Local Climbs – Introduction

Ever since I was a kid riding a bike up a hill has been something that has had a strange attraction. As a very small boy it was Pontac Road in New Marske, hardly a hill at all, then as I got older I ventured over to nearby Yearby Bank to test myself and my Raleigh Grifter against its 1 in 10 slopes – this was before we started using fancy percentages. When I got my first racer at the age of about 13 – a BSA Tour de France with 10 speed friction gears, Weinmann centre pull brakes, a gas pipe frame and a saddle that would cut you in two – I rode over to Osthmotherley where some of my relatives live taking in the seemingly impregnable Scarth Nick. I made it, just!

So when I actually got a ‘proper bike’ I headed for the hills, and I still do, most of the time. As the lungs get smaller and the legs weaker I’ve had to resort to smaller gears and lighter bikes but I’m still quite happy with my climbing, as you get older you adapt. The area I have restricted myself to is that within Teesside, the North York Moors National Park and the area linking both these areas to the coast. The North York Moors and the coastal region of the area are littered with climbs of great character, not to mention gradient, and all the key ones are on the site I think. I’ve ridden a bike over some pretty challenging hilly terrain, including the Alps, the Lake District, the Dales and the Pennines and the North York Moors rivals them all, especially for gradient. Which climb is the hardest? I’ll let you make your own mind up and I keep changing mine, but I’d say it’s between Rosedale Chimney, Caper Hill and Blakey Bank with Boltby Bank snapping at their heels.

For each climb we tell you where to find it and provide a GPS map – be warned though I’m not convinced that the percentages they state are totally accurate, some seem to rate higher, others lower, but they give a guide. We also tell you how long and how steep it is and give our opinions on how hard it is. Finally we comment on its character, take a photo or two and Dave Kirton persuaded me to add in a comment on what it’s like to descend and, against my better judgement, a Sheep Rating – he tells me that he has an expert eye when it comes to reckoning up these enigmatic beasts. When I say we, I have dragged several of my Cleveland Wheelers club mates on quite a lot of these rides, notable mentions go to Dave Kirton, John Kelly, Steve Ward, Mick Rennison, John Price and Ian Jones in particular, but a big thanks to all who have been dragged out and asked to provide a rating. A special thanks to John Kelly for all the hours of slog getting these on the site. Finally we have provided a tick list adding Tour de France like categories for a bit of fun and at some point there will be other things added, such as suggested epic routes to experience several of the climbs in one go.

I’ll also be updating some of the climbs particularly those that I did at the start of the project and there is one great last climb to go on near Old Byland suggested by club member Paul Howe, I just haven’t ridden it yet! But in the meantime fit the compact chainset and the dinner plate cassette and head for the hills!

Our Ratings

For each climb those who attempted it were asked to give it a rating using the guide below. We road the climbs at a decent effort without racing up them – not that it was an option on some of them, getting to the top might be all that could be managed.

  1. Where’s the slope?
  2. No problem
  3. Big ring
  4. Spinning a gear
  5. It’s a difficult one (a homage to Sean Kelly)
  6. Light up all the boilers!
  7. Handlebar snapper
  8. