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Fleet Moss – Sunday 18th May 2014 and 1982 for Neville Holgate

Preparing for the Raid Corsica in June needs to involve some efforts on long climbs – so the classic Fleet Moss Audax sounded like a good idea for Peter Leonard and me (Allan Taylor). Peter was unable to commit to the full day due to previous commitments so joined me for the first 60 or so km.


The start venue was north of Preston at Claughton Village hall – start. Arriving at about 7.00am., signing on went smoothly with only two or three other entrants on hand. Peter arrived soon after and we got ready for the day ahead – sun tan lotion applied, arm warmers off – in the bag for later use if needed. saw the “Grand Depart” for about 20 riders. The start of this event lets you know what’s coming with about 1km before turning into Bell Lane to climb up to and over Harris End. Employing our local knowledge and not following the other riders who missed the turn saw Peter and I first onto Harris End. Right turn and over the Trough, through Dunsop Bridge and on to the first control at Slaidburn riverside shop and cafe.

Retracing to the monument and onto Lamb and Tatham Fell (well known to riders of the Settle permanent) but avoiding the right turn and dropping into Bentham. A left turn and on to Wennington. Peter waved goodbye with 60km completed to ride back to the start via Wray.

From this point the route heads north mainly on the A683 with the next control at Barbon village after 75km. Heading east on the scenic road to Dent I heard a cuckoo in the woods so stopped to take a picture. Control at the Stone Close cafe in Dent ( juice, water and food) and out over the cobbles.


Passing the Newby Head viaduct which is 104 feet high you just know that around the corner you will climb that height in a very short distance – yes steep it is! There follow several more very steep sections (approx 20%) until you emerge on the B6255 for Hawes.
Now payback for all the effort – 7km of downhill with speeds up to 70kph but never less than 50kph.But all too soon that comes to an end and you reach the edge of Hawes.

Taking the first right turn, signed for Gayle, you start to think about the next 7km, especially as the wind is now a strong headwind! Fleet Moss – according to the Guardian one of Britain’s top ten toughest climbs.

From Hawes to the village of Gayle is a gentle rise. Through Gayle, a nice quiet village, the road exits with a 200 metre ramp at 17%. Then nearly downhill for 1km, around the corner and the next 4km are visible as a series of ramps disappearing into the haze. 17% gradient for the first few ramps and then as you get to the top a section of 20+% until over the visible summit, around the corner and another 20% ramp. The summit tops out at 589m. That part of the job done -114km complete.


Now a serious descent and out through Kettlewell (Ice cream and coke) to Gargrave and the Dalesman cafe control at 154km. (tea and tea-cake).


The last 56km should be easier as I have ridden most of these roads many times, but the hills all appear to be steeper today – Bolton-by-Bowland, Grindleton, West Bradford, Chaigley, Bleasedale and then into the finish.

A grand day out, good weather slightly spoiled by the nagging headwind on the southern leg.


Distance: 213.81 km,
Moving Time: 9:37:47,
Avg Speed: 22.2 km/h
Elevation Gain: 3,458 m,
Calories: 6,500 C,
Elapsed Time:10:56:07
4 litres of drinks, loads of cheese and jam sandwiches en route and 4 energy bars


Neville Holgate on the Fleet Moss Audax in 1982

Allan Taylor’s report on Fleet Moss Audax jogged Neville’s memory in New Zealand and he sent in pictures of his ride in 1982.

Neville - Fleet Moss 200km 1982 (1)



Neville - Fleet Moss 200km 1982 (2)














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