Hardest UK climb?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
lbomaak2
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby lbomaak2 » 30 Aug 2016, 9:50pm

In 1975, at the age of 17, I decided to cycle from my then home in Bedfordshire to St. Andrews, for the start of my first university term. I had a Triumph Roadster, with Sturmer-Archer 3-speed hub, and enough luggage for a 9-day journey. I was equipped with 4-miles-to-the-inch road maps, with all minor roads shown but no indication of height or gradient. I was aware of something called "The Pennines" up the middle of Northern England, and that most of the Youth Hostels I was intending to use were in The Pennines; but I had no concept of what cycling in The Pennines would involve.

Day 1, to Copt Oak YH went well. Day 2, to Hathersage YH, was a bit tougher, but no serious problems. On the next day I did the Strines Road (which I see has already been mentioned on this thread). On Day 4, after a night at Mankinholes YH, I took a little road that climbs northward out of Todmorden, straight up onto the top of the moors. On Day 5, needing to get from Wensleydale to Swaledale, I took the Fleak Road (higher and steeper than the better known Buttertubs). On Day 6, I realised that I was so far behind schedule that I would need to abandon The Pennines, and took the train from Darlington to Alnmouth.

And yes, I did have to walk up every one of the aforementioned climbs -- and walked down some of the descents, as I didn't trust my brakes.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 31 Aug 2016, 9:47am

Hi,
Mick F wrote:No fee required, and I'm not a psychologists either. :lol:

What I've done, is to rest at the bottom. Let the muscles relax. Look around and admire the countryside.

Give it five minutes or so, then start off gently and take your time. Don't rush it, breath deeply, and don't panic about it.
Just turn the pedals and enjoy the effort.


But that sounds like what Sportive riders do, well the first line of post..............................your second line is out of a manual that went out of print in the thirties........................... :lol:

My advise to sportive tdf wannabies is the first line but.....................start a mile of two before the climb and the right colour metal (gold carrot) will be yours......................(climbs en route sportives awards if in time)

I always follow my advise in training unless I chicken / am lost and find some noted hill/ end of hard day camping, then its on foot :?
If You Don't Try You Don't Do.....Don't Do You Don't Get...I'm Still Trying....Well Very..
You'll Find Me At The Top Of A Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

Steve
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Steve » 10 Sep 2016, 5:08pm

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

cheers

Ah, that's reassuring, last time I did it I just thought I was getting too old for this game

cooper_coleraine
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby cooper_coleraine » 10 Sep 2016, 6:28pm

I struggle on the String Road on Aran Island in the inner Hebrides.

BigFoz
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby BigFoz » 7 Oct 2016, 7:15pm

String Road is a haul. The Ross is harder. Arran is wonderful for riding though.

Annoying Twit
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Annoying Twit » 7 Oct 2016, 7:53pm

Here is a list of the top 10 hardest climbs in the UK. I found it while googling Cleeve Hill, as I have 'history' with that hill. However, I was climbing it by the easiest route, and didn't make it twice. I now feel that I know what I need to do in terms of being stronger/fitter in order to climb it.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012 ... cle-climbs

EDIT: I just went up Cleeve Hill from Woodmancote on Google Maps. Mostly Google maps seems to flatten out hills, but that looks pretty damn challenging to me.

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Philip Benstead
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Philip Benstead » 7 Oct 2016, 8:48pm

Annoying Twit wrote:Here is a list of the top 10 hardest climbs in the UK. I found it while googling Cleeve Hill, as I have 'history' with that hill. However, I was climbing it by the easiest route, and didn't make it twice. I now feel that I know what I need to do in terms of being stronger/fitter in order to climb it.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012 ... cle-climbs

EDIT: I just went up Cleeve Hill from Woodmancote on Google Maps. Mostly Google maps seems to flatten out hills, but that looks pretty damn challenging to me.
done 8 of 10
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TrevA
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby TrevA » 7 Oct 2016, 9:25pm

I noticed that this thread made it into the latest edition of Cycle magazine, and I got a mention!
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
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Annoying Twit
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Annoying Twit » 7 Oct 2016, 9:26pm

Philip Benstead wrote:
Annoying Twit wrote:Here is a list of the top 10 hardest climbs in the UK. I found it while googling Cleeve Hill, as I have 'history' with that hill. However, I was climbing it by the easiest route, and didn't make it twice. I now feel that I know what I need to do in terms of being stronger/fitter in order to climb it.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012 ... cle-climbs

EDIT: I just went up Cleeve Hill from Woodmancote on Google Maps. Mostly Google maps seems to flatten out hills, but that looks pretty damn challenging to me.
done 8 of 10


Do you laugh at my thinking Cleeve Hill by the easy route to be hard? :)

BTW: Is this you?

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Ivorcadaver
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Ivorcadaver » 8 Oct 2016, 7:12pm

NATURAL ANKLING wrote:Hi,
David_S wrote:I'm not sure that Bealach na ba is the longest climb in Britain. That 'honour' may go to Great Dunn Fell Road in Cumbria 2,206 feet in 5.6 miles.
http://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?qryMountainID=7380
Climbs in LD tend to be very steep and frequent, made worse by appalling narrow road surfaces and sharp bends, but tend to be shorter.

As Great DunnFell at one point had highest recorded wind speed some 150 mpg in 69 though I only find mention of a mean hourly of 92 mph in 74, England.
Cross Fell (Formerly Fiends Fell) some 150 feet higher next door to the weather station at gt dunn fell. is like the Lost World as I happen upon it with my camping gear in summer time, a platue of 1 x 1/2 a mile total totally covered by snow.
Gt Dunn Fell would be some mean feat on a windy day, I prefer that a long climb beats short steep hills but I apreciate that lack of grip might just unseat you not the effort.
These parts of the pennines typicaly have freezing temp for 150 days a year and snow for 100, barely 2.5 hours of sunshine a day average for the year.


I can vouch for the climatic conditions on Great Dun Fell - sub zero gale force wind in May on a Brompton a couple of years ago. The ascent was physically the hardest thing I have ever done and the descent was terrifying, puny Brompton brakes, jay walking sheep, steep drop offs should you veer off the road. Bonus is that for the most part traffic free. Never again (on a Brompton)...

Mike Sales
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Mike Sales » 8 Oct 2016, 7:34pm

I used to drag the somewhat informal club of which I was a member on a Christmas ride to what I think is the highest tarmac in Wales. This is the service road (not a public road) to the top lake of the Dinorwig pump storage scheme. I reckon this must be 2,000 feet at least. On one occasion we got only a hundred yards past the gate which excluded the car bound public. The snow was fairly deep but thaw/frozen to an icy surface. I used to take mince pies and a flask of hot whisky with cloves and sugar. On another occasion there were sheets of water ice in places across the road, but we made it without damage.
I have failed to ride climbs harder in themselves, but on the occasion I mention this one was too hard to get a bike up. At least without an ice axe and crampons.

Mike Sales
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby Mike Sales » 8 Oct 2016, 8:11pm

I have done a couple of Wild Wales Challenges, and I got up most of the climbs. One of my failures, one which sticks in my mind, is north from Glyn Ceiriog in the Ceiriog valley, up past the church and over the hill to Llangollen.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 8 Oct 2016, 10:30pm

Hi,
Thanks for digging my old post up I had forgotten about it and was constructing another.
Apparently fastest is cairngorm's @177 unofficial I think.
134 mph Gt dun fell in the sixties? (Highest road in England and 2nd to Cross Fell in height) and 160 something in I thought 68/9, but stuggling to find that info?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_Scotland_storm
2016-10-08_220437.jpg

73 mph is hurricane.
If You Don't Try You Don't Do.....Don't Do You Don't Get...I'm Still Trying....Well Very..
You'll Find Me At The Top Of A Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

iviehoff
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby iviehoff » 12 Oct 2016, 5:40pm

Annoying Twit wrote:Here is a list of the top 10 hardest climbs in the UK. I found it while googling Cleeve Hill, as I have 'history' with that hill. However, I was climbing it by the easiest route, and didn't make it twice. I now feel that I know what I need to do in terms of being stronger/fitter in order to climb it.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012 ... cle-climbs

EDIT: I just went up Cleeve Hill from Woodmancote on Google Maps. Mostly Google maps seems to flatten out hills, but that looks pretty damn challenging to me.

Purely in the judgement of that writer. It's all a question of how you trade off steepness vs height. On climbbybike.com they have a "difficulty" score calculated from a particular trade-off, and on that one Great Dunn Fell is the toughest climb in UK, followed by Bealach na Ba.

I've been up Buschcombe Lane, (Cleeve Hill) numerous times and it's quite ridiculous to include it in the same company as the rest mentioned here. I confess I failed get up it at my last attempt, but that's anno domini for you, and I have bicycles with lower gears than I was on that day.

Also quite wrong to say that the harder ascent of Wrynose is from the west - there is absolutely no comparison on this occasion, Wrynose from the west is no trouble at all.

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foxyrider
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Re: Hardest UK climb?

Postby foxyrider » 14 Oct 2016, 9:42am

There are lots of things that influence our concept of how hard a climb is, some is subjective, some influenced by weather/season/fitness.

Certainly a climb can be harder for one rider than another - even if their fitness level is similar so it's not a fixed thing. We can certainly grade climbs by length/metres gained/max grade etc which will give an indication of difficulty but can throw up some anomalies - a short steep hill may score similar to a longer less steep climb that gains more height. Having ridden over some of the biggest Alpine passes I can certainly attest to this.

For example Holme Moss, the iconic Yorkshire climb is measured from a point above Holme village where wind rather than grade is the bogey but the climb really starts down in Holmfirth, the grades on the lower slopes enough to kill off TdF riders in 2014! Then of course a hill on a stripped road bike will probably be easier than the same on a loaded tourer even with higher gearing

As far as the UK is concerned Rosedale Chimney is a climb which I consider top of the list - grade/surface alone make it difficult, the bends add to the difficulty and the lack of run in raises the bar further.
Convention? what's that then?
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