South Lakes Group

Your Local off-road cycle touring club

For cyclists who love off-road leisure cycling in the South Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales

Part of the ‘Where’s the Brew stop? The off-road cycle touring website’ The site about off-road cycle touring routes, cyclist’s cafes, local group events, the South Lakes Group and good photos

16th March 2014: A ride around Bleasdale

The cake photo at the Apple Tree Store Cafe where the ride started from.

Getting ready to set off from the cafe.

The Brook Saddle on John’s bike.

Looking back down bridleway up Grize Dale.

Following the bridleway pass Fell End Farm.

Following the bridleway up to Grizedale Bridge

A tree at side of the track.

At end of the bridleway at Grizedale Bridge.

A map of permissive bridleway from Delph Wood to Tootle Hall.

A seat at side of the bridleway.

Farm buildings at Lower Core.

A farm building at Cold Coates

The view of the church in Chipping.

Trees at side of the road.

This guy was on wall at side of Wickins Lane End.

The cake photo at the Tearoom at Cobble Hey Farm and Garden.

Spring flowers at side of Eidsforth Lane.

The view looking up Grize Dale.

Comment on the ride by Simeon Orme

Yes the ride broke up at our lunch spot in Chipping, this was down to weather conditions and how folk were feeling in my case recovering from a cold. We did do three tracks in morning getting to Chipping, including one that I never done before and I will let John tell you all about it in his ride report!

I think club cycling about the enjoyment of the ride and the company of other riders on the ride, stopping to look at view, I can’t think of another sport where everyone is treated the same weather you high flying city banker or just golf greenskeeper like me it does matter because most cyclist’s are not interest want others do during week, it does not really matter come day of the club ride in the case  South Lakes Group rides this is on a Sunday, they looking for interesting route, with good views, a few good cafe stops and some good company on the ride for next several hours.  What most club cyclist’s respect is ride leader that can deliver this, John is good ride leader in the making and it was only is second ride that he as led and in few years time folk will be talking about going cycling with John and everyone will know who you talking about, I must admit that I was disappointed with turnout on the ride with starting point in deepest North Lancashire with third of the RSF membership living within hour driving distance of the starting point at the Apple Tree Store Cafe, maybe it was poor weather forecast but that really is poor excuse as the cakes at the cafe are excellent, you could have come to start for chat and then rode with the group for a bit then headed off to do your own thing, anyway I hope there a better turnout of more than three members for John’s next ride over Salter Fell road on 30th March starting from Bridge House Farm Tearooms in Wray,  as he becoming the RSF resident expert on this route.

Any way once I left the others in Chipping, I followed the lanes back to Scorton with cafe stop at the tearoom at Cobble Hey Farrm and Gardens which was new cafe for me.

Ride report by John Gilbert

The Wyresdale estate café only opened to the public a couple of years ago so it’s still a bit of a novelty. The garden is big, walled, full of trees and flowers and a bit dilapidated. Sitting on a bench in the cold sunlight it reminds me  of a graveyard with the old tree stumps, wheel barrows and box hedges arranged like headstones in an old  churchyard.

I’m sitting huddled and drinking my coffee, enjoying the smell and warmth of the mug when Simeon arrives. He nods and pushes his bike straight past me to the café door indicating that he’s going  inside. Simeon’s leadership is practical and demonstrated rather than theoretical and supposed.  I follow him in and we’re soon joined by Norman. It’s my second time leading the group and the cast is the same as the first one last spring – only Simeon and Norman ever come on my rides.

The route is a bit vague – ‘Around Bleasdale’ it says on the website and this is because I don’t really know where we’re going. Out of the café we’re soon into the bridlepath which gently climbs up Grizedale valley. It’s a bit rough here and there, but it’s a well-used thoroughfare and plenty of horses, bikes and walkers have smoothed the way over centuries as they continue to do this morning. We bump and jiggle our way over the cobbles until the track smooths out and we move onto the grassy and boggy section of the route that leads to the tarmac road at Harrisend fell. I’ve put drop bars on my fixie and can’t get quite the leverage that I could with the old sit-up-and-beg setup so I struggle a bit in the mud. Simeon’s narrow tyres let him slip through easily and Norman kind of floats over it and both are experts in gear-management.

