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UCI 2019 elite men's road race

Kilnsey Crag
Kilnsey Crag

The elite men's road race at the 2019 UCI road World Championships in Yorkshire starts in Leeds and finishes in Harrogate. It's 285km, and includes seven laps of the Harrogate circuit.

The route takes in cycling hotspots Otley and Ilkley, then heads via Addingham and Skipton into the Yorkshire Dales. In the Dales, the parcours is the same as that of Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014. It goes to Kilnsey, Kettlewell, the Côte de Cray (Kidstones), Aysgarth, Hawes, Côte de Buttertubs, Reeth, and the Côte de Grinton Moor. The run back to Harrogate is via Leyburn, Middleham, Masham, West Tanfield, North Stainley, Ripon, and Ripley.

Descent from Buttertubs
Descent from Buttertubs into Swaledale

The riders will have done just short of 180km when they arrive in Harrogate. The Harrogate circuit is up Otley Road to Beckwithshaw, right to the Jubilee roundabout, down Penny Pot Lane to Oak Beck, steeply up on the other side, then down Harlow Moor Drive alongside the Valley Gardens to the Royal Pump Rooms. From there, it goes up the other side of the Valley Gardens, then takes Hereford Road and Kent Road back to the A61 Ripon Road. After a detour along Swan Road and Crescent Road, it's up Parliament Street to West Park, and the start/finish point of the circuit.

As during the Tour de France, the finish line will be on West Park, roughly in front of Cathcart House and the United Reform church.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: map, facts & figures

Route of elite men's road race, UCI road World Championships 2019
Map of the route of the elite men's road race, © Welcome to Yorkshire. (See full-size map)

See also a Google map of the race route.

Race details - UCI 2019 elite men's road race
Date Sunday 28th September 2019
Event classification Road race
Distance 285km (route plus 7 circuits)
Climbs Cray (Kidstones pass)
Buttertubs
Grinton Moor

The official stage profile for the elite men's road race:

Profile of elite men's road race, UCI 2019
Profile of elite men's road race, © Welcome to Yorkshire

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: timings

Timings to follow.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: the route

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: the start in Leeds

Leeds City Museum
Leeds City Museum

The elite men's road race starts in Leeds, at the Leeds City museum, Millenium Square. This is the start of the neutralised section, rather than the racing, so it's a procession at a reduced pace as the competitors leave Leeds. That should mean you get a better look at the peloton than if they were at racing speed.

The riders make their way to the Headrow, then they go up to Woodhouse (Hyde Park/Woodhouse Moor), and take the A660 Headingley Lane to Headingley.

After passing Leeds Beckett University, the route crosses the Ring Road. It forks left just after the Ring Road junction, on Otley Old Road to Cookridge. The flag goes down and the racing starts at the northern edge of Cookridge.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Leeds to Skipton

View from Otley Chevin
View from Otley Chevin

From the outskirts of Cookridge, the climbing starts straight away. It's only a modest amount - from 147m up to 233m on top of the Chevin. East Chevin Road then drops steeply down to Otley.

Market Place, Otley
Market Place, Otley

The race takes Gay Lane, Bondgate, and Kirkgate into the centre of Otley (the Black Horse junction), before heading out (Westgate then Ilkley Road) to the A660 Ilkley Road. The A660 follows the river Wharfe to Burley-in-Wharfedale. The riders continue towards Ilkley on the A65.

Ilkley from Ilkley Moor
Ilkley from Ilkley Moor

The race leaves Ilkley on the A65, but diverts off it to go through the centre of Addingham.

Druggist Lane, Addingham
Druggist Lane, Addingham

After Bracken Ghyll golf club, the riders rejoin the A65, passing Chelker reservoir. A little further on, a left fork on the A6069 leads to Skipton High Street.

Skipton Free Library
Skipton Free Library

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Skipton to Kettlewell

Skipton church
Skipton church

At the top of Skipton High Street, the riders turn left in front of the church, to cross Mill Bridge, and leave town on the B6265 Raikes Road.

They pass through the hamlet of Rylstone, then continue to Cracoe (only slightly larger than Rylstone, but known for the Cracoe Reef Knolls). The next village is Threshfield, which stands on the other side of the Wharfe to its near-neighbour, Grassington.

