Wetherby – Pateley Bridge, Thursday 4th November 2021, 62 miles

A grand total of eight Wheelers met in The Shambles on a grand cold Thursday morning: Nick, Sean, Graham, Geoff, Greg, Steve W, Michael and me, Mark. The plan was to ride to Ripley for coffee, via Knaresborough, and then on to Pateley Bridge for lunch. Graham deployed appropriate cunning by glossing over how we would exit Pateley Bridge, but we all knew it would definitely be uphill.

So we set off, up through Kirk and North Deighton and over the Ribston rumbles, enjoying the fresh, clear air and low sun which provided some lovely views throughout the day. We made our way through Knaresborough where we gained two more riders, Dennis and Ian, a welcome guest rider. However, Geoff decided to go home at this point to carry out grandfatherly duties.

We took the nice little lane up through Scotton and on to Ripley and our coffee stop at the Ripley Castle Tea Room. They were apparently full inside, though we saw about a dozen empty chairs, so we sat outside in the pleasant sun instead. Coffee and snacks consumed we saddled up, saying goodbye to Nick who was heading home early.
From Ripley, we started on the series of hills that would make up the rest of the ride. First, we took a right turn up Hebden Bank, a left through the woods and a right down, up and down Blazefield Bank to meet the main road into Pateley Bridge. Rolling down the High Street we regrouped near the (Pateley ?) bridge which was reduced to a single lane with traffic lights.

Our target was the cafe near the auction yard (and the vet’s…) but when the lights eventually allowed us across we found that the cafe was closed. Fortunately, the wait to recross the bridge wasn’t long and after a little exploratory work, we found The Willow Cafe which had exactly the right number of seats for us in a room at the back – excellent ! A good lunch was enjoyed by all, as far as I could tell, and we remounted with only a slight concern about how the heck we were going to leave town.

Back over the bridge and past the closed cafe, we pointed ourselves skyward up Nought Bank Road which was pleasantly quiet and provided some lovely view down into Nidderdale. Up and up, past Yorke’s Folly and on to Old Wife’s Ridge (I didn’t know it that was its name) then a lovely twisty descent through Padside Green, meeting Duck Street and jogging across the A59 near Fewston. Sean split off at this point, last seen heading towards Harrogate.

We continued up the back side of Norwood Edge and then took a tiny left on the gated road that links across to Leathley Lane, followed by a right turn onto the lane past the brooding gritstone lump of Almscliffe. A nice descent followed through Huby, across the main road through Weeton and then Dunkeswick. The group split here, three of us turning right towards Harewood and the remainder turning left to continue through Kirkby Overblow and homewards from there.

A fine ride, cool but not cold, hilly but not silly and lovely bright sunshine all day. Good company too 😁