The plan was to have a good day out with some Yorkshire Dales mountain biking fun with my husband and our two teenage boys. This day would turn out to be a family classic!
We booked with How Stean Gorge Activity Centre, known for their Yorkshire Dales outdoor activities. All the information about our Dales mountain biking adventure was so clear and easy, from what to wear, timings and what to expect from the day of the ride.
On the day the sun was out, and the sky was blue and the birds were singing (sounds like a song) and as we drove up the beautiful Nidderdale valley we chatted about the sights and smells that we hoped we’d encounter on our Yorkshire Dales mountain biking adventure.
We arrived at How Stean Gorge and met our guide called Adam who was as professional and friendly as a professional and friendly mountain bike guide can be. After a kit check, helmet and kneepad check, bike fit and a good strong coffee from the amazing onsite cafe we cracked on with getting to know this fantastic valley and surrounding grassy slopes. We left our car and jumped in their minibus to be transported up the hill to the start of our adventure with Adam.
The carpark at the scenic Scarhouse Reservoir was our starting point where Adam went over some much needed off-road skills and techniques to help us on our journey. Adam was more than happy, and we set off on our adventure heading west alongside the spectacular Scarhouse Reservoir.
The views were already amazing, and we chatted amongst ourselves along the trail. This was a great start to the ride to get the blood pumping and listen to Adam chat about the area and history of the valley. We crossed the dam which holds in the mighty Angram Reservoir and headed east.
Journeying over grassy fields, we eventually picked up a trail on the north side of Scarhouse Res and towards the huge dam which holds all the water back from flooding the valley below. This route was seriously impressing us so far. Did Adam have something else up his sleeve to impress us with? Of course, he did!
The world famous Nidderdale way was next, carrying us high above the valley with spectacular views of the dam and reservoir. This was now getting serious I thought! Up and down we went – we were really flying through the countryside now and working up a good appetite for a snack. Racing and challenging each other up a short but steep hill we stopped at a junction. “Where next?” My son shouted to Adam. “DALE EDGE” was Adam’s deep and firm reply.
After a bite to eat, checking out the views and surveying our route so far with Adam’s map reading skills, we pushed on enjoying our after-lunch sugar rush. Riding along Dale Edge was like riding along the edge of the world. The long sweeping trail took in breath-taking scenery in all directions. The moorland plateau provided us with the calls of noisy grouse with their comical screeching amid the carpet of fragrant heather that seemed to go on for miles and miles.
After the joy of Dale Edge with its abandoned quarries and noisy wildlife, we joined the road leading us to Lofthouse. This was the best mountain biking descent I have experienced in my life. Very steep with sharp bends, luckily for us the bikes could handle this with excellent brakes and good grippy tyres. Adam kept us safe and updated on any traffic ahead (he’s a good lad), eventually coming to the T-junction where if we turned right would take us back to the lovely How Stean Gorge cafe.
Now, serious decisions are not one of my strengths. Do we turn left and carry on riding down the beautiful Nidderdale valley and into the sunset or do we turn right and reward ourselves with a cold beer from the licenced cafe at How Stean Gorge? Decisions, decisions. Give me a sign! Luckily Adam had got to know us quite well during this day’s MTB adventure and he gives us the international hand sign for beer drinking, and we all agree that the serious professional knows best.
Signalling right and riding on, we roll into the car park at How Stean Gorge Activity Centre feeling a mixed sense of accomplishment and sweatiness. The cold beers tasted seriously good. What an amazing day!
If you’re curious to discover mountain biking in beautiful Yorkshire, book the Mountain Biking Full Day and experience the thrill of adventure for yourself.