Sunday, 17 June 2007

Day 8 - Yorkshire Dales - Clitheroe to Kirkby Stephen

After breakfast I have to choose between following the directions provided or making my own way to avoid the huge climb at Dent. With a roadmap of the area, and suspecting others are taking a similar avoidance route, I head off on my own along the country roads to Settle. I’m clear that my goal is to get to John O’Groats next week, not climb every big hill in between.

I meet up with some others from the group – this is the self-proclaimed “naughty group – they have given up following the directions and are setting out on their own route each day. We compare plans, but they seem to be heading back to Dent Station after avoiding the early morning hills – madness! I continue on my own.

After Settle, I cycle to Hawse through the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Although I’ve been to the Lake District several times, I’ve not been through this part of the world before. The scenery is stunning – I’m quite taken with the valleys, streams and waterfalls. Even the sun comes out – this is definitely a part of the country I will come back to.

Yorkshire DalesYorkshire DalesYorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales

Given the shortcut and lack of significant hills on my chosen route, I find I’ve got time to spare at Hawse, and spend an hour being an ordinary tourist. Browsing the shops and buying postcards seems an abnormal experience at the moment – even people being around seems odd after so much time cycling alone. Even with this delaying tactic, I still arrive at the campsite at Kirkby Stephen before most people and before the van arrives. A new experience, I’m waiting for the tea and cakes to arrive rather than turning up hours after everyone.


Tour map from Google maps
Tour summary: 56 miles planned through Dent, 61 miles actual with my alternative route, 553 miles in total so far.

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