Ride Reports

Saturday 23rd February 2019

B2 KirkbyStephen - Steve Hopkinson
As usual, I had arranged for decent weather for this ride, and so it was in warm sunny conditions that eight riders set off from the normal parking lane (somewhat busier than it normally is) in Sedburgh. We all stopped just around the corner for a comfort break – most of us are men of a certain age! – to be told that we needed to wait for another couple of late comers. So, then we were ten that set off up the A683, which is a fairly quiet road with little traffic, towards Cautley with some gentle climbs. With imposing fells on both sides and spectacular views, we continued on with the first long descent of the day to cross the main Kirkby Stephen to Tebay Road, and then on to possibly the worst surfaces of the day, where Pete Hardman suffered a puncture. Why is it always the back wheel? Ably assisted by Shane, who appears to carry tools for every eventuality, the damage was quickly (a term I use loosely) repaired, and on we continued through the pretty hamlets of Soulby and Little Musgrave, where we turned right towards Kirkby Stephen. I had already decided to give Brough a miss as it has little to commend it, so avoiding three and a half miles of the very busy and fast A685.
We arrived in Kirkby Stephen to find that the Pink Geranium was full, so we went across the road to the Mulberry Bush. I was very impressed with both the excellent service and food and reasonable prices. I had the BLT which was served on two substantial slices of home-made bread, complete with salad garnish – wonderful.
Suitably rested and refreshed, we set off south via Nateby (yes, another one), through the valley of Mallerstang Common towards Garsdale Head. The headwind was fairly troublesome as it was funnelled down the valley between the high fells on either side, but we made it, albeit rather slowly.
However, turning right at Garsdale Head, we then had the delight of a ten-mile, fast descent on a decent surface all the way back to Sedburgh.
This is one of my favourite routes in the GCC calendar, made even better by the convivial company. Only 43 miles, but with 2730 feet of climbing, the spectacular views and warm sunshine more than made up for the lack of miles. I promised a gentle pace, which we achieved with an average speed of 12 mph

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