Any navigation around Ilkley is buggered due to the large number of paths in existence; nose-following seemed the best plan which eventually got me to the Cow and Calf rocks.
On over paved pathways to the peak at the trig point, then after visiting some stanza stones and a cross, lunch in the shelter of a wall. For a brief moment I thought I had seen a very hardy chicken, but on later examination of the bird book it was revealed to be a red grouse. There were quite a few of them about, strutting their stuff.
There used to be a Keighley to Ilkley road, no longer passable by traffic but a few cars had stopped at the top…and some scrote had dumped building rubble in a lay-by. Which part of someone’s brain thinks that driving up to a viewpoint is the best way to offload some crap? Drive to the dump, how much more work is that?
The final stretch followed a great path through a quite different landscape down a glen alongside Bradup Beck. It would have been more peaceful without the clay pigeon shoot.
Rombald’s Moor: Marilyn, HuMP; 402 m/1319 ft
Start Ilkley train station, finish Crossflats train station
The first audax of the year, and I think the first time I’ve ridden this bike since the last one, which is quite shocking.
Sun, more hills than I was expecting, puncture, shattered.
102 km, 7 hours 38 minutes
As I had been out of the saddle for a while I thought a short audax was a good idea; 80 km is the shortest one I have done so far. This was a brilliant route on a clear day – as this one was – starting by going past The Wrekin, then south west parallel to Wenlock Edge which was covered in colourful trees. The first control, Jessamine Cottage, was a cafe run from a very large shed. Presumably they have a long-standing relationship with the local organiser, as coffee and cake here was included in the £6 entrance fee (as was food at the start and end, it was excellent value!).
The second control was at Acton Scott farm, which appears to be a working museum, though obviously there wasn’t time for a look around. I got lucky and joined the queue just before hoards of hungry cyclists – at least one of the longer rides was stopping here at around the same time.
The final leg was the longest (not by much) and included the highest point but was also wind-assisted, past Hope Bowlder Hill. Due to the relatively short distance and good turnout I think I was in view of others nearly all the time. I rode with one chap on and off on the middle section, I think he knew vaguely where he was going so had a route map and very well used OS map in his pocket, and was supplementing these by following people when they were available (and I think I provided a bit of a wind shield for a while, he was obviously an old hand at group riding and quite happy right up behind others peoples wheels, whereas it scares me and I keep my distance). For the final stretch I was just behind a couple of others; I don’t think I’ve actually finished with people before, so it was quite nice.
It’s been too long…but I was pleased that I didn’t have to walk up any hills and wasn’t destroyed by the end, I felt strong and I could have gone further, so a few months off haven’t done any damage. Also I think the spinning classes, whilst being from the devil, are excellent training. Part of me thinks it’s daft to drive 60 miles each way to cycle 50, but audax riding gives me such a buzz that, ironically, it’s not about numbers.
51 miles, 5 hours 18 mins