Kirkby Stephen to Hebden Bridge

On this holiday you'll be exploring approximately 160 km of the northern section of the trail from the Cumbrian market town of Kirkby Stephen through the heart of the spectacular Yorkshire Dales to finish in Hebden Bridge. You'll be treated to three full days of cross country mountain biking over a variety of sometimes quite challenging mountain bike terrain.

The Pennine Bridleway is the longest continuous off-road biking route in the UK. This fantastic itinerary offers you the opportunity to explore ancient packhorse routes, drovers’ roads and bridleways. It’s a classic British mountain bike adventure across the spectacular terrain of the scenic Pennines. The holiday offers many challenges from both the physical and technical aspects of the riding. Terrain is typical of the region, characterised by large stretches of remote open moorland. The route is virtually all offroad, with thrilling technical descents, fast swooping grassy downhills, long hardpack ascents and just a few cheeky climbs to test the legs. The trails are sometimes rocky singletrack, other times more flowing grassy bridleways.

Saddle Skedaddle are the world’s leading cycling holiday specialist and their team of experts are passionate about getting as many of you as possible pedalling the globe. With over 25 years of experience, they know what it takes to bring you an experience you’ll never forget. What’s more is they are based right here in the UK, with their friendly HQ office located on the quayside in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Tour Overview

The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.

Distance

160

Days

3

Grade

Challenging

Theme

Connecting villages and towns / High hills and moorland

Landscape Type

History / Wildlife

Kirkby Stephen to Hebden Bridge

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Tour Details

The team at Saddle Skedaddle have been travelling the world on bikes for more than 20 years and what inspired them all those years ago still inspires them today. That travel should move you and that there is no better way to meet a place properly – its people, its culture, its natural wonders – than by bike.

What can you expect from Saddle Skedaddle…
With so much local knowledge they have a large UK cycling holiday range, with something for everyone. From more challenging mountain biking and road cycling holidays, to iconic place to place rides for the every leisure rider, such as Hadrian’s Cycleway and the legendary C2C. En route, they’ll look after everything, from luggage transfers to accommodation and your daily routes, so all you have to do is enjoy the ride.

Skedaddle guided trips have at least two guides, and support staff as appropriate. What places Skedaddle guides head and shoulders above other cycle guides is their focus on providing a great cycling experience and excellent customer service; from the very start to the very end of your holiday, you’ll be in safe hands. Their guides take care of all of the daily planning and organisation, leaving you free to get on your bike and enjoy the ride. Working with MIAS, an internationally recognised guiding award scheme, Skedaddle developed its own in-house training programme that combines the best of cycling skills development with their approach to customer service, providing you with the perfect cycling holiday.

But don’t take our word for it …
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Skedaddle to friends. The organisation of the trip from start to finish was excellent. Having next to no cycling experience and never having done a cycling holiday before I was apprehensive and unsure whether this would be for me. I needn’t have worried I enjoyed the experience and am already looking forward to next year’s trip.” Katherine

A wonderful holiday! The organisation from the office end and by the guides on the trip itself was as good as we have always come to expect from Skedaddle. Initially the cost seems high, but the standard of accommodation was very good, the catering by Skedaddle was excellent, and having all the worry of organising accommodation and baggage handling taken away from us was priceless.” Teresa

Itinerary

Arrival day - Kendal

Tonight we arrive in Kendal for a chance to get to know your guides and your fellow riders, and to understand what the next few days have in store. Kendal has excellent train connections and motorway access.

Day 1 - Kirkby Stephen to Austwick

After breakfast we load up for the transfer (40 min) to Kirkby Stephen. Today’s ride is largely within the spectacular Yorkshire Dales National Park with is iconic limestone scenery, stone-built villages and drystone walls. It’s also home to some of the UK’s best mountain biking as we explore its remote moorland trails.

The riding starts with an easy warm-up alongside the river Eden to Pendragon Castle. We’re soon heading off into the Yorkshire Dales on a long steady climb onto the moortops where we have the first of many fantastic views through the dales and across to the iconic Carlisle to Settle railway. Much of the day we will follow the route of the railway past the Ribblehead Viaduct.

We follow an old road, now moorland bridletrack, for 5 miles, crossing countless streams before a wonderful flowing grassy descent down towards Garsdale station and our first break. Once refreshed we have a short steep road climb before we head back off-road on the locally famous Cam High Road following an old Roman Road to Cam End and a view across the valley to the Ribblehead Viaduct. We then have one more section of undulating bridleway tour final stop near Old-Ing.

After crossing the River Ribble on a beautiful wooden bridge we climb and work our way round the base of Ingleborough, one of Yorkshires ‘3 peaks‘, to our penultimate and probably most technical descent of the day down Long Lane Track. There is one more cheeky climb before our final rolling descent into Austwick and our accommodation.

37 miles / 60km 

Day 2 - Austwick to Kelbrook

After a hearty breakfast we have a short warm-up cycling back through Austwick and on to Feizor before a quick up & over Swarth Moor to the village of Stainforth and an early morning convenience stop.

