Kirkby Stephen is a small market town and lies in the Upper Eden Valley. It is surrounded by wild uplands. We left the town via Winton and rode to the end of the paved lane above Heggerscales.
After Wrenside the bridleway became indistinct.
The bridleway degenerated so there was nothing visible on the ground. It became unrideable (for us) through peat hags, heather and patches of marsh – all gently rising. We resorted to a strenuous push for the last 2 kilometres before reaching the sanctuary of tarmac.
It was a further undulating 5 kilometres on the road before we reached Tan Hill. At the high point we crossed into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The Tan Hill Inn is the highest public house in Britain at 528 metres. (1,732 feet) The Inn dates back to the 17th Century. The isolated setting is high wild moors. The interior was immediately recognisable as the setting for the 2017 Christmas Waitrose TV commercial.
The Pennine Way passes through here and it was this bridleway that we rode South for about 6km to Keld in Swaledale.
The next 20 kilometres of the route from Keld to Reeth followed the Swale Trail which officially opened in April 2018. It is a valley bottom trail which is mostly traffic free.
We crossed the river on a fine bridge at Gunnerside.
From Reeth to Richmond we were able to stay off road by following bridleways some of which coincided with the C2C walking route.
From Richmond to Osmotherley there is 40 kilometres of flat relatively uninteresting farmland to ride through before the Yorkshire Moors. We kept our route to quiet lanes and tracks and reached Ingleby Cross in a couple of hours.
From Ingleby Cross we climbed up the escarpment to Osmotherley through Arncliffe Wood on a fire road. This is the C2C walking route and it emerges onto the moor on the Cleveland Way footpath. It avoids using busy roads to get to Osmotherley.
From Osmotherley the ride picks up interest again with a great bridleway across Scarth Moor. We had far reaching views ahead as far as Roseberry Topping.
Through Whorlton the route was a bit tricky to find but we eventually emerged on the Scugdale Lane which we followed to Scugdale Hall.
Our route choice from there was to head North up onto Bilsdale West Moor.
The climb was worth it for the wonderful ride over the wild remote moor.
We carried onto the edge of the escarpment to reach Trig Point 6927 and its adjacent boundary stone.
We followed a permissive bridleway which was mainly through forest below the escarpment to Clay Bank where we once again joined the Cleveland Way.
It was quite an effort pushing and sometimes carrying the bikes up the steep slope to Urra Moor Top but once there we enjoyed the gently ascending ride to Bloworth Crossing.
Bloworth Crossing is the site of a crossroads on the former Rosedale Ironstone Railway in the North York Moors. What were once rail lines are now public bridleways, so Bloworth Crossing forms a major junction for many mountain bike routes. It also sits on the Cleveland Way and C2C long distance footpaths.
From Bloworth crossing we followed the eastern trail along an easy meandering dismantled railway across the moor to the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge. On Blakey Ridge we kept to the road for a few kilometres to Rosedale Head and had a look at Ralph’s Cross. A cross has stood here since Anglo Saxon times and acted as a medieval highway marker.
From Trough House the onward route follows a bridleway which is mainly downhill. It is called the Cut Road. It is an easy to follow track across Glaisdale High Moor.
We left the Glaisdale Moor with a fast descent down Glaisdale Rigg.
From Glaisdale the route follows the Esk Valley through Egton Bridge to Grosmont. To avoid riding up the very steep (33%) road out of Grosmont we crossed Murk Esk on a very slippery ford which fortunately had very little water in it.
After several kilometres of climbing out of the Esk Valley we emerged onto Whinstone Ridge and followed a great bridleway across Fylingdales Moor.
We reached Louven Howe barrow which is the highest of a chain of barrows thought to form part of a bronze age boundary. The barrow is home to a boundary stone and also the trig point at a height of 299 metres.
We continued heading east towards the sea which we eventually reached at Bent Rigg Lane just South of Ravenscar.
All that remained was to follow the well surfaced old railway track above the coastal cliffs which gave us excellent views of our final destination Robin Hoods Bay.
We finished at the Station Workshops car park where our Packhorse transport was waiting to return us and our bikes to Kirkby Stephen.
The gpx files we created for this ride are all here. Please use them with caution as there are a few discrepancies. If you would like more info on the route just send a message.