Killer Climbs - Old Church Lane
One regular comment from visitors to Pateley Bridge is how steep the high street is. In point of fact at less than 10% it’s not all that steep at all, as you’ll find out on this Killer Climb. Instead of following the main road down the valley from the top of the high street, this climb goes straight up, to the top!
Along the way it takes in twists, turns and unrelenting gradient and could well be the most severe, and testing of all our Killer Climbs.
Climb Guide: We begin the climb at the top of the high street. Gradients such as the 7, 8 and 9% of the High Street are of no interest to us here (but feel free to use this as a final warm up).
The first hundred metres might not seem so bad, but the road will quickly steepen, tighten and close in and before you are even a quarter of a mile in the gradient exceeds 20%. The retaining walls that loom over you on either side only serve to demonstrate how the original builders of this road had to dig down to make the route navigable by the horse and cart.
If you make it through these bends you will find yourself on a short traversing section where, if you have the breath to look sideways and take it in, you can enjoy one of the most dramatic views up Nidderdale and over the town.
However the view is short lived and the road turns back to the right for another onslaught on your legs. With gradients in the mid to high teens you may find yourself breaking the climb up into small manageable achievements, looking all the way up the length of the road maybe enough to break the spirit of anyone who’s struggling at this point.
Slow and steady, with a comfortable cadence there are a number of pretty houses and other curiosities with which to distract your thoughts. It is worth pointing out, for anyone who decides a rest is for the best, that the view behind you as you reach the top of this drag is impressive and far reaching. From near the top you can see as far as the broadcasting mast at Emley Moor in West Yorkshire.
For those who are digging deep, when you pass the turning to the right you can begin to think of rest, of freewheeling – but not too much. The gradient will slowly lessen and lessen and bit by bit you begin to move up through the gears.
Soon you’ll be getting some speed up and wondering if you can sprint to the end point, which for this climb, is the wooden Public Footpath sign on the right, pointing walkers up a grassy double track.
Then you are up, and can survey the view and take on some refreshment before you crack on with your ride.
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