A Fairy Tale From Levisham

Posted by Swaledale Outdoor Club on 2010-08-22

A Fairy Tale From Levisham, Sunday 22nd August

Now I hope your all sitting comfortably before I start this tale of three rides, involving singletrack heaven, energy sapping demons and ten pound cake fairies. The first tale starts in the small village of Levisham on the North Yorkshire moors in August 2010, where on a sunny warm morning five adventurous souls set of on a ride of 30 miles. The beginning part of the ride went well, passing the dreaded moors warden/footpath site and pinging down the first singletrack descent down towards Levisham station. We sailed past the café at the Station, the stomach monsters not so much sniffing at the smell of cake, it was far too early. We made a good pace along the forest road, playing I spy, and I spied lots of bits of singletrack, which I didn’t know. But amazingly neither did Sarah or Alan. Frankie on the other hand knew a couple. We soon began climbing out of the valley and once on top we headed along a now deforested bridleway to the beginning of a magical piece of singletrack, which flows in and out of trees, eventually crossing a stream and entering a narrow gorge. What makes it an even more amazing bit of singletrack was the fact that Sarah and Alan had not ridden it before. Yes, you read that correctly I had managed to find a fairly local trail that the couple who have biked world wide and everywhere in the UK had not ridden!! Woo woo I was totally flabberghasted! Well, on that note is there much point telling the rest of the tale, but yes there is more to be told. After riding along some dark side trails known in the world of light as roads, we headed in to Crompton Forrest. After what seemed to be ages of cycling along a rather straight and upwardly angled firetrack, we hit a junction and headed off on to mmmh slightly boggy singletrack?! Ok boggy singletrack, this wasn’t heaven but it was still fun. Sarah may not have thought so, as she managed to fall off both sides of her bike! Quite impressive as both falls were within a metre or less of each other, where’s the camera when you need one? Oh right with me waiting further up the track on a drier section. Will I ever learn! Possibly not! After leaving the woods we continued in glorious sunshine and had lunch at a perfectly placed bench. Alan knowing my love of anything ginger shows me his new cycling top which was orange in places and would fit in my wardrobe much better that his. So I made a number of attempts to free the jersey, but Alan wouldn’t have it. Bugger. We set off over a rather lumpy, grassy and boggy field and a little field imp threw me off my bike. Not friendly at all. After that more dark side stuff, best not to mention it too much. Then a lovely drag through a field and then a lovely but short piece of singletrack over the moor, guess what? Sarah and Alan hadn’t ridden that either. Hey I was doing good! Then a dark side descent into Rosedale and the cafe woo woo. Disaster, I had no cake money and the cake monster was definitely awake now, but a very kind cake fairy came to the rescue and gave (lent) me a ten spot. After sometime we thought about leaving the café, but decided against it. Sometime later we dragged ourselves away heading towards a well mourned piece of singetrack. But I am very pleased to tell you, its reverting back to its fabulous old self, woo woo. Baz’s bike unfortunately decided to break its rear cable, mmh I am sure my bike did that last time on this very ride. So rear cables beware when you ride from Levisham. Sarah had already zipped ahead to get some photos, so after watching Frankie and Alan set to work reducing Baz’s gears I set off after Sarah and eventually found her nearing the end of the trail. She took my photo and cursed at me, I thought shit I bust the camera, so I stopped and discovered she had been stung by a very mad wasp or bee, it was buzzing extremely loudly as Sarah explained what happened. Then the naughty creature had another go at the back of her neck, we decided we had better move. Finally everyone finally arrived after singletrack bliss; we head back along the dark stuff. Those energy sapping demons started to tug at all our legs. After several miles we turned off onto a bit of singletrack new to us all, Baz had seen it in a book and asked if we could include it into the ride. Sure thing, so we headed into the trees. Mmh, I thought, this bridleway went over Stony Moor, but hang on after a fast descent through the trees and a little push, we hit the jackpot, a wicked rocky (stony who’s being picky!) singletrack contour. Excellent fun, which led to a cracking singletrack rocky, leafy rut descent. Oh, the promise of those woods littered with undiscovered singletrack, yup I will be heading back there next summer. After that it was a heartbreaking (particularly for Baz) climb out of the station back to the village. I sense your eyelids are growing heavy; I will leave my tale for now. But till next time don’t let the monsters get you!

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