Hardest UK climb?

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ukdodger
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Hardest UK climb?

Postby ukdodger » 10 Aug 2014, 6:50pm

Watching today's racing and hearing the commentator describe Box hill as 'the hardest climb' (it certainly isnt in the Surrey Hills. It's one of the easiest!) I wondered what anyone here would be their candidate the UK's hardest climb. I'd vote for (I think it's called) Healey pass in the Lake district. If it it's not 1 in 1 it comes close!

Oh..And did you get up it?

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Mick F
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Mick F » 10 Aug 2014, 7:05pm

I've often wondered this point.
What is the hardest climb?

Is steep hard, or is long hard?
Maybe short and steep is easy?

The hardest climb I've done over the years is Bealach na ba in the West Highlands in Scotland. Long, steep and tiring. 2,000ft in 5miles.

Pork Hill onto Dartmoor is fairly steep but it's long. The next hill on the way up to Princetown is Merrivale Hill. This is much steeper, but shorter. Either way, it's from 200ft in Tavistock to 1,500ft at Rundlestone Cross in 6 miles but it's 1,500ft of ascent due to the drop into Merrivale before the final ascent.

I've climbed Buttertubs in the Yorkshire Dales and also Rosedale Chimney Bank in the North York Moors, but they were nothing to write home about, though fun and an achievement.
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thidwick
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby thidwick » 10 Aug 2014, 7:08pm

Hardknot pass maybe? Healy pass is in Ireland I think.

bikepacker
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby bikepacker » 10 Aug 2014, 7:09pm

The Healy Pass I climbed with forum member 'jags' is in Ireland not Lake District.

Toughest climb by far in my opinion is Bealach Na Ba on the Applecross peninsular. Slightly more difficult from the Kishorn side.
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Brucey
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Brucey » 10 Aug 2014, 7:10pm

Bwlch y Groes, from the south side.

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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby bikepacker » 10 Aug 2014, 7:14pm

Brucey wrote:Bwlch y Groes, from the south side.

cheers


Amazing how each of us view climbs. When I lived near there I climbed this regularly and always thought from the Bala side was slightly the more difficult. Dinas side to me was more of a long drag.
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Mick F
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Mick F » 10 Aug 2014, 7:20pm

Done it from the north/west side, but I can't think it was that difficult. I was towing a heavy trailer too.
Bealach na ba I did without a load ....... thank goodness.

However, I have taken my Raleigh Chopper up Pork Hill onto Dartmoor ...... and with a concrete block in tow as well.
THAT was hard!
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Brucey
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Brucey » 10 Aug 2014, 7:43pm

I just checked on veloroutes and ByG climbs about 1200ft in just over 1.5miles from the south side. It is pretty brutal.

I think it is longer (and in a few places steeper) from the other side, plus the wind is usually in your face going that way too. But I don't think it is as steep for as long.

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rjb
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby rjb » 10 Aug 2014, 8:03pm

Crikey thats steep. Porlock hill (Exmoor), the A39 not the toll road climbs just over 1200 feet from the village to the AA box at the top in 3 miles. I thought that was steep but BYG climbs a similar height in 1/2 the distance. :shock:
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 10 Aug 2014, 8:09pm

Brucey wrote:Bwlch y Groes, from the south side.

cheers

That's be the "sting in the tail" of the 2014 WWC (profile in sig) that I;m doing in a couple of weeks. Lovely to know it's rated ;)
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foxyrider
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby foxyrider » 10 Aug 2014, 8:11pm

Hard can be measured in all sorts of ways - after riding fifty miles, very steep, very long, bad road surface, terrible bends - I can probably think of examples of all these. Locally the Strines road is talked about in hushed tones, even the TdF didn't dare cross the full length but really none of the climbs are that difficult on their own, neither great height gain nor particular length but ride all five and you certainly will be wishing you had more sense!

For me, a climb like Froggatt village, half a mile of 25-33%, bumpy and often greasy is more daunting than something like Winnats Pass a few miles away.

My current bogey would have to be the only climb I've walked up in over twenty years, High Hill Lane, Settle. I did hit it after four hours plus of a sportive and the short stretch of 30% proved too much for me and many others! Its not technical as such, no sharp turns or particularly bad surface but as you climb each section gets progressively steeper, its quite relentless then you make a turn and a wall of tarmac rises above you. I'll crack it next time but it did what no other climb I've tackled in the UK has so far done ever and only exhaustion in the Alps has caused for some part of a climb. :?
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Mick F
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Mick F » 10 Aug 2014, 8:13pm

Here it is Bob.
West to East.
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iandriver
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby iandriver » 10 Aug 2014, 8:26pm

Hardknott still fills me with dread http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardknott_Pass it's not on its own either with I think it's wrynose pass not far along the same road. Going down was far made taxing than up. A nightmare on the forearms and hands while trying to stop the bike careering wildly out of control with 20% switchbacks (some of them ramps at 30% I hear). Thank god the delightful lal ratty is not too far on.
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby thirdcrank » 10 Aug 2014, 8:44pm

foxyrider wrote: ... My current bogey ...


foxyrider

Your whole post strikes a chord with me and this bit sums it up. I've had this with various roads over the years, usually after taking a bit of a packet in bad weather during a long ride. If it's something met on tour there may never be the chance to go back for another go and if you do, in different conditions you may wonder what all the fuss was about.

One of my projects in retirement was to ride the West Yorkshire Cycle Route in a day. In those days it wasn't properly signed and the instruction sheet was a joke. Over a period of several months I explored the whole route, most sections repeatedly. My bogey then was Marsden Lane, climbing out of Marsden. It's not very long and probably not all that steep but it's only just wide enough for a single vehicle. Especially in Summer, the width can be severely reduced by overgrown vegetation and the muck washed off the fields is only cleared at the edges by the traffic. Unless you want nettles and brambles, you're riding up the loose stuff in the middle. The only passing place is at the hairpin part way up. Having had a couple of close shaves with drivers who weren't expecting anybody else on the road, my heart was always in my mouth. To crown it all, as you approach the blind summit, there's a long strip of cobbles laid in the nearside half of the road as you climb. It's either rattle your teeth out or climb the last bit completely on the wrong side of the road.

On the day of "the ride" my companion for this bit shot up, leaving me grovelling and embarrassed that I'd been warning him how bad it was. These demons are personal.

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Spinners
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Spinners » 10 Aug 2014, 8:45pm

For me, it was the Berriedale Braes on the last day of our LEJOG :lol:

Didn't know it was there and it was a bit of shock to return to 'Cornish' gradients (without the benefit of fresh legs) after finding Scotland very easy until then.
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