Bike route: In shadow of Emley Moor mast

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After a cold and blustery ride last week I made sure I was suitably wrapped up this time around as I sampled some hard riding on the South/West Yorkshire border.

The Emley Moor mast was a constant companion on my left as I took a giant anti-clockwise loop around it. I racked up almost 4,500ft of climbing in just over 40 miles.

1. The climbing began as soon as I rolled out to the north of Penistone but I’d only been pedalling for a couple of miles or so before I was enjoying what proved to be my longest descent of the day. On this ride there was barely a metre of flat though, so no sooner had I crossed Daking Brook than the road was rising again past Cannon Hall Farm. This was a long and steady ascent which topped out at the aptly titled High Hoyland. Once I’d dropped into Haigh I turned on to the busier A637 which skirted the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

2. I returned to the quiet country lanes after rising into West Bretton and the subsequent four miles between there and Horbury were fast and fun and took me down to the River Calder. Instead of continuing into the centre of Horbury, I took Storrs Hill Road up to Ossett and the steep ramps had me out of the saddle and pushing hard. I was still breathing heavily when I made it to Ossett. The section from there and Dewsbury was the most urbanised and headed back into the countryside by tackling what was my toughest climb of the day.

3. I exited Dewsbury via Savile Town and the torment began on Slaithwaite Road. With cars whizzing past me it was hard to settle into a rhythm and I had to come to a standstill about halfway up it before turning right on to Overthorpe Road. Instead of easing off near the summit, the gradient actually rose to about 15% before it relented, and it was only when I surveyed the scenery on my approach to Whitley that my spirits were lifted. The descent through Houses Hill was almost worth my previous toils.

4. My legs began to ache as I ascended through Lepton. I then dropped back down towards Kirkburton. All the time Emley Moor Tower had been looming ever larger and I cycled as close as I could physically get to it before continuing on towards Shelley. It was there that I almost came a cropper, and as I flew down Near Bank I was nearly caught out by a 90-degree kink which came halfway down.

5. The ascent to Upper Cumberworth passed without further incident and it was a nice treat to pass under the Denby Dale Viaduct as I rose again towards Upper Denby. The views at that point on my ride were spectacular. Another memorable landmark was a Tudor style barn on Gunthwaite Lane.

6. My final ascent took me up Cat Hill and by the time I reached the summit I was well and truly spent. By the time I reached the top I was actually feeling a little light-headed, but buoyed in the knowledge there was only two miles of gradual downhill left between myself and my car.

Difficulty Rating: HHHHH

Time: 3 hours 14 minutes (at 13mph average speed)

Distance: 42 miles (67km)

Parking: Shrewsbury Road car park in Penistone.

Grid Ref: SE 24779 03272

Public toilets: Located at the top of Shrewsbury Road

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