The Beast Sunday September 8

While many of the Club were enjoying themselves on a weekend away, a few members joined with over 500 other cyclists to take part in this ride. It was a beautiful day with little wind but a bit chilly at the start. It soon warmed up though but never got unbearably hot during the day.

Starting a Sniperley Park and Ride in Durham, it went west along the A691 (mercifully closed to other traffic for the start) before turning of at Witton Gilbert to ascend Charlaw Fell. It then went through Burnhope towards the Maiden Law cross roads and on towards Stony Heap. However the route then descended the long hill towards Moorside before turning right and then left to ascend the steep hill into Iveston where spectators were gathering to witness and photograph.

Then on to the A691 and across it to travel towards Delves Lane. This again was a long descent followed by a steady climb. A loop was then put in to include Knitsley and go towards Rowley before returning to the Delves Lane road, a few hundred meters from where we left it. Then another steady climb before taking the roads around East and West Butsfield and on to Satley.

From Satley the route went down the valley, then back up again before taking the road to Inkerman near Tow Law. Over the A68 and we took the roads towards Wolsingham but turned back towards Tow Law before the big bank down to Wolsingham. After a short distance, a right turn took us down a long narrow hill, then of course that was followed by a longer climb to take us back to Tow Law where refreshments were available – plus again the photographer.

Then it was a nice steady ride through the wind farm until we came to the East Hedleyhope turn off. This led to another big descent to East Hedleyhope and then on to Waterhouses before turning to go up the steep, 15% bank to Ivesley. A good test of the legs at this stage of the ride.

After Ivesley, we turned left to take us back towards Tow Law before turning right to go the the Hedleyhope Nature Reserve and another long descent. The climb back up to Cornsay was long but steady before we again turned off the “main” road to follow another long steep hill to Partridge Close. Then of course the route climbed again to Click-em-Inn Farm, mostly steady but with a nasty click at the end, especially at this stage of the ride. Then through Wilks Hill and Quebec before the steady climb up to Esh, down and up again to the former Priests College. Now the climbing was in reality over as the route descends through Bear Park and a short climb up to the A167. Then back to Sniperley.

Just under 50 miles, this is an exacting route. The number of hills, and the length and steepness of some of them, means that it is aptly called “The Beast”. But what an excellent day out along some of west Durhams beautiful little lanes. Well worth thinking about again!

Richard posted at 2013-9-8 Category: Sunday Rides