Wetherby – Skipton, Thursday 24th August 2023, 72 miles

Skipton via Silsden was the advertised route and 9 Wheelers duly assembled at The Shambles (Graham, Mike, Phil, Sean, Shaun, Steve, Bill, Pete and me).  The expectation was to pick up further riders en route at the first coffee stop (Corner Cup in Bramhope).

Conditions were dry and reasonably humid under low grey cloud as we made our way through Linton, Collingham, up Jewitt Lane and across Scarcroft Golf Club via Syke Lane.  By now there was light drizzle, but it had cleared by the time we got through Alwoodley and across to Bramhope where Cathy, Geoff and Dennis were already waiting.

After refuelling and a brief ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ appearance by Greg C, Bill and Sean left the main group to return early, and the remaining 10 headed up through Bramhope, up Old Ln towards the Chevin, but then dropped down into Guiseley before heading up through Hawksworth and onto the Bingley Road. Airedale views opened up as we passed Dick Hudsons and dropped steeply into East Morton, before more climbing led up to West Morton, riding into a mild headwind and persistent drizzly rain drifting down the valley.

More steep descending on greasy roads into Silsden, where Steve bade us farewell to head back whilst the main group continued to head West, past Kildwick Hall and down into the valley bottom which was now dry.  We crossed the main Keighley Road at Farnhill, Geoff heading straight for Skipton and the lunch stop whilst the rest of us had a brief level-crossing-delayed extra loop via Cononley and a couple more hills before heading into busy Skipton and lunch at the Coffee Mill café tucked away behind the High Street.

With time ticking on after lunch, we took the main road past Chelker Reservoir back to Addingham, and then the back roads to Askwith (keep it in the big chainring J) where Dennis, Cathy and Geoff said goodbye and headed up the hill. At Otley Pete headed home leaving 5 of us to climb over Farnley as the weather was showing signs of a lovely evening ahead. After Kirby Overflow, Shaun headed down Kearby Cliff to make his way home, and Phil, Graham Mike and I continued to Wetherby. 72 miles for the round trip, with over 5000ft of climbing despite no big set piece climbs.

Tim