Chris McClean / komoot

A 3-day micro adventure in the Yorkshire Dales

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

There’s something about an adventure that brings a great sense of absolute freedom. It's an age-old game between man (or woman) and the great outdoors; setting us loose from the chains of our daily lives to have our primal instincts tested by Mother Nature.

It wasn’t that long ago after all that ‘adventure’ was a consistent occurrence. In our daily dance for survival, it may not have been something many actively sought out—but it was an integral part of the human experience for hundreds of thousands of years.

This micro-adventure takes you through the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales. Over two and a half days, you'll experience this cherished part of the British countryside. You'll take in some vastly changing scenery as you pass everything from sprawling, affluent estates, to barren, bleak highlands. And you'll experience a winding journey that compliments the contrast in nature this far north.

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On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    58.2 mi
    9.4 mph
    3,925 ft
    2,575 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This 2.5 day microadventure begins in the regal spa town of Harrogate on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Navigating its suburbs is relatively painless and within 15 minutes of riding you are already in the countryside, surrounded by farmland and expansive estates. One of those estates is Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal — why not already stop for a coffee in the courtyard and even do a tour of the house? After Fountains Abbey, you wind your way through rolling farmland for a few hours to Fremington towards your next pit-stop: the Dales MTB Centre. Enjoy the best soup you’ve ever tasted and have a chat with the friendly owner to learn more about the area before you tackle the rolling roads that lead you towards the highlands of the Dales and your stop for the night, the Tan Hill Inn, the UK's highest pub and guesthouse.

    To get here, you’ll ascend the hill from the south, which means you’ll avoid those nasty northwesterly winds. Unfortunately, however, every pro has its con, and this ride is no different: At the start of the climb, you’ll be riding up a 24% gradient — so look forward to that!

    The final leg of day 1 might be tough, but the thought of enjoying a supersized Yorkshire pudding with a pint of beer in front of a warm fire will keep you motivated. So think happy thoughts!

  • Difficult
    45.9 mi
    9.5 mph
    3,325 ft
    4,275 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After a big breakfast in the Tan Hill Inn, you’ll feel energized enough to ride Buttertubs Pass, a road that links to Hawes on the other side of the mountains. Buttertubs got its name from locals who would lower their butter tubs into its potholes in summer to prevent the butter from melting. High on the hit-list of any rider in the Dales, its international claim to fame includes being part of the 2014 Tour de France.

    As you approach it from the Tan Hill Inn, you’ll need some power at the beginning of the climb, but the kick is short and sweet and nothing to be afraid of. The pass stretches out at the top and rewards you with views over the other side of the Dales. Just don’t miss the waterfall on the way down: it’s worth stopping here for a quick look.

    Your next stop, the little market town of Hawes, is a busy, bustling little place. Here, you’ll find plenty of cafes and pubs ready to water and feed you, and you’ll be able to grab some cheese and cake at the Wesleydale Creamery on the way out!

    Shortly after Hawes you climb up to the beautiful but derelict Castle Bolton and cycle through quiet woodland for a while. If you have a “barista” with you, like the guys from Pannier had, you might stop on the road to have a decent cup of coffee and enjoy some of the provisions you picked up in Hawes! Winding roads through a changing landscape and narrow little backroads make up the final stage of your ride today as you ride towards the sprawling, 200,000 acre Swinton Estate and the treehouses you’ll be sleeping in at Swinton Bivouac. These roads are what you might call ‘the roads less traveled’ — and we promise you’re going to love them. As the countryside goes to sleep, it’s still full of life, from hares hiding in the ditches and startled pheasants — you will be constantly entertained. The perfect end to a relaxed 40-mile (70-kilometer) day.

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  • Intermediate
    20.9 mi
    10.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,475 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final day of this microadventure is a short “get me home” ride leading you back to Harrogate. Once more, you’ll cycle through the stunning landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Passing by churches and abbeys and stunning relicts of times you only read about in history books, you enjoy your way "back home". Not every adventure project needs to be a big one, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting out there — even the most micro of adventures can deliver macro fun!

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    125 mi
  • Duration
    13:04 h
  • Elevation
    8,325 ft