1,500 miles during our 8 day trip during May 2008 to the Yorkshire Dales
The trip up is 330 miles, so quite a long day, we arrived at Beck Hall at about 5.30pm, booked in, had a cupper, a shower, and relaxed, later we enjoyed a meal at the hotel (they do dinner on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) After breakfast which was the normal blow out, off we set to visit the area, this remained the pattern for the eight days we were there, although we did try the pubs in the village for dinner. Our daily mileage was around 115 and included a day visit to the Lake District. This area of England is renowned for rain and rapidly changing weather, we were so fortunate as we had a completely dry 7 days, the trip back is best forgotten, and I think the rain had saved itself for our return journey. I could now go into our day by day visits and rides, which would be lengthy, so instead I am going to highlight a few areas and places not to be missed if you are ever in the area.
This year a smaller number than normal came with us to the Dales as accommodation in the Dales is mostly small B&B's with just a few rooms, so it was difficult to find somewhere for larger numbers, also, as we found last year, riding the Lakes, Peak District and Dales can be very challenging, which does not suit everyone.
To sum up our 8 day visit I will use the words of Angie "It's like riding through a postcard" in fact there were a couple of days where our route only passed a few tiny hamlets, no villages or towns simply because there are so few.
In my own view I think the area of the Dales can be described as The Lakes, The Peak District and Scotland all rolled into one, lush valleys, forest areas, steep twisting lanes and barren hill tops, all go to make up somewhere truly special.

You will notice Red Dotted Lines which are National Cycle Routes, and Blue Dotted Lines which are Regional Routes, both of which are fine for motorcyclists, they are normally the most scenic routes to be found in the area you are visiting.

The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park has outstanding scenery, a range of wildlife habitats and a rich cultural heritage. It's a special place - a fantastic outdoor arena for recreation and peaceful relaxation and a haven for wildlife. Covering an area of 1,762 square kilometers (680 square miles), the National Park is located in the north of England, and straddles the central Pennines in the counties of North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Beck Hall at Malham.
Boasting a charming stream-side setting, rustic log-fires and home-cooked food, this elegant 18th century building is an ideal retreat for both business and leisure travellers.
Beck Hall has 17 ensuite bedrooms, all of which offer Wi-Fi connection, and some which contain four-posters beds. The hotel is located in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, where you can enjoy long and scenic strolls during the day. With 2 pubs nearby and the hotel's own café for residents, plus an alcohol licence, you will find plenty to eat and drink.

Steve had a room in the new block complete with a steam power shower, having turned on full power to warm it up, he phoned home, next thing we knew was the fire alarm went off and we all had to vacate the hotel.

What made things worst was the fact Michel had just settled down to read the Daily Mail, a paper which in his view is rubbish, nice to know he is now an avid reader.

Malham Cove
Standing some 80 metres high and 300 metres wide and north of the mid craven fault, Malham Cove is a curved crag of carboniferous limestone formed after the last ice age. Meltwater, particularly from Malham Tarn, cut back the cove as it fell over the edge as a waterfall. This erosion took place more actively at the lip of the fall rather than at the sides, hence the curved shape. Water (in reduced amounts after the ice age) easily finds it way down through the many joints and fissures of the limestone and thus the saturation level never rises high enough to make Malham Cove the waterfall that it once was, although there have been reports of water flowing over the cove after heavy rainfalls in the early 19th century.

Gordale Scar-
To the north of the Mid Craven Fault in the Malham Formation is Gordale Scar, which was carved as a melt water channel beneath the Devensian icesheet. The sides of this gorge overhang to a considerable extent, suggesting that there was once a great cavern, the roof of which has subsequently collapsed.
On close observation remnants of this roof can been found to the right above the first waterfall. The left side of the cavern is noticeable for its close and intimate vertical jointing dividing the limestone into thin plates sometimes less than an inch in thickness.
The waterfalls flow over large masses of tufa, more of which can be found further downstream at a short distance south of the scar.

which runs from Down Holme - Nateby through the Swaledale Valley, branch off at Keld to The Tan Hill Inn (highest Inn in England (1762') as we did for lunch, it was quite strange to eat lunch watching lambs being bottle fed in the bar. Our route was from *Castle Bolton to Grinton to join the B6270, which is a small road over Redmire Moor (565') with truly amazing views across the Swaledale Valley.

