When you ride in Yorkshire, particularly the Dales, you have to be prepared to go uphill. It’s where you find stunning vistas, and, often, very little traffic. The White Rose Classic routes are designed to give you a taste of the local countryside, so you need to be prepared to “enjoy” some climbing. Take it in stride and you’ll be amply rewarded! All routes share the first 30 miles over Norwood Edge to the Grassington feed station, as well as the final 15 miles down the Wharfe Valley and over the popular Langbar climb. The Medium and Long Routes share the tough Albert Hill climb out of Settle, but get there via separate routes over different climbs.

NORWOOD EDGE

All Routes: Mile 9.5
First major climb of the day is Norwood Edge, or, as locals would have it, “Nor’d Edge.” It takes you out of Wharfedale into the more remote Nidderdale. From the top you have views in every direction, including seeing the distinctive “golf balls” at RAF Menwith Hill.

Norwood Edge Strava segment
– 1.1 miles, average 9%, max 16%, ascent 551 feet, Strava Cat 3
– #53 on Simon Warren’s list of the 100 Greatest Climbs, rating 5/10

This climb comes less than 10 miles into the ride. Don’t blow yourself up when you tackle it. It’s a relatively steady climb, so take it that way, and leave plenty in the tank for what is to come later in the day!

It’s just a short, but very fast (!) drop into Hawes for a quick visit to the feed station and timing point on the edge of town.  Don’t miss it, there are two more climbs before the Splash and Dash drinks-only stop in Horton-In-Ribblesdale.

Norwood Edge Map
Fleet Moss Climb
Fleet Moss Map

FLEET MOSS

Long Route: Mile 46

This is one of the iconic climbs of the Yorkshire Dales. Although the Strava segment starts at the hamlet of Oughtershaw, almost 30 miles after Norwood Edge, you have been climbing steadily for over 10 miles, “starting” the climb at an altitude of over 1100 feet.

Fleet Moss Strava segment
– 2.1 miles, average 7%, max 18%, ascent 771 feet, Strava Cat 3.
#50 on Simon Warren’s list of the 100 Greatest Climbs, rating 9/10

As you near the top, there are some steep ramps of nearly 20%, and if the wind is blowing, hold on tightly as you are very exposed at an altitude of almost 2000 feet.

COAL ROAD

Long Route: Mile 60

Sounds kind of tame, eh? Don’t be fooled, this is one of the toughest of the day. It is also remote and exposed. If the wind is blowing or there is rain, button up before the ascent.

Coal Road Strava segment
– 1.6 miles, average 8%, max 20%+, ascent 715 feet, Strava Cat 3
– #73 on Simon Warren’s list of the 100 Greatest Climbs, rating 7/10

The Coal Road has some cruel pitches at the bottom that approach 20% and it has a summit that somehow keeps moving away as you approach. Take your time, because even from the top of this brute, you still have 50 miles to ride!

There is a special caution on the descent after cresting the Coal Road. On the way down it gets very steep, with hairpin turns near the bottom in Dentdale. Scrub your speed as soon as you see the trees along the road.

Coal Road Climb
Coal Road Map
Dent Head Climb

DENT HEAD

Long Route: Mile 64

Once you turn left at the bottom from the Coal Road, guess what? Up you go again, another Cat 3 climb!  Nevertheless, this is a climb you can enjoy.  You may even have a tail wind coming up the valley to push you along.

Dent Head Strava segment
– 2.8 miles, average 4%, max 15%, ascent 648 feet, Strava Cat 3.

The Strava segment includes the long run up the valley, so you are on it soon after you turn left onto the road along the River Dee.

As nice, and sometimes fast, as the bottom is, don’t get lulled by this one. All the work is near the top. Nothing super-steep, but your legs will feel the 10%+ sections.

SILVERDALE

Medium Route: Mile 42

One of the prettiest climbs in all of Yorkshire. You can imagine yourself in a very remote part of the world, with Pen-Y-Ghent, one of the famous Yorkshire 3 Peaks looming on the right.

Silverdale (Halton Gill) Strava segment
– 3.6 miles, average 2%, Max 12%, ascent 467 feet

This climb is mostly front-loaded. Although it feels like it goes on forever, after the first mile you have done the bulk of the climbing and you can start to enjoy the rare solitude.

The descent into Stainforth that follows this climb requires caution. It is steep and very fast. Don’t carry much speed as you approach the village because the road turns abruptly and visibility is very limited.

silverdale climb
albert hill climb

ALBERT HILL

Medium Route: Mile 52
Long Route: Mile 83

This is a tough climb, with a long section of 20% and more, on the appropriately named, High Hill Lane. It is a classic Yorkshire climb, featuring one false summit after another.

Albert Hill Strava segment
– 2.3 miles, average 6%, max 20%+, ascent 712 feet, Strava Cat 3.

This is the one that you have been saving your energy for. If you are feeling good, this is one you can attack. After the first, extended steep pitch out of Settle, the road levels off for a while so you can recover. There are two more tough sections to follow, but not as steep as the first.

If you are not in the mood to push yourself… then enjoy the tremendous views across the Ribble Valley to Pendle Hill in the distance on the right.  Feeling depleted? Don’t despair!  We’ve saved the best feed station for last at Airton as you come down off the moor.

LANGBAR

Short Route: Mile 41
Medium Route: Mile 76
Long Route: Mile 106

The last climb of the day! Like the first climb, Norwood Edge, riders on all routes have to climb Langbar.  It is an Ilkley Cycling Club favourite for bragging rights at t’ pub.

Langbar Strava segment
– 1.3 miles, average 7%, max 16%, ascent 494 feet, Strava Cat 4

Don’t be fooled by the average here. Langbar has a couple, extended 15%+ sections… and it is at the end of the day. Save a little for for this one, but savour the top, as it is (mostly) downhill from here, and you can look forward to a little refreshment back in Ilkley.