Beyond Threshfield, the race route follows the Wharfe upstream. There are views across the river to Grass Wood. A mile or two later, the riders pass under Kilnsey Crag (see main photo at the top of the page). Then after crossing the river Skirfare near its confluence with the Wharfe, they arrive at Kettlewell.

Bridge in Kettlewell
Bridge in Kettlewell

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Kettlewell to Hawes

Still following the Wharfe upstream, the riders pass Starbotton, and reach Buckden.

Buckden Village Stores at dawn
Buckden Village Stores

After Buckden, the riders must eschew the left fork to Langstrothdale, lovely though it is, and take the right fork next to Cray Gill. This is the start of the Cray climb.

Cray climb

White Lion, Cray
White Lion, Cray

There's plenty of interest on the way up, including the White Lion in the hamlet of Cray, and a number of picturesque waterfalls. After crossing the bridge over the stream, there's one nearly-hairpin bend. Then it's on up past Cow Pasture to Kidstones Pass.

The climb is about 3km, and the height gain from bottom to top is 165m. That means an average gradient of about 5.5%. On the 2014 Tour de France, it was Category 4. The top of the climb, Kidstones Pass, is at 419m. Beyond the pass, the road is undulating, and it reaches its highest point a couple of hundred metres further on, at 424m.

I'm sure there are places in the world which are transformed by rapid development in the space of 4 or 5 years. Luckily, at Cray/Kidstones, not much has changed since I made this video of the climb before the 2014 Tour de France:

It's always misty when I go up to Kidstones, but I have been able to see far enough beyond my nose to make out the sign pointing to the byway to Stalling Busk.

Top of Cray climb
Top of Cray climb

Descent into Bishopdale

Bishopdale descent
Descent into Bishopdale

The descent from Kidstones into Bishopdale is quite steep at first - 16%. (It's a slope which will be a test for the junior men, who ride in the opposite direction, so climb Kidstones from the other side).

House in Bishopdale
House in Bishopdale, with butterfly artwork

After the initial steep descent into Bishopdale, the gradient eases. The riders will nevertheless need to remain alert, notably just after passing Ribba Hall, when there's a narrow bridge over Bishopdale Beck, with a right turn onto the bridge and a sharp left turn off it.

Bridge over Bishopdale Beck
Bridge over Bishopdale Beck

Near Newbiggin, there's a pub with clear, no-nonsense signage.

Street Head Inn, Bishopdale
Street Head Inn, Bishopdale

After passing West Burton, the road in Bishopdale (the B6160) meets the A684. Here it's a sharp left turn, and soon after there's a bridge over Bishopdale Beck, again with a bend off the bridge. Then it's up the hill to Aysgarth.

George & Dragon, Aysgarth
George & Dragon, Aysgarth

Wensleydale

The A684 now follows the river Ure upstream. This is Wensleydale (a Yorkshire Dale not named after its river). It's a rolling road, with good views across to the other side of the Ure. The road passes a characterful pub at Worton, the Victoria Arms.

Pub, Worton
Pub, Worton

Then it's on to Bainbridge. On the little hill to your right just as you arrive in Bainbridge, there was a Roman fort. The higher ground at the entrance to Bainbridge gives a good view over the village.

Entrance to Bainbridge
Entrance to Bainbridge

The first business on the left is the garage, which advertises refreshments and newspapers on a rather nice hand-painted sign.

Hand-painted sign, Bainbridge
Hand-painted sign, garage in Bainbridge

As they cross the river Bain, the competitors could look out for the Archimedes screw to their left. The village itself has a large, open green. Leaving Bainbridge, there's a sharp left turn, to stay on the A684. It continues to shadow the river Ure as it takes the riders west.

After about 6km, they reach Hawes.

Hawes
View of Hawes

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Buttertubs and Swaledale

Foot of Buttertubs climb
Crossing the Ure at the foot of Buttertubs

The riders turn right in Hawes, to cross the river Ure. The Buttertubs climb looms ahead.

Buttertubs climb

The height at the start is about 230m. The road climbs towards Simonstone. The Simonstone Hall Hotel is more famous now than it was at the time of the 2014 Tour de France, because of Jeremy Clarkson. The BBC says there is a plaque in the hotel, bearing the inscription, 'Here lies the BBC career or Jeremy Clarkson, who had a fracas on this spot, 4th March 2015.'

