Day 5

Dent to Barnoldswick

After a good breakfast at the Sun Inn (only 3 guests and two of them missed breakfast to cycle to the train station), I started on the gradual climb from Dent up Deepdale. A nice, really quiet road but one that continues to get steeper and steeper with gradients of 15-17% near the top (after 4 miles).

After spending an hour getting up the first 4 miles of hill to reach 1500ft , there was the reward of perhaps the best downhill of the whole trip down to Ingleton. From the photos, you can see it was beautiful weather again. Route goes down the river valley on straightish roads with very little traffic and wide open views across the river and the limestone rocks.

Stop for coffee in Ingleton after a tour of the town trying to find the recommended cafe (which had closed down). Visited the upstairs cafe at the climbing shop which was okay – good value, very few customers on a Monday morning.

Up again to 850ft and another good downhill through Clapham (15 miles) on reasonable quality tarmac back roads. You briefly meet the busy A65 after 16 miles but there is a separated cycle route so no issues with traffic.

Through Austwick and once more up and down some hills.

Met a bull on top of a cliff surveying his domain. Chose not to enter the field.

Reached Settle after 24 miles which made a good stopping point for lunch as it offers a wide choice of cafes and a few pubs. I visited the Olde Naked Man Cafe for takeaway sandwich and milkshake which can be eaten outside by the market place.

If staying in Settle I can recommend Matteo’s Italian restaurant which, whilst quirky, offers good quality food in large helpings with reasonable prices and a friendly owner.

There is also a bike shop (and bike hire – £50 per day for an ebike!) on the market place and close by is another pub that is recommended – The Craven Arms by Giggleswick station – very good quality food but not cheap.

After lunch it was time to tackle the second stupid hill of the day – the climb up out of Settle. Shortly after starting the less steep section near the bottom I was wished “Good luck” by a passer-by so had some idea of what to expect. Another long pushing section! Beautiful views back over Settle though from the top.

Yet another great, quiet, scenic and well surfaced moorland road as the route climbs up to about 1300ft and then about 8 miles of downhill to meet the Leeds Liverpool canal near Gargrave.

By this time I was well ahead of schedule and had the taste for a nice pint in a scenic pub alongside the canal. I was willing to travel a few extra miles to find the right place but couldn’t find anywhere that was open. This should have given me a warning about Barnoldswick and the local area!

The last part of the route into Barnoldswick was along the canal tow path which made a nice change from the day of ups and downs. Reached my accommodation about 5pm after a quick tour around the town.

I’m sure Barnoldswick is a nice enough place for those who live there but it isn’t a well known holiday destination and I don’t think it’s likely to become one soon. Living in Derby a lot of other Derby residents know it as it has a huge Rolls Royce plant. It reminded me of Swadlincote – nothing particularly wrong with the place but hard to see why anyone would bother to visit.

My accommodation was an AirBnB “room in a house” and it was exactly as described. No extras but a bed in a room in a terraced house with shared bathroom at a good price. The host was friendly and I could park my bike in his yard. He explained how the kitchen worked, where I could help myself to breakfast and left me to it. I showered and headed out to see the sights of Barnoldswick.

This didn’t take long. It was Monday evening and most places were shut so I finished up buying a takeaway Chinese (mediocre) and ate it in the Square. By now I was somewhat fed up with the town but, luckily, I had seen that a local pub had free music on Monday nights so called in to check it out. An excellent decision!

McCullough’s Bar is associated with the Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre (I never did work out which was which) and they regularly have music nights with some of them free. The beer was good – Flat Cap from Bank Top brewery.

The music started with various Smokie songs – the famous Bradford based band most popular in the 1970s. The landlord and the rest of the band seemed to have been associated with Smokie (maybe were part of it?) at some time – I was unable to follow the local accent sufficiently well to get the full story. Certainly they played the songs exactly as I remember them. The most famous, “Living next door to Alice” was the encore – apparently it is not good form to join in with the Roy “Chubby” Brown version of the chorus.

The Smokie band was support to the Starlite Campbell Band who were very different but also very competent. A grand night out which was especially good given how disappointed I had been with the town earlier.

Along with nearly every other town in the north of England, the town’s name is not pronounced as you would expect. If you want to appear as a local, Barnoldswick is pronounced “bar-lick”.

Day 6