With just a few warm-up miles in the legs we tackle arguably the toughest climb of the holiday, however the effort will be short lived and the rewards will be worth it. Weather permitting we’ll have a morning break high on the hillside with panoramic views across the Dales. Afterwards we follow a good track through an open grassy hillside and onto a nice gravel tack to complete our descent into Settle.

We have another short road climb out of Settle before joining a hardpack moorland double track which takes us up and over to the village of Long Preston.

The dramatic Dales now more or less behind us we spend the rest of the morning rolling through pretty undulating pastureland. We still manage to pick-up some tasty tracks as we pass through Gisburn Park and on into Lancashire. After lunch the scenery will change yet again as we head into the Northern Pennine hills. Our final cheeky climb for the day up Weets hill on the Pendle way (watch out for witches) will test those tired legs. The reward comes in the form of a long sometimes rough track down towards Barnoldswick – the home of Hope cycle components. We then have just a few more small tracks over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and on to this evening’s accommodation in Kelbrook.

37 miles / 60km 

Day 3 - Kelbrook to Hebden Bridge

Our third day’s riding is through the heart of the Lancashire Pennine hills. The scenery is perhaps less dramatic and more rugged, but the quality of the riding doesn’t change. Again we spend most of the day off-road on cleverly sculpted tracks, some of it purpose built for the Pennine Bridleway. After a few hours of good quality riding we find ourselves nestled deep in the valley at Wycoller County Park where we can take a morning break and snap a few photos by the many river crossing in this beautiful hidden gem.

After a break we have a steady climb on good sociable double track back into the hills. The good fun tracks don’t stop as we head over to our lunch stop above Thursden Valley.

After lunch we head down through Thursden Wood on a lovely loamy, switch-backed singletrack which is sure to make you smile. Unfortunately, the smile may be short lived when you see that what goes down must go back up in equal measures. A singletrack moorland track will help restore the spirit and possibly inject a little adrenaline as we head back down on more purpose-built tracks. After one steadier climb and flowing descent we meet up with the van for our final afternoon break.

With just 6 miles to go now we can almost smell the coffee & visualise the array of cakes to reward our efforts. But before then we need to work our way past the Gorple Reservoir to pick up our final section of quality cross-country singletrack and a long fast descent into Hebden Bridge to celebrate.

Those travelling by train can depart from Hebden Bridge into Manchester for onward connections. Or you may decide to spend an extra night relaxing & dining in Hebden Bridge before departing. Otherwise we need to transfer for 2 hours back to Kendal to collect cars for the onwards journey.

25 miles / 41km 

Accommodation

Saddle Skedaddle use small, good quality 3 or 4 star hotels, B&Bs, inns and small family-run hotels. Their trips are operated on a twin-share basis but single rooms can be provided, subject to availability, for a supplement if requested at the time of booking.

This tour includes 3 nights B&B on a twin share basis with breakfast and lunch provided.

 

 

Travel

If you decide to drive to the start point of the trip Saddle Skedaddle will provide you with full directions to the accommodation or meeting point. They will also be able to advise about parking arrangements / options for the duration of your holiday. If you would prefer to catch the train or intend on flying, SaddleSkedaddle will be happy to discuss the best options with you.

If travelling by air the vast majority of airlines will charge you to transport your bike and it will also need to be properly packaged for transport. Please contact your airline for specific details.

If travelling by train, the majority of rail operators will carry your bike free of charge. Spaces are often limited but can sometimes be booked in advance. For further information specific to your journey please visit the National Rail website.

Advice

This tour includes:

  • 3 nights B&B (twin share basis)
  • Breakfast and lunch provided
  • 3 days biking
  • Guided & vehicle support
  • Snacks & hot/cold drinks provided
  • Free train station collection

Much of the cycling takes place on the rugged moorland that is characteristic of the area, with sweeping vistas of remote countryside. The terrain is very varied, but you will encounter natural singletrack, bridleways, vehicle-width tracks and some technical climbs and descents. The trails can be rocky and loose in places. A good level of fitness and bike handling skills is required to get the best out of the trip.

This tour is rated as Challenging by Saddle Skedaddle and is for regular mountain bikers who have a good level of fitness. You will encounter frequent moderate to difficult technical sections with distances of 25-37 miles / 41-60 kms per day.

At strategic points (where access allows), you have the security of a support vehicle. In the vehicle there will be some space for tired bikers, allowing the chance of a well-earned break if needed. You will also be able to leave extra gear or spare kit here during the day meaning there is no need to carry any equipment other than that you would carry on a normal day ride.

Food & Drink

This particular trip includes both breakfast and lunch. The accommodation that Saddle Skedaddle use usually offers a choice between a cooked breakfast, cereals and lighter options to fuel a day in the saddle. Lunches out eaten out on the route, with our guides preparing great buffet-style picnics made up of plenty of locally sourced produce. Although evening meals aren’t included in the price, Saddle Skedaddle do reserve a table for the group for dinner allowing for a post-ride get together.

Vegetarians and people with specific dietary requirements can be catered for – please indicate at the time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.

 

Maps, Guidebooks and Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.

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