Hardraw Force
Hardraw Force

Just after Simonstone is High Shaw, which has a camp site called Shaw Ghyll. Here, the route is very close to Hardraw Force, England's highest single drop waterfall (100ft); it featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, as the location of a scene in which Maid Marian saw Robin having a shower.

After High Shaw, the road kicks up more steeply, then the gradient eases over the next 3km to the top (526m).

Climb of Buttertubs
Buttertubs climb

The total distance of the Buttertubs climb is about 5.5km, the height gain is 296m, and the average gradient is 5.4%. At the top of Buttertubs pass, Great Shunner Fell (716m) is to the left, and Lovely Seat (675m) is to the right.

This is the Buttertubs video I made before the 2014 Tour de France:

This is a video of the riders grinding their way up on Stage 1 of the 2014 TDF.

Just after the top are the Butter Tubs themselves.

Butter Tub, Yorkshire Dales
One of the Butter Tubs

The Butter Tubs are 20m deep limestone potholes. It is said that farmers who took this route to market would rest here, and during hot weather, they would lower the butter they had produced into the potholes to keep it cool.

As the descent begins, there's fencing to the right, and a view of Cliff Beck beyond the barrier.

View of Cliff Beck from Buttertubs
View of Cliff Beck, from Buttertubs

Swaledale

There's a mile or two of descent off Buttertubs, into Swaledale. The first village in Swaledale is Muker.

Muker, Swaledale
Muker

The ride down Swaledale, following the river Swale, is very pleasant. It's a rolling road, with plenty of bends. The road crosses over to the north side of the Swale at Gunnerside. It continues via Low Row, Feetham (home to the Punch Bowl), and Healaugh to Reeth.

Reeth
Reeth, seen from Grinton Moor

In Reeth, the riders cross Arkle Beck, then it's back over the Swale to Grinton, and that's where the race leaves Swaledale.

Grinton Bridge Inn
Grinton Bridge Inn

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Grinton Moor to Leyburn

From Grinton, the Grinton Moor climb begins.

Grinton Moor climb

The riders head up Whipperdale Bank towards Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel.

Grinton Lodge
Grinton Lodge

There's a hairpin bend as the race route crosses Cogden Gill, then it climbs up onto Cogden Moor (with Grinton Moor to the right).

Grinton Moor
Moor above Grinton

This used to be lead mining country, and there was a lead smelt mill on the moor. These days, it's a popular place for cycling.

Cycling up Grinton Moor
Cycling up Grinton Moor

You'll also see red grouse up on the moor, betraying the fact that the landowner manages the land for grouse shooting. There's an army shooting range up here too, Bellerby Ranges.

Red grouse, Grinton Moor
Red grouse, Grinton Moor

The Grinton Moor climb is over a distance of about 4.4km, from a height of 180m at the bottom, to 420m at the top. The height gain is 240m, and the average gradient 5.5%. The top of the climb is by Robin Cross Hill.

This is a video of the climb, which I made before the 2014 Tour de France:

This video gives an impression of the excitement generated when the 2014 Tour de France came up Grinton Moor.

From the top, the riders descend Whipperdale Bank to Leyburn.

Police station, Leyburn
Leyburn Police Station

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Leyburn to Ripon

In Leyburn, the peloton passes the market place.

Shortly after, the route takes a right turn to cross the river Ure on Middleham Bridge. The bridge's machicolations give it more of an air of history and grandeur than it perhaps deserves, but they echo the architecture of the genuinely historic Middleham Castle.

Middleham Bridge
Middleham Bridge

It's then slightly uphill to Middleham, a village better known for racing with four legs than two wheels.

A mile or so after Middleham, the riders reach the Cover Bridge Inn at Ulshaw. The bridge by the inn is a proper humpback bridge. It spans the river Cover, near to the Cover's confluence with the Ure.

After crossing the Cover, the peloton will ride gradually uphill to East Witton. The pub there is the Blue Lion.

The next point of interest on the road (the A6108) is Jervaulx Abbey.

Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey

There are bends, dips, and rises as the A6108 takes the riders south east, but the run to Masham is likely to be fast. In Masham, the riders bend left down to the river. They'll see the Black Sheep Brewery on their left, then they cross the bridge over the Ure.

