicles right up to the river's edge which would make for a great photo looking back up the valley.