I THOUGHT I’d better do something more strenuous for my July article. It was a nice sunny day, after all. There’s a lot of uphill work, but most of it long and gradual rather than short and steep.

We also get to 418 metres altitude, from a start in Kirkbymoorside at 60 metres or thereabouts.

The National Park website tells me that the highest point on the North Yorks Moors is Round Hill on Urra Moor (East of Bilsdale) at 454 metres, but that’s territory for walkers only. I’ll stick my neck out and say that if you follow today’s route by bike you’ll traverse the highest metalled roads on the moors.

Start in Kirkbymoorside Market Place. If you do this ride on a Wednesday, as I did, you get all the atmosphere of an actual market. I managed to squeeze into a spare corner of Bridget’s cafe on West End, for one of their substantial bacon sandwiches to set me up for the day.

From the Market Place head slightly downhill towards the main A170, but before actually leaving the market place, look for a narrow turning on the left, Howe End, and take this for a quieter way out of town.

Join the main A170 (left) for a few yards, before taking a side road (left again), signed Keldholme Only. The sign is not to be taken literally, but it does mean that the next quarter mile is nice and quiet, before turning left again at a T-junction, to follow the sign for Hutton-le-Hole.

Climb gently for two miles, then drop into the village, watching out for the black sheep that wander at will. There’s another cafe on the right here, if you’ve not already stopped off in Kirkbymoorside.

Pass the pub and bear right at a sign for Lastingham. Pass the village car park and toilets on right, over a cattle grid, then left at sign for Rosedale Bank Top.

The first serious climb, Spaunton Moor, starts here, and it’s uphill for about three miles to the top of Chimney Bank. Older cyclists, including me, will remember the actual chimney, a leftover from the ironstone industry, that gave the location its name.

The chimney formed part of the kilns, where the iron ore was calcined (or roasted) to burn off waste, before then being transported by rail to Teesside. The mines eventually closed in 1926, and the 100 foot high chimney was demolished in July 1972.

At the top of Chimney Bank, note the big blue warning sign, which, among other things, advises cyclists to dismount. It had been a long time since I’d ridden down this hill.

Warning signs didn’t exist, back in the day. So I proceeded with caution at about 10mph. I was soon reminded that the gradient gets steeper as you progress down.

So while under control at first, I have to be honest and say that by the time I reached the two hairpin bends, the anchors were full on, and I couldn’t have stopped even if I’d tried. Fortunately, the road was quiet and I didn’t meet any cars coming up in the opposite direction. So one for experienced confident cyclists only, and I’ll have to endorse the walking option.

Just past the hairpins, you’ll find the White Horse Farm Inn on the right. Feeling a bit wobbly after my exciting descent, I popped in for a pint of Theakstons Best. The pub faces north, across the valley, and I enjoyed a quiet sit down, and a view of Rosedale Moor beyond.

I’d jotted the name of the pub in my notebook, but omitted the word Farm. When a tractor and laden trailer passed though the pub car park, I had to acknowledge that yes; a farm does share this entrance, and I quickly corrected my omission.

Before I left, a chap at the bar asked where I’d cycled from and where I was going next. When I replied that I was taking the Castleton road, he told me that it was closed just outside the village as drains were being replaced.

There isn’t a convenient alternative if you are not motorised. I remembered Robert Louis Stevenson’s words “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”.

With heart rate back at normal, I continued down the last few yards of Chimney Bank to an odd shaped junction. Take the first exit left, to pass an entrance to a camp site and phone box, both on your left. This takes you through the main part of the village. Bear right, to pass between the village school on your left and the village shop cum cafe on the right.

There’s a small village green with seating that was much in demand. At a cross road, go left signed for Castleton. There are public toilets here if you need them. Then I passed the first Road Closed sign. I continued optimistically. Half a mile outside the village, the main route curves right, where a smaller road continues straight ahead.

We are not heading down there today, but this leads to a smaller mining community, School Row and Hill Cottages, collectively known as Rosedale East. So keep right at this fork, and begin the next major climb, up onto Rosedale Moor. I’d not gone far when I found out just how closed the road really was.

A digger and lorry filled the left hand side. The road surface from the right hand side was now in the back of the lorry.

So thanks to the stalwarts of North Yorkshire County Council for halting their digger while I crept by on the grass verge. Back in the saddle, I had the road entirely to myself for nearly four miles.

Reaching the top of the climb, I paused by the 14 per cent warning sign, to take in the silence, broken only by the lapwings who tried to distract me from their nests hidden in the moorland grass. I could only see Cottongrass (Bog Cotton), but the antics of the birds alerted me that the nests, and possibly young ones, would be not too far away.

Follow the road, now level, around the head of the dale, before tuning left at the isolated T-junction, signed back towards Kirkbymoorside. In just over a mile, the Lion Inn provides another opportunity for refreshment.

Begin the long descent of Blakey Ridge and in another five miles, ignore a junction, right, signed for Farndale, but use this as a marker to start looking for the next right, signed Gillamoor.

Turn here to drop down to the hamlet of Lowna, then climb steeply into Gillamoor. Pause at the top to take in the view back across to Blakey Ridge. Bear left at the Royal Oak, for the final two miles back into Kirkbymoorside.

Details of the ride

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The map: Ordnance Survey Landranger No.94, Whitby & Esk Dale

The cafe: Bridget’s, 2 West End, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 6AF. Tel: 01751 433301

The pub(s): White Horse Farm Inn, Rosedale Tel. 01751 417239 and Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge, Kirkbymoorside, YO62 7LQ. Tel. 01751 417320

The bike: 2016 Dolan Preffisio

Distance: 25 miles

Car parking: Town Farm, Kirkbymoorside,YO62 6AT (behind the Kings Head Hotel on High Market Place) £5 for six hours