This format has been repeated 15-20 or more times now, and it works well for most riders.
Friday – day one, The Derbyshire Peak Dsitrict
We leave Nottingham at 9.15am, and ride the short distance (29 miles) to Matlock Bath. Here, we sometimes meet up with other tour members who find this a more convenient start point. A coffee and chat is usually in order.
Now, we leave the main roads, and take a circuitous route which takes us through Via Gelia, Dovedale, Ilam, Throwley, Tideswell, Peak Forest, Winnats Pass and Castleton. We have a pub lunch on Strines Moor, then take part back road, part motorway up to the Yorkshire Dales. Depending on time and group ability, we try and take the back roads, via Malham cove and deserted limstone plateaux for the remaining 30 miles or so.
This is the most demanding day. It’s only about 250 miles, but it’s nearly all on twisty back roads. There is time to stop now and again for photos, but we must keep up a reasonable, constant pace to be able to reach our hotel in Yorkshire in time for dinner. I reserve the right to amend the route a little if we are getting behind schedule. When doing this trip with mates, we cover every permutation in the Peak District, pull in an extra detour in Yorkshire, and we're busy putting tents up by just gone 4.00pm. But, for 1001 reasons, a tour group doesn’t usually make this rate of progress, so the more usual arrival time is 7.00-8.00pm.
For The Lake district version of this your, we usually abridge the Derbyshire routes a little in order to get to the Lakes in time.
Saturday – day two, The Lake District
Taking beautiful back roads, we ride a short distance for a “breakfast stop” at Devil’s Bridge, which is a popular bikers’ haunt near Kirby Lonsdale. We then head across to Windermere, and Langdale for lunch. The climax of the trip is then the Wrynose and Harknott passes, which in my opinion are about the most technical and tricky bits of riding in the UK. For many of our trips, the weather has been stunning, with sunshine and blue skies. The views from these passes are some of the best the British Isles can offer. Of course, when it rains, it’s a totally different story :(
After the thrill of Hardknott, there’s an optional 20 mile detour to Wasdale head, before we head back East over more mountain roads. If it’s running, we take the ferry across Windermere, before taking a different route back to our base in the Yorkshire Dales.
Only about 100-150 miles, with not a bit of motorway. Nearly all twisty hill roads though, and quite a tiring day.
Sunday – day three, the Yorkshire Dales & home.
After breakfast we take a ride through the Karst landscape and dry stone walls, via a ride through the magnificent high points of Keld Head and Buttertubs Pass to reach Hawes. Again, a bikers’ Mecca on a sunny weekend. A bag of chips and a cup of tea go down well before a quick visit to the Wensleydale Creamery – the cheese factory made famous by Wallace & Gromitt. We sample the various flavoured cheeses on offer, and stock up on some to take home. We sometimes stop for a picnic by the river in Langstrothdale when the weather is pleasant. Then we head off home. For me, and anyone else returning via Nottingham or going South, the best route is straight down the A1. About a 160 mile day.
Variations sometimes apply, according to weather & pace, by negotiation with guests.
The Ravenglass variation of this tour often takes a more direct "straightline run" through Derbyshire on the Friday, but in recompense, sometimes pulls in The Snake Pass and Holme Moss, to reach the further destination of the Lake District by the evening. Saturday, once again is a circular tour around the Lake District, pulling in several high passes. Sunday's return run starts with a ride through the Southern Lakes, then is similar to the standard tour, to Hawes and across the Yorkshire Dales..