The drizzle settles in and heavy  grey clouds close ranks to squeeze out the last brave patches of blue in the sky. Three abreast, we climb steadily to the oddly-named Stang Yule and small streams run  down towards us on either side of the road. The ride has already become a late-winter rather than an early-spring outing. We have to stop at the top of the hill to check the map because the bridlepath  isn’t marked on OS  but it is on Harvey’s map.  We’re up at about  1000 feet and the South-Westerly uninterrupted from the Irish sea accelerates through us on its way into the Pennines.  Simeon’s old map is all over the place in the wind and he looks as if he’s  grappling with a seagull.

We slip through a thin line of trees and are grateful for the long grassy downhill through Broadway farm and down to the Brock valley. There’s an Equestrian place round here and the bridleway is  well-drained,  frequently-gated and pleasant to ride on and we’re soon into the little village of Chipping. The drizzle is now steady rain but we cheer up when Simeon tells us he knows of a great place to stop for lunch.  It’s a bus shelter.  A modern one made of Perspex with sort of seats you sort of perch on so you can’t quite take the weight off your legs and it has all the modern trappings; cigarette butts, beer cans and graffiti.  It shields us from the wind, though, and becomes companiable enough as we work through lunch. Leaning on my seat-thing, I’m almost comfortable.

The elements conspire as we linger over dessert and no-one is keen to continue.  I decide, relishing my leadership role, that I musn’t  concede to the weather and announce a plan to continue the loop and return by the Trough of Bowland road. It’ll be  bleak, steep and in today’s weather, a wind-tunnel. Simeon coughs and explains he’s returning the way we came, Norman explains he did the Trough-road-route yesterday and is  going to vary his route home. Fair enough, I hate goodbyes, even little temporary ones like this, so I mount up and with a couple of spins on the pedals, I’m committed to my plan, grateful for the inertia of the fixed-gear which allows no hesitation.


It’s good to be moving again and the air smells fresh, washed by the rain – not so good to be alone, but as Oscar Wilde said ‘Cycling and melancholy are incompatible’. There’s a strange magic in the rain and the remoteness of the ancient bridlepaths of  Bowland and I’m soon soothed by nature and the  constant cadence of fixed-gear progress.

In this semi-dream state I pass happy miles and soon find myself at the bottom of the last big climb contentedly resigned to a bit of bike-pushing. Cleats clack cold on the road when I notice something unusual; it’s an incongruous splash of colour against the drab camouflage of the fell. I wander a bit closer and feel a little flip in my stomach as I recognise the bright red Ironman Triathlon logo of a new cycling jersey. I’m initially amazed that anyone could possibly lose one of these, since they are only awarded to those who complete the Ironman – you can’t buy them with money. My own, from years back, is never worn and kept ridiculously safe.

Then I understand. There are some flowers, an inscription from a friend. The steepness of the road and the sharp bend at the bottom tell the rest of the story. I feel the cold, the gentlest patter of the raindrops and the smell of the earth.  It could happen to any of us. It’s cycling’s spectre. Maybe Oscar Wilde was wrong.

It seems a long walk up the Trough Road, the last few hundred yards colder in the mist. A roadie zips past and swoops down - all maniacal grin and whirring derailleur.  At the top I hadn’t realised how sheltered from the wind I’d been, but I do now and only a strong effort spares me the ignominy of having to get off and push the bike downhill.

As altitude drops, so the wind and soon I’m rolling along the lanes back into that gusting  South- Westerly. Grateful for the drop bars and crouched in my cockpit, for the second time today, I’m almost comfortable. Strangely moreso, when I think Simeon and Norman must also be facing similar conditions – I suppose that’s Fellowship; when you don’t have to actually physically be together to appreciate shared experience.

Back at the shed, I lock up my bike and go in and put the kettle on; Oscar was right.  

You can click here to download  GPS route files of the route.To find out where we going next checkout forthcoming events page and don’t forget to post comment on our forum. Also checkout the What’s New Page to see what’s new on the site and you can also signup for site’s free weekly newsletter. You may find more photos taken on this ride by other members posted up on the South Lakes Flickr Group.

Click here to see ride photos of  23rd March ride of the South Lakes Group to Woodland Fell or  click here to check out other photo galleries on the ‘Where’s the Brew Stop?’ Websites

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