EMBOLDENED by my high altitude ride on the North Yorks Moors last month, (Rosedale Head at 418 metres) I thought I’d seek to improve on that and do a ride taking in one of the highest roads in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The award of highest road goes to Fleet Moss, at 589 metres, and linking Wensleydale with Upper Wharfedale.

I’ve gone slightly lower, with a route that takes in Tan Hill, and peaking out at 536 metres. Quite sufficient though, I can assure you.

I’ve titled this month’s ride as being Crackpot. Is this because of the height climbed? Read on to find out.

We start in Reeth, North Yorkshire, which is about 60 miles drive from Malton. So feel free to make a weekend out of this by staying at one of the many B&Bs in Reeth.

Alternatively, budget accommodation may be found (just off the route) at Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel, yha.org.uk/hostel/grinton-lodge or at Dales Bike Centre, which lies between the two both geographically and in price.

From Reeth Green, head north on the Arkengarthdale road, (signed for Langthwaite) with The Buck Hotel on your left and public toilets on right. Also marked as Sustrans route 71.

Now don’t worry too much at this point, but it’s some 11 miles to the top of this climb up Arkengarthdale. So pace yourself and climb gently out of Reeth.

Some respite comes with a 13 per cent descent into Langthwaite.

Resist the lure of the Red Lion, down to the right, unless you happen to be a fan of the 1970s/1980s TV series, All Creatures Great & Small. In which case a detour may be necessary.

Staying on the route, however, the moor you can see across the valley to the North (looking directly right) is perhaps appropriately called Booze Moor.

Look out for the church of St Mary the Virgin on your right.

Built in 1817 it one of a series of what are known as Commissioners Churches, built with Parliamentary money, in an attempt to reduce atheism and anti-establishment thinking, following the French Revolution.

The locals were apparently restless, back at the beginning of the 19th century.

Life will have been hard, and you’ll see traces of the old lead mining industry as you climb out of Langthwaite.

Continue to climb, passing junctions for Barnard Castle and Whaw.

This last signpost indicates (and I don’t think I’m being over dramatic here) the end of civilisation for a while.

A 12 per cent descent now takes you over a bridge at Punchard Gill, and a thankfully short climb from the stream at 20 per cent.

This is the steepest it gets, but the slackening of the gradient is little consolation when climbing into a headwind, as is usually the case here.

A narrow bridge is then followed by a sign indicating Tan Hill Inn, three and a half miles ahead.

I plodded on, in my second lowest gear of 42x23. A subsequent blue Sustrans sign also indicates our lunch target ahead.

Here, you’ll lose sight of the road in the distance and a hill looms ominously, but fortunately, the route continues out of sight to the right of this hill on the horizon. In fact, you don’t see the inn until you actually arrive.

Tan Hill Inn is rightly proud of its reputation as Britain’s highest inn, at 528 metres above sea level.

Perversely, our route actually descends slightly to the inn, and you traverse the highest point of the road at 536 metres, just before it.

You know you are in the right place when you see the inn’s own snowplough and Hagglunds bv206 (Arctic tracked vehicle).

Fortunately, the weather was just cool, grey and breezy on this July day, and I proceeded inside for some Tan Hill Ale, (3.8%) brewed specially for the pub by Pennine Brewery.

Lunch was a ham and mustard ciabatta, with salad and tortilla chips. A full selection of main meals is also available, noon to 3pm, should you want something more substantial.

Turn right out of the pub to continue as before, but then quickly left, signed for Thwaite and Keld. Descent gently at first, but within a mile, curve right, and more steeply into West Stones Dale.

Curve left again to follow the line of the valley, where I just had to pause at Stonesdale Bridge, and gaze up at the hillside immediately west.

In my imagination at least, I could claim this hill, Robert’s Seat, as my own.

Continue to descend south, but beware the final descent into upper Swaledale. Watch for 25 per cent warning sign. A left hairpin was seriously eroded on the inside and I had to swing wide.

At T-junction, turn left onto the B6270, direction Reeth. Pass through Keld and Thwaite, then watch for the Buttertubs road coming down from the right.

This is where the Tour de France race entered Swaledale in July 2014. So we’ll follow a little of the race route from here.

Keep on the B6270 to arrive at Muker, which is well supplied with two cafes and a pub.

I know from a visit last year that the tea shop proprietor is a cyclist, so you are assured of a warm welcome.

In two-and-a-half miles, at a left hand bend, watch for a sign to Gunnerside (half mile). Stop here and take the minor road, straight ahead, over a cattle grid.

This is unsigned and looks like a farm entrance, but it is a public road.

Follow the Tarmac up a short steep climb, eventually levelling off, before undulating for just over a mile to the hamlet of Crackpot. The name derives from a nearby cave in the limestone.

Bear left at Crackpot, following a sign for Low Row and Reeth. There’s a steep downhill, to cross the Swale at Isles Bridge, and then a short climb up to rejoin the B6270 at a T-junction.

Bear right, direction Reeth, and through Low Row.

If your energy is flagging, it’s a straight road back to Reeth from here. However, there’s still one minor road to take for the adventurous.

A mile out of Low Row, look for a junction right, signed Askrigg.

Take this turning to cross the Swale again by the interestingly named Scabba Wath Bridge.

Over the bridge, go left onto a single track road, now following a sign for Grinton.

Climb back onto the moor and a view opens out across Reeth at the top. Along here you’ll find Bleak House, possibly built in Dickensian times?

Over a cattle grid and then a steep descent to an unsigned T-junction. Left here for a final cup of tea at the Dales Bike Centre, before arriving back at Reeth.

Cycle ride facts

Date of ride: Friday, July 7, 2017

The map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL30, Yorkshire Dales Northern & Central

The cafe: Dales Bike Centre, Fremington, Richmond, DL11 6AW. Tel 01748 884908, dalesbikecentre.co.uk

The pub: Tan Hill Inn, Reeth, Richmond, DL11 6ED. Tel 01833 628246, tanhillinn.com

The bike: 1994 Cougar race bike by Terry Dolan of Liverpool. On 23c slicks.

Distance: 30 miles

Car parking: The Green, Reeth, DL11 6TE. Park on cobbles, not grass. £2 all day. Except Fridays when a market is held on the green.