To qualify as a true Dales classic, a route needs to wend its way up onto a bleak, heather-clad moor; sneak unseen between endless miles of drystone walls; drop sweetly on a cocktail of rough and rocky rubble, interspersed with wheel-gobbling bogs, and then, of course, repeat this formula ad infinitum, until a poor unsuspecting mtb’er cries “no more” and ducks into the first available tea shop. You’ll be pleased to know that this route easily makes the grade.
The early climbing is on tarmac — useful for a warm-up, but you wouldn’t want too much of it. Dirt takes over and the leap onto Threshfield Moor is quickly behind you. A man-made trail makes easy work of the moor crossing — no complaints here, this one used to be horrible. Before you know it, you’re back on tarmac for a few minutes — make the most of the chance to catch your breath.
The day’s toughest climb leads onto Weets Top, where another smooth trail speeds you easily across the high point of the ride — great berm. It’s a long way down from here, but there’s no time for relaxing — far too many boggy holes for that. Hetton Common Beck marks the turning point, and a long pull on another gravelly track gains Moor Lane, for a die-straight drop into Hetton.
There’s a tea shop option in Cracoe, but this drags you off line. Better to stay with the route and grit your teeth for a final climb onto Boss Moor. The drop from Eller Beck is fun — full marks if you avoid footing at all — and the last lane to Linton will leave you smiling all the way to Grassington and its cafés.