Tagged: the fleak

The Fleak (Part 2)

The Fleak, via Summer Lodge, scene of the famous 2006 Crackpot GPS incident well, famous if you lived in Swaledale in 2006 and have a fascination as to why people would trust a computer over the evidence of their own eyes, on one of those glorious autumn saturdays that are such a gift to those of us struggling with the prospect of all those dark nights to come consigning weekday bike riding to being a nocturnal activity.

The Fleak

There is no other name I can call the Fleak. Once upon a time it was Fleak Moss but somewhere along the line the Ordnance Survey adopted the name everyone knows it by and it became just the Fleak. If this becomes a trend we could see some interesting future map revisions for one or two other locations talked about less affectionately than this road is. Of all the high roads between my valley and the next one this is the one I often go to in my mind when I can’t get out to them on the bike and this is one where I go to on the bike when the falling number of degrees centigrade and number of hours of daylight left leave the opportunity of doing something longer firmly in the missed category. When I’ve been to a flatter bit of England and have missed the hills and when I’ve been going out and coming home in the dark all week and have missed the sky this is also where I head to. The Fleak is where I go to as well if I just haven’t been there for a while and have missed The Fleak.

The Road on the north side takes an uncharacteristically for this area oblique route up the side of valley making its three hundred and fifty vertical metres a joy of changing views, alternating steep and gentle gradients and varying road surface gravelly leafy mucky slippinesses. This side in fact also has a little brother, an unmade fork that comes up from the valley further west, well known to mountain bikers, shooters and motorists caught up in the great Crackpot bad GPS directions incident of 2006. From the cattle grid at the top can be seen the Dales’ only significant natural lake to the South, limestone not being great for water features, the far side of the valley you’ve just left to the North, the Cleveland hills to the East, and some heather and stuff to the West, or completely bugger all in any direction if you didn’t pick a very good day.

The road down the other side is a nastiness of steep uneven narrow lanes, tight turns and an almost permanently wet surface. On the plus side it does lead to a café with one of those old metal winged wheel badges on the wall where they still like bike riders. The sublime goingupness of the northern end of this road and the horrible brakegripping 25%ness of the southern section mean the best thing to do would surely be to go back down the way you came up but there must be some inner fear of terrible divine consequences because I can never do that. If the cycling press reports a North Yorkshire cyclist struck down by lightning on an otherwise fine day whilst crossing Low Whita Bridge the wrong way you’ll know who it was, and why.