Travellers’ tales: Way of the Roses

The start at Morecambe Bay
The start at Morecambe Bay
After her exams, Jude Wilkinson rode coast to coast from Morecambe to Bridlington

The Way of the Roses takes in the diverse landscapes of the Forest of Bowland, the Yorkshire Dales and the Yorkshire Wolds. On my approach to Settle, the scenery shifted completely. The open moors of Bowland gave way to dry stone walls and a gorge-like valley, which snaked its way from Austwick to Wharfe and finally Settle. 

If you’ve ridden the route, you’ll remember the climb out of the town. Over a mile at 7.3%, most of the elevation gain is in the first third, which probably averages over 20%. I was determined to get up without walking, a task made easier by having mountain bike gears. 

As I reached the top, though, I realised that I had consumed all my water. There were no shops nearby except back down the hill. I pulled into a village and trundled up to a man painting his cottage door. 

“Excuse me, I’m sorry to disturb you, but I’ve run out of water.” 

“Run out of water, have you?” replied a broad Yorkshire accent. “Well, give me the bottles, then.” 

“Thanks, it’s kind of you. It’s quite the climb up there. Absolutely brutal in this heat.” 

“I used to run up it.” 

He disappeared inside the cottage and returned with my bottles refilled, along with a handful of bananas. 

“Here you go. Lots of road cyclists come through the village, hordes of them. Anyway, have a banana, sit down on the bench over there. Take two minutes, enjoy yourself.” 

Amused at the specified length of time, I used the full two minutes before setting off to find a camp site. 

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