YTT21 The Grand Tour
Tour Duration: 6 hours
Price per Tour: £599.00 inc lunch & all refreshment stops
Start Location: Devonshire Arms Bolton Abbey. BD23 6AJ
Route: Departing Bolton Abbey we head for Skipton, Cracoe, Thresfield, Kettlewell, Buckden, Cray Falls, West Burton, Aysgarth, Bainbridge, Hawes, Buttertubs Pass, Muker, Gunnerside, Feetham, Reeth, Leyburn, Middleham, East Witton, Masham, Leighton Reservoir, climb across Masham Moor, Ramsgill, Gouthwaite Reservoir, Pateley Bridge, Thruscross Reservoir before cruising the A59 back to Skipton.
Our tour starts from the Devonshire Arms Hotel Bolton Abbey cruising through Cracoe, Threshfield and into Kettlewell, over the pretty bridge and up to Buckden, tipping our hats to the hamlet of
Starbottom as we pass.
Now we enter the very special Bishopdale. This Dale has more than its fair share of bubbling streams and beautiful waterfalls, that seem to appear from nowhere. Bishopdale is definitely one of our favourite dales, and is a geologists paradise. Every glance is a feast!
Aysgarth is a lovely surprise, as is the picturesque village of Bainbridge. Now it is into Wensleydale that we travel. This wide dale is surrounded by hills, both close to and in the distance, as far as the eye can see. Streams and small farms, interspersed by small copses characterise this part of this brilliant dale. Busy Hawes springs into sight, just when you think you can gasp no more at all the splendour around you.
From Hawes you rise up towards ButtertubsPass. Here it is easy to imagine great glaciers cutting through the landscape, leaving a mosaic of slopes, bumps and moorland hills. This part of the dale is extraordinary for its lack of dry stone walls that are the hallmark of all the other Dales. As you reach the summit of the side of Swaledale nothing prepares you for the total gorgeousness of the views you see. Just let them wash over you and soak it all in!
Skimming the edge of Thwaite you cruise through Muker and Gunnerside, both very beautiful and characterful villages. Each one shows evidence of their past communities, with schools, chapels and agricultural buildings now turned into homes.
As you travel towards Reeth the countryside becomes softer with more trees and green fields, but you are soon back into the moorland and panoramic views. At the top of this moor you can see as far as the Vale of York on a clear day.
Now as you travel back into Wensleydale, keep a look out as you pass through the military firing ranges ( we stick to the road, so no need to worry!) Leyburn is one of our favourite market towns and is typical of many such market towns in this area, a joy to drive through. Turning right out of Leyburn you are on the A6108, a lovely road cram packed full of pretty villages like West Witton and Middleham, famous for its race horses and the castle made famous by Richard III
Touching the edge of, yet another, market town of beauty, Masham, and its splendid Black Sheep Brewery we carry on, glimpsing the best kept secret of this Dale, Jervaulx Abbey. This is where we leave the TDF route and head off over to Pateley Bridge and on to Thrusscross Reservoir.. Here we pick up the day 2 route by following the A59 back to Skipton. You will feel that this was a truly GRAND TOUR well done.
Judith's Review: This was a truly memorable day and showed, absolutely, why part of this route was chosen by the organisers of Le Tour de France. It was a tour during which we never seemed to stop saying 'Wow!' after we turned a corner, and 'Look at that!' at the beginning of every new dale.
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