The B6270 is a very pretty and varied road with great views to the left and right- a must if you are in the area.
*Bolton Castle is a massive 14th century stone quadrangular fortress, founded by Richard le Scrope. The high east curtain wall, contains the gatehouse and its vaulted passage, is the only medieval entrance to this palatial castle. The large rectangular courtyard, is surrounded by an impressive range of lodgings, three storeys high and only five identical doorways gave access, each protected by a portcullis. Huge five storey residential towers flank the angles, with flanking turrets on the north and south curtain walls but sadly following Civil War slighting, the Kitchen Tower collapsed in 1761.

The recent history of Tan Hill.
In 1085, when William the Conqueror's surveyors where compiling the Doomsday Book, they wrote the area above Reeth off as "wasteland". Records of Tan Hill's early days are sketchy at best although mining for coal had started by the 12th Century. It is possible that the Romans mined coal during their occupation of England and Wales in the first four centuries A.D.
1586 William Camden in his guide book, 'Britannia' notes a solitary inn. The current inn dates from the 17th Century

12th to 20th Centuries
Mining for coal on Tan Hill dates from at least the 12th Century A.D. and possibly earlier. The coal was a poor quality crow coal which gave off a lot of soot when burnt. It was not suitable for the steam engines that were to arrive in the Industrial Revolution - the superior coal from the County Durham pits was used instead to fuel the trains on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
The inn was not on its own all the time. Miners' cottages stood near the inn until they were demolished with the closure of the mines in the early 20th Century.
1903 Susan Peacock's Legacy: Born in West Witton in Wensleydale, Susan Peacock worked in various domestic jobs before marrying Richard Parrington of the Cat Hole Inn in Keld. The couple took over the Tan Hill Inn in 1903 which by then was in a bad state of repair. They made a success of the inn despite the waning mining industry. Richard Parrington died, leaving Susan to bring up her three daughters, Olive, Edna and Maggie. She married Michael Peacock, an Arkengarthdale native and owner of one of the Tan Hill pits, acquiring the Peacock name which is familiar to all those who come to Tan Hill.
While we were there we found by chance The Forest of Bowland which is just to the left of the Dales, and can be summed up as follows:
Bowland is essentially upland country forming part of the Pennines, sharing many of the characteristics of other upland areas like the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales National Park but its essential landscape character is one of grandeur and isolation. The area is dominated by a central upland core of deeply incised gritstone fells with summits above 450m and vast tracts of heather-covered peat moorland.
The fells' fringe of foothills is dissected by steep-sided valleys which open out into the rich green lowlands of the Ribble, Hodder, Wyre and Lune Valleys. Well-wooded and dotted with picturesque stone farms and villages, these lower slopes, criss-crossed by dry stone walls, contrast with and complement the dramatic open sweep of the gritstone heights. On its south-eastern edge, famous Pendle Hill forms the outlier of the Forest of Bowland.
The combination of 'wild' expanses of open moorland and estate landscapes on the moorland fringe together with the transitional landscapes to the lower lying river valleys gives this area a distinctive quality of its own. The cloughs, steep sided and wooded valleys, provide a strong link between the upland and lowland landscapes.
Bowland's ecological features make it a nationally important area for nature conservation and 13 per cent is designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The moors are a major breeding ground for upland birds and the major part of the Bowland Fells is designated as a Special Protection Area under the European Birds Directive. The lowlands contain important ancient woodland habitat.
Building in Bowland uses local gritstone and has a strong vernacular style which adds to the quality of the landscape. The AONB is sparsely populated with over three-quarters living in villages, and the remainder in loosely-knit hamlets or isolated dwellings in open countryside. Traditional villages such as Slaidburn, Downham and Newton have seen very little modern development.

