Category Archives: Coast to Coast

C2C MTB Eastern section Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay

Our route from Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay

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.

The paved road continues with a promising track to Wrenside Farm.

After Wrenside the bridleway became indistinct.

The bridleway is straight on?

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.

A hard push uphill across peaty moorland.

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.

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.

Tan Hill Inn.

The Pennine Way passes through here and it was this bridleway that we rode South for about 6km  to Keld in Swaledale.

Pennine Way Bridleway to Swaledale.

Bridleway down to Keld.

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.

The start of the Swale Trail in Upper Swaledale.

Following the Swale Trail near Crackpot Hall

We crossed the river on a fine bridge at Gunnerside.

The well signed trail continued to Grinton near Reeth .

From Reeth to Richmond we were able to stay off road by following bridleways some of which coincided with the C2C walking route.

Some of the bridleways coincided with the 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.

Ooops a footpath.

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.

Roseberry Topping in the far distance.

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.

A steep climb to Barkers Crags.

The climb was worth it for the wonderful ride over the wild remote moor.

Bilsdale West 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.

Clay Bank. It’s a bridleway.

A very steep climb up Carr Ridge onto Urra Moor.

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.

Great riding on Urra Moor.

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.

Ralph’s Cross at Rosedale Head.

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.

Cut Road across Glaisdale High Moor.

We left the Glaisdale Moor with a fast descent down Glaisdale Rigg.

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.

Crossing the Murk Esk at Grosmont.

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.

Louven Howe, with a distant view of the North Sea

We continued heading east towards the sea which we eventually reached at Bent Rigg Lane just South of Ravenscar.

The North Sea near 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.

Robin Hood’s Bay.

We finished at the Station Workshops car park where our Packhorse transport was waiting to return us and our bikes to Kirkby Stephen.

Our transport back to Kirkby Stephen.

Distance: 210km
Elevation: 3521m

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.

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C2C MTB Western section St Bees to Kirkby Stephen

Our route to Kirkby Stephen

With a combined age of 125 years we decided to give ourselves the luxury of baggage transfer for our trail ride on mountain bikes from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hoods Bay in North Yorkshire. We were riding unsupported and had devised our own route which was based on the Tim Woodcock route, which itself is based on the walking route developed by A.W Wainwright.

We used the the Kirkby Stephen based company Packhorse for our transfers and baggage transport.

Readying the bikes for our Packhorse transfer to St Bees

We met the Packhorse team at Kirkby Stephen which is roughly half way across the C2C route. There were several other people there too but they were walkers. We left our car in their secure car park and were transported with our bikes to St Bees to start the ride.

At St Bees ready to Start

Posing at the official start of the C2C walk

We began by riding up the road to Sandwith and then joined the cycle track along the old railway at Moor Row. National Route 71 of the National Cycle Network makes up the western third of the C2C route which follows paved roads.

On Sustrans route 71

At Kirkland the more difficult of the Tim Woodcock routes heads onto Ennerdale. We had decided to take the easier option through the Lake District and kept going North. We were soon onto some very nice bridleways and headed down to the lakeside at Loweswater.

Loweswater

We continued to a bridleway which became a footpath alongside Crummock Water . At Buttermere we took the road over Newlands Hause.

The road climbs over 200 metres with gradients up to 18%.

Newlands Hause.

We then dropped down through the Newlands Valley, through Keswick and climbed up to Castlerigg Stone Circle. It was constructed as a part of a megalithic tradition that lasted from 3,300 to 900 BC, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages.

Castlerigg Stone Circle.

We continued east by following the Old Coach Road from St John’s Vale. It’s very steep and rough to begin with so we had to walk.

Walking up the Old Coach Road out of St john’s Vale.

Once up above the quarries it was really good and we had a great ride over to High Row.

Great riding on the Old Coach Road to High Row.

We followed undulating paved roads through Matterdale and down to Pooley Bridge.

The undulating paved roads reminded us of why we had opted to take an easier route through Lakeland.

Pooley Bridge is at the Northern End of Ulswater. From there we took a delightful bridleway across Askham Fell.

Askham Fell above Ulswater.

We stayed off road as much as possible and joined the main Tim Woodcock route at Shap.

Crossing the River Lowther en route to Shap.

Tim Woodcock does not explore the wonderful limestone scenery between Shap and Kirkby Stephen and cruises through this area on paved lanes. Once again we deviated from the route to stay off road.

From Oddendale we followed the course of a Roman Road across Cosby Ravensworth Fell and just before Orton we left Cumbria and entered the Yorkshire Dales.

Leaving Cumbria behind

After Orton we headed North up onto Orton Scar.

We then entered the the Great Asby Scar National Nature Reserve. This area was one of the highlights of the whole ride. We didn’t see anyone else until we dropped back down to Smardale Bridge.

Great Asby Scar National Nature Reserve

Great Asby Scar National Nature Reserve

Great Asby Scar National Nature Reserve

From Asby we came back down across Crosby Garrett Fell following a bridleway.

Crosby Garrett Fell

We dropped down to Bents Farm, crossing the C2C walking route and rode a bridleway to Smardale Bridge. The onward route over Smardale Fell was great riding and we enjoyed the descent to Waitby and were on mainly paved lanes for the last few kilometres into Kirkby Stephen.

Distance: 144km
Elevation: 3037m