Black Sheep Brewery, Masham
Black Sheep Brewery, Masham

The next settlement, 6km after Masham, is West Tanfield, on the river Ure.

Donkeys at West Tanfield
Donkeys at West Tanfield

Leaving West Tranfield, the A6108 is relatively flat, and the peloton should charge through North Stainley.

North Stainley
North Stainley

Then it's on past Lightwater Valley amusement park to Ripon.

Ripon market place
Ripon market place

In Ripon, the riders turn right on North Street, which takes them to the market place. Then it's along Kirkgate, Duck Hill, and King Street over the river Skell. After crossing the river, the riders are on Bondgate, then they take Quarry Moor Lane to Harrogate Road, which in turn brings them to the A61.

A61 Ripon-Harrogate sign
A61 Ripon to Harrogate sign

The competitors are now on the A61 all the way to Harrogate. The route is the same as that of the elite women's individual time trial. It goes through Wormald Green, past South Stainley and Ripley, and through Killinghall.

The riders head up Parliament Street to cross the start/finish line on West Park. Then they have seven laps of the Harrogate circuit to do.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: the Harrogate circuit

Parliament Street, Harrogate
Parliament Street, Harrogate

The riders will have done just short of 180km when they arrive in Harrogate. The Harrogate circuit is up Otley Road to Beckwithshaw, right on the B6161 Pot Bank/Oaker Bank, right on Penny Pot Lane down to Oak Beck, steeply up Penny Pot Lane/Cornwall Road/Harlow Moor Road, down Harlow Moor Drive alongside the Valley Gardens to the Royal Pump Rooms, up the other side of the Valley Gardens on Cornwall Road, then Hereford Road and Kent Road back to the A61 Ripon Road, and the start/finish point of the circuit.

The men's road race finishes on West Park at the junction with Victoria Avenue and Beech Grove.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: favourites

I think the course is too hard for pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish or Fernando Gaviria. The ride up Penny Pot Lane/Cornwall Road from Oak Beck isn't long, but it's a steep little climb, and doing it seven times is going to be tough.

Among the favourites could be Peter Sagan and Greg van Avermaet. John Degenkolb has said that this is a target, and it could be the type of parcours to suit him.

All photos © Hedgehog Cycling

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: comments

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Men's individual time trial


The elite men's individual time trial at the UCI road World Championships 2019 in Yorkshire.

Read about the men's ITT.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: towns, sights and attractions

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Leeds

Leeds City museum
Leeds City Museum

Leeds is a city on the river Aire and in West Yorkshire. It's population is over 800,000.

It was a centre for textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, but its economy is now based on business, legal, and financial services.

Read more about Leeds.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Otley

Bridge over the Wharfe, Otley
Bridge over the Wharfe, Otley

Otley is a town of around 14,000 people on the river Wharfe, in the Metropolitan Borough of Leeds, and in West Yorkshire. It has a thriving cycle club, and Lizzie Deignan, who is from Otley, is the club's patron.

Read about Otley.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Ilkley

Ilkley from Cow & Calf
Ilkley from the Cow & Calf

Ilkley is a West Yorkshire town of about 15,000 people. It is well-known for the song 'On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at', and as the home of the biggest cycle club in the UK.

Probably because of its location - within commuting distance of Leeds and Bradford, but on the doorstep of the Yorkshire Dales - it's a very popular place to live, with a great quality of life.

Read more about Ilkley.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Addingham

Crown, Addingham
Crown Inn, Addingham

Addingham is a village in West Yorkshire with a population of about 3,600 (Wikipedia).

It grew from a farming village into a bigger settlement when a textile industry was established in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The textile industry lasted until the start of World War I, but then declined.

Addingham is now largely home to retirees and commuters.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Skipton

Skipton Castle
Skipton Castle

Skipton is a market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, with a population of about 15,000 people.

The castle entrance is the town's most imposing landmark. The bustling High Street is popular with locals and visitors alike, especially on market days.

Skipton is on the Leeds & Liverpool canal, and you can do a canal cruise, or hire your own canal boat.

Read more about Skipton.