The wireless became a novelty at the inn in 1930 and Susan Peacock would often take part in radio broadcasts, telling people of the quiet life. This led to hundreds of people visiting the inn out of curiosity.
1917 During the First World War, pub opening was restricted to lunchtimes and evenings only to stop people from getting drunk during the war effort. These laws will change little for the next seventy years.
1990 Construction of extension providing the inn with seven new en-suite rooms along with new toilets, pool room and flat.
1995 In 1995, the inn was the first pub to obtain a licence to hold wedding ceremonies under new laws that allow people to marry in places other than a church or registry office. Tan Hill Inn no longer retains its licence to host weddings but still hosts many Stag, Hen and reception parties.
2005 Landlords Margaret and Alex Baines finally hang up their Bar Towels after 20 years service at Tan Hill. The new owners Mike and Tracy are looking forward to the challenge of running this unique and very special place. Tan Hill Inn's unique place in the United Kingdom and in history should hopefully guarantee its future at a time when many rural pubs are facing closure. It's fame has led to the Inn featuring in a couple of television adverts, one for double glazing and the other for mobile telephones. The Inn has been visited by several celebrities of the day and created a few personalities itself.
Another route is Butter Tubs Pass (676') from Thwaite on the B6270 to Hawes, ride it if you dare.

A648 from Wensley - Sedbergh a very pretty road with gentle bends through the Wensley Dale Valley, have a look at Aysgarth Falls when you are passing.
Aysgarth is perhaps best known for its breathtaking triple flight of waterfalls, carved out by the River Ure on its descent to mid-Wensleydale. The Upper Fall featured in the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. There is car parking at the Yorkshire Dales National park Information Centre and other parking on the south of the river. Park here and enjoy one of the well-signposted walks which wind through the wooded gorge, offering spectacular views (and photo opportunities) of the river and falls. The area is carpeted in wild flowers in the Spring and Summer, and wild birds, squirrels and deer can often be glimpsed amongst the trees.

The Forest of Bowland just to the left of the Dales. This enchanting area must not be missed, it can be accessed at Long Preston (on A65). Join the B6478, at Newton take a small road to Dunsop Bridge (stop at Puddelducks Café as we did) - Sykes - Marshaw and then turn and reverse the route, you will not be disappointed. If you have time at Slaidburn take a small road on your right to High Benton, after about 11 miles turn right towards Keasden and right again, bringing you back to the B6478, you will rise to (1786') and down again.

Coverdale B6161 Skipton - West Burton, a great road to visit, but as you join the A684 turn right to Wesley, then right again towards Carlton and on to Kettlewell and Grassington, this route is not for the faint hearted, as this, as are many of the small roads, in the Dales, challenging to motorcyclists, but so rewarding.

Malham - Settle from Malham take the small road past Malham Cove to Settle, it rises through Kirby Fell (1815') and has some truly amazing views from the top, also you will notice the wind picks-up and the temperature drops due to the altitude. It is worth taking a right fork while you are up there to Arncliff and Kilnesy on the B6160, the height (600') and wildness of this small road has to be experienced.

B6265 join it off the A61, north of Harrogate, it runs through Summer Bridge - Pateley Bridge - Grassington - Kettlewell - Buckden and West Burton- another great ride during our visit.

THE LAKES- they are only 30 miles away along the fabulous A65, it is worth the ride over, although a visit can only take in a small part of the Lakes. Head for Ambleside just north of Windermere. In Ambleside take the A591 and then take the turning on your right (signposted) to Kirkstone Pass which joins the A592 to Ullswater Lake. This will give you just a taste as to why the Lake District is my favorite part of the United Kingdom

A686- while you are in the area and if you have time, join the A686 at Penrith, and ride to Alston Moor and on to Haydon Bridge, this is one of the UK's top 10 biker's roads. Visit the café on top of Alston Moor and enjoy the 360 degree views across the Moors.
Paul Fareham (Photos by Angie and Steve)