Ride from Boot & Shoe to Settle on 25 July 2019

Hot or Wot?? Arriving at the start, I was wondering if anyone else would turn up, due to, once again, the unsuitable weather forecast. But wait, there was no rain, just clear blue sky and a great deal of extremely hot sunshine, even as early as 9.15am. There were 9 of us defying the forecast. Having heard of the proposed top dressing of the road along the intended route via Jubilee Tower, I had planned instead to take the familiar route through the university and onto Galgate. We took this route and continued past 5 lane ends and onto the crossroads by the Fleece Inn where we took the left turn to Dolphinholme and onto Abbeystead. We passed through Abbeystead and joined the originally planned route towards the Trough of Bowland. As we got higher, although a tough ascent, we benefitted from a slightly cooler, stronger breeze as we approached the summit. As we took the descent, we created our own cooling breeze, and when we arrived at Dunsop Bridge, it wasn’t until we stopped for refreshments that we realised how hot it had become. We were well attended at Puddleducks where we were well served by the whole family, although sitting outside with the sun beating down probably wasn’t the best idea of the day. Having replenished our water bottles, we started the second section of the journey through Newton and Slaidburn as the terrain ‘undulated’ beneath us. Onto Tosside and Wigglesworth, where we took the left turn to Rathmell and onto Settle, where several lunch options were taken, sandwiches, chips, salad, even ice cream! That is, of course, not by one rider, but between us! By the time we had taken our lunch break, the heat was now almost unbearable, and we were extremely glad to get going so we could create our own breeze, although at this stage Mike decided that the train home was the best option for him, fearing that he was ‘overheating’. We took the road through Langcliffe and Stainforth and took the left turn at Helwith Bridge towards Austwick. Pausing in Austwick for more refreshments, it was decided, given the continuing heatwave, that the best bet now was to take the shortest way home, and not sample the delights of Ingleton. Keasden, Mewith Head and onto our ‘much loved’ Mewith Lane was now the chosen route, and we made good time as far as Wray where some of us stopped for further refreshments and the rest made for home. Just under 5000ft of ascent and almost 68 miles on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year, and possibly the hottest day ever recorded in the country, may not have been the best idea ever, but it made a change from avoiding the showers and wearing wet weather gear in Summer, and we did all survive the ‘swelterations’.

Neil Westwell.