Skipton Castle
Skipton church

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Kettlewell

Stream in Kettlewell
Stream in Kettlewell

Kettlewell, in Upper Wharfedale, is one of the most charming villages in the Yorkshire Dales. It featured as 'Knapely' in the film Calendar Girls. The population is about 320 (including Starbotton; 2017 estimate from City Population).

The name Kettlewell is thought to originate from the Anglo-Saxon Chetelewelle, meaning bubbling spring or stream (Wikipedia). Kettlewell Beck runs through the village, before flowing into the Wharfe just to the west.

Church in Kettlewell
Church in Kettlewell

A market was established in Kettlewell in the 1200s. From 1700 to 1880, there was lead mining, and a smelting mill here. More recently, the village has made its living from agriculture (with Swaledale sheep found in the area) and tourism. Kettlewell is on the route of the Dales Way, and sits below Great Whernside.

There are some historic houses in the village, dating from the 1600s and 1700s. The church was built in 1820. Kettlewell is well-supplied with pubs - there are three: the Racehorses, the Blue Bell, and the King's Head. There's also a Youth Hostel, which incorporates the Post Office. 

Kettlewell hosts a popular scarecrow festival in August each year.

Church in Kettlewell
Blackbird in Kettlewell

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Wensleydale

Wensleydale
Wensleydale

Wensleydale is amongst the best-known of the Yorkshire Dales, because of Wensleydale cheese. 

Its old name, Yoredale, comes from name of the river, the Ure; but its present name comes from the village of Wensley, formerly the valley's market town. The name Wensley, in turn, comes from the pagan god Woden's ley, or meadow. 

Other villages in this Dale include Castle Bolton, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in Bolton Castle, Aysgarth, Bainbridge, and Hawes.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Aysgarth & AysgarthFalls

Aysgarth Falls
Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth is a village of 178 people (2011 census). 

The name comes from the Old Norse eiki (oak) and skaro (open space), so means something like oak trees in an open space (Wikipedia). Before the Norman invasion, the manor was held by Cnut (presumably a Norseman). Thereafter, Alan of Brittany was the owner. In the Domesday Book, it is referred to as Echescard.

Aysgarth is famous for Aysgarth Falls, which featured in the film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves'. There are three flights of falls in the one mile stretch of the river Ure near Aysgarth - High Force, west of the village, Middle Force, just east of it, and Lower Force, a little further east. They are broad, rather than very high. There's a nature trail through the woods (Freeholders' Wood and St Josephs Wood).

The rock here is part of the Yoredale geological series, laid down on the sea bed 300 million years ago. It is hard limestone, with thin bands of soft shale. During the last Ice Age, the glaciers in Bishopdale ground deeper than those in Wensleydale. After the glaciers melted, this meant that the river Ure had to drop to meet up with Bishopdale Beck.

In Aysgarth itself, the church of St Andrews (rebuilt 1536) is an impressive building, which contains a rood screen dating from the 1500s, probably from Jervaulx. (The monastery at Jervaulx came to an end at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1536-41). 

Aysgarth used to be on the North Eastern Railway until 1954. It was hoped to extend the Wensleydale Railway, which uses this line, to Aysgarth. Unfortunately, the railway had to sell Aysgarth station in 2018 because of financial pressures, and it now seems unlikely that trains will be seen in Aysgarth again.

Accommodation includes the Aysgarth Falls Hotel, and the George & Dragon Inn.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Bainbridge

Bainbridge
Bainbridge

Bainbridge is where the shortest river in England (the river Bain, which runs out of Semer Water) meets the river Ure. The remains of a Roman fort are just to the east of the village. 

In Norman times, the area was dense forest, and a number of villagers worked as foresters. Each evening, the Bainbridge hornblower would sound the horn, to guide foresters and travellers back to the village. The horn now hangs in the Rose & Crown, and it's sounded at 10pm, from 27th September until Shrove Tuesday each year (source: Wensleydale.org).

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Hawes

Hawes
View of Hawes

The main town in Wensleydale today is Hawes. (The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon haus).

Hawes is the home of Wensleydale cheese, Wallace's favourite in Wallace and Gromit. You can find out about it by visiting the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre in Hawes, which has a cheese-making museum (where you can see traditional cheese-making in action, and watch clips of Wallace & Gromit films), coffee shop, restaurant, and cheese shop. 

Hawes was also a rope-making village, and at the Hawes Ropemakers, you can see traditional ropemaking in progress. Outhwaites still make ropes commercially. 

The old railway station in Hawes is home to the Dales Countryside museum, which includes a National Park Information Centre, and displays on the Dales way of life and traditions - with themes including lead-mining, farming, peat-cutting, and knitting.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Hardraw Force

Green Dragon, Hardraw
Green Dragon, Hardraw

North of Hawes is Hardraw Force, the highest above-ground waterfall in England. To visit, you have to go through the bar of the Green Dragon Inn, and pay a small entrance fee. Like Aysgarth, these falls were used as a location in 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.'

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Swaledale

Swaledale
Swaledale

Swaledale is the nothernmost Dale in the National Park, named after its river, the Swale. It's known for the relics of its lead-mining industry, its field barns, or laithes, and stark beauty of its landscapes. The rock here is limestone, and the valley was formed by glacial action in the last ice age.

Near the head of the valley is the village of Keld, where accommodation includes Keld Lodge. As well as the B6270, footpaths link all the villages down the valley, from Keld, via Thwaite, Muker, Satron, Gunnerside, Low Row, Feetham, and Healaugh, to Reeth.

Swaledale sheep
Swaledale sheep

Swaledale has its own breed of sheep, the Swaledale, which has off-white wool and rounded horns. They are hardy sheep, well-suited to exposed regions. They are bred for their meat, and for their wool, though it is coarse and mainly used for carpets and insulation. Swaledale cheese used to be made from ewes' milk, but is now made from cows' milk.

Swaledale attracts tourists, but not in such numbers as Wharfedale. Keld is the crossing point of the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast path, so many walkers visit. In May and June each year, people come to the Dale for the Swaledale Festival, with classical, jazz and folk music on the programme, as well as walks.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Muker and Gunnerside

Gunnerside
Gunnerside

Muker is a village close to the confluence of Straw Beck and the river Swale. It's name derives from Old Norse, and means 'the narrow, newly-cultivated field' (Wikipedia). The farmland around Muker is characterised by flower-rich hay meadows, dry stone walls, and stone barns. The pub in the village of Muker is The Farmer's Arms.

Gunnerside is on Gunnerside Gill, near its confluence with the Swale. In Gunerside Gill, there are many old lead mines, and a leaflet for a walk around them is available from the Post Office. There's employment in tourism, clock-making, hill farming, and construction (Wikipedia); and some on Robert Miller's 36,000 acre estate in Swaledale, all devoted to producing grouse to be shot.

Reeth

Reeth
Reeth

Reeth, which was noted in the Domesday Book, is Swaledale's main village, with a population of just under a thousand people. It is set around a triangular green, and is home to the Swaledale Museum. North-west of Reeth, up Arkengarthdale, is Britain's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn. It was originally built to serve coal miners, producing coal for the lead mines and smelting mills of the valley.

Grinton

Grinton St Andrew's church
St Andrew's church, Grinton

Just beyond Reeth, on the other side of the river, is Grinton.

The church there, dedicated to St Andrew, dates from the 1400s, with fragments left of the Norman church (late 1100s). It's sometimes known as 'the Cathedral of the Dales'. Before a church was built at Muker, Grinton had the only church in the Dale, and the bodies of the dead were carried down the footpath from as far as Keld, 16 miles away. The path became known as 'Corpse Way'. They used wicker coffins, to lighten the load for the pall-bearers, and there are still long, flat rocks along the way, known as coffin stones, where they could pause and rest.

The Bridge Inn, Grinton, is a C15th coaching inn which is popular with walkers, and has folk and blues music on Thursday evenings. (If you play an instrument, you're welcome to bring it along).

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Leyburn

Leyburn Market Place
Leyburn Market Place

Leyburn is a market town with a population of 2,183. It's name is ley (meaning clearing) burn (stream).

It has a large market square, and Friday is market day. There is also a monthly farmers' market. 

Leyburn hosts the Dales Festival of Food and Drink (May Bank Holiday), and the Wensleydale Agricultural Show (end of August).

Many of the walks from Leyburn begin on Leyburn Shawl, a wooded escarpment to the west of the town, said to be named after a shawl dropped here by Mary Queen of Scots, as she tried to escape from Bolton Castle.

Leyburn has a station on the Wensleydale railway, a heritage steam railway which runs from Leeming Bar to Redmire, a distance of 16 miles.

The Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer Michael Dawson comes from Leyburn.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Middleham

Middleham castle
Middleham castle

'Ham' means village, so Middleham is the middle village. 

History

The site has been settled since Roman times: after the 9th Legion conquered York in 69AD, they built the Great North Road, and a branch of it went via Middleham to Bainbridge. There was a Roman guard station near Middleham, to control traffic on the river Ure. 

After the Norman Conquest, it was given to Alan Rufus, William the Conqueror's nephew. He built a wooden motte and bailey castle, and its earthworks can still be seen on William's Hill, immediately south of Middleham. The present castle was begun in 1190. Middleham was referred to as 'Medelai' in the Domesday Book.

In 1389, the Lord of Middleham manor got royal permission for a weekly market and an annual fair.

By 1462, the castle belonged to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (known as the Kingmaker), and in that year, Richard - the future king Richard III - came here to learn the skills of knighthood. He met Neville's daughter, Anne, here, and married her in 1472. (Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth Field - the last English king to die in battle. His remains have recently been discovered).

The castle was dismantled in 1646, but significant ruins remain. 

Horse racing

Middleham has been known for horse race training since Isaac Cape set up here in 1765. Racing is the number one employer, and there is a Middleham Trainers' Association. Trainers in Middleham include Mark Johnston and Micky Hammond.

The Middleham Jewel

The Middleham Jewel was discovered in 1985 by a metal detector-ist. It is a gold pendant with a sapphire stone from the late 1400s, which is now displayed in the Yorkshire museum in York.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Jervaulx Abbey

Jervaulx Abbey
Jervaulx Abbey

Jervaulx was one of the great Cistercian Abbeys of Yorkshire. The Abbey was founded in 1145 by Peter Quintain, a monk from Savigny in France, on land near Askrigg in Wensleydale granted by the Earl of Richmond. (It was called the Abbey of Fors, and the village on that site is now called Grange). It moved to the present site near East Witton in 1156.

Jervaulx, previously Jorvalle, means Ure Valley. The monastery thrived here, and at its height, owned a great deal of land. The monks bred horses, and made Wensleydale cheese. Monastery life ended with the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536/7. The last Abbott, Adam Sedbergh, joined the uprising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, and was ultimately hung, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn.

Since 1971, it has been owned by the Burdon family. When the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission inspected the site in 1982, they awarded it the dubious honour of 'most dangerous place in the UK.' It was restored and made safe between 1984 and 2000.

There is parking, tea rooms, luxury accommodation, and they put on events including weddings.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Masham

Masham market place
Masham market place

Masham has a population of 1,205 (2011 census). Its name is Anglo-Saxon in origin, coming from Maessa's Ham, meaning homestead or village belonging to Maessa.

A settlement was built here by the Angles, probably because the site is close to the river Ure, but rises just high enough above it to be safe from flooding. It is also on the old Roman road from York to Wensleydale. (Signs of a Roman presence, likely a marching camp, have been found at Roomer Common).

In about 900AD, Vikings invaded, and destroyed the church at Masham. The present church has the stump of a prayer cross from the 700s, but most of the structure is Norman, with some additions from the C15th. It was the Vikings who introduced sheep to the region.

The most striking feature of Masham is its very big market place. The town was granted a charter for a market in 1250, and the market place needed to be large to accommodate the many sheep brought here by the monks of Jervaulx and Fountains Abbeys. There's a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Masham is known for it breweries - Theakstons and Black Sheep. The Theakson family had brewed Theakstons beer in Masham for six generations, but the Theakstons brewery was taken over by Scottish & Newcastle. Rather than work for a multi-national, Paul Theakston set up a new brewery in an old building (the former premises of Lightfoot's brewery) in Masham, and the Black Sheep Brewery was born in 1992. Black Sheep is available in many of the pubs in and around Masham. The brewery also has a visitor centre. 

The Theakston family regained control of Theakstons in 2003, and this brewery also has a visitor centre. Their best known beer is Old Peculiar.

Black Sheep Brewery, Masham
Black Sheep Brewery, Masham

Events in Masham include the Steam Engine & Fair Organ Rally, and the bi-annual Arts Festival.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: West Tanfield

Marmion Tower, West Tanfield
Marmion Tower, West Tanfield

West Tanfield is a village on the river Ure. It is an ancient settlement, which was referred to as 'Tanefield' in the Domesday Book (Wikipedia).

The name 'Tanfield' probably comes from Old English, and means field where young shoots grow. After the Norman conquest, the land here was owned by Norman nobility; it was in the hands of the Norman Marmion family until 1387.

The Marmion family lived in a dwelling called the Hermitage, later referred to as Tanfield Castle after it was crenellated. In the 1400s, a gatehouse was added, known as the Marmion Tower. The Hermitage/castle no longer exists, but the marmalade tower is still standing, and is looked after by English Heritage. It is free to visit, and you can go up the stairs to the first floor and look out of the Oriel window.

Marmion Tower, West Tanfield
View from the Marmion Tower, West Tanfield

William, Kate, and Harry watched Stage 1 of the Tour de France here in 2014. No doubt the UCI World Championships 2019 will be another big event in West Tanfield, and the local people will make it special and spectacular.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Ripon

Ripon Cathedral
Ripon Cathedral

Ripon is said to be the 4th smallest city in England, with a population of 16,702 (2011 census). It is at the confluence of the rivers Laver, Skell, and Ure.

History

There was no known Roman presence at Ripon (the nearest military camp being at North Stainley). Ripon was founded by St Wilfrid during the Angle kingdom of Northumbria, around 658AD, at the time that he brought craftsmen from the continent to build the church of St Peter. The settlement was then known as Inhrypum.

The area was under Viking rule for a time. Following the Norman invasion, there was a rebellion in the north in 1069, which was suppressed ('the Harrying of the North'). Ripon suffered at this time, and its population was reduced.

In the 1100s, Ripon developed a wool trade, selling to Florentine merchants, and in the 1300s, it began making and selling cloth. In the 1500s and 1600s, Ripon became a specialist in spurs - hence the expression, 'as true steel as Ripon rowells.'

Ripon Hornblower

During the time of Edward I and Edward II (1200s and 1300s), there were incursions by invaders from Scotland, and Ripon had a wakeman, who was responsible for the safety of the city, and enforcing a curfew. (Nevertheless, Ripon had to pay a sum of money to the Scots on one occasion to prevent them burning the city).

The tradition of the wakeman lives on in the Ripon Hornblower. At 9pm, a horn is blown from the four corners of the obelisk on market square, in a ceremony known as 'setting the watch.' (It is claimed that this has happened every evening since 886AD).

Ripon obelisk
Obelisk, Ripon market place

Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral
Ripon Cathedral

The crypt of Ripon Cathedral dates from the mid-600s, when the first stone church was built here (dedicated to St Peter in 672AD). St Wilfrid was responsible for the first church, and he is interred in a tomb in the Cathedral. (He is also celebrated in the annual St Wilfrid's procession).

Subsequent churches were destroyed by the English king in 948, and during the Harrying of the North in 1069. Much of the present structure was built in the 1100s under Roger de Pont l'Eveque, but the Early English west front dates from the 1200s, and the nave was rebuilt in the 1500s and 1600s in Perpendicular style. It became a Cathedral in 1836.

Ripon's attractions

There has been racing in Ripon since 1664, but the current racecourse dates from 1900.

Close to Ripon are Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden and deer park.

UCI 2019 elite men's road race: Harrogate

Harrogate is a town of about 75,000 people, in North Yorkshire.

Its mineral waters were discovered in the 1500s, and it grew as a spa town in the centuries that followed. Many of the spa facilities were built in Queen Victoria's time.

Royal Pump Rooms, Harrogate
Royal Pump Rooms, Harrogate

You can visit the Royal Pump Rooms museum, drink the foul sulphur water from a tap outside (not advised), or dip into the Turkish Baths.

These days, Harrogate's economy is still partly based on tourism and visitors. It has a major Convention Centre, the Great Yorkshire Showground, and many good hotels.

Attractions include the RHS garden at Harlow Carr, the Valley Gardens, and Betty's tea rooms.

Betty's tea rooms Harrogate
Betty's tea rooms, Harrogate

Read more about Harrogate.

OtleyBainbridgeParliament Street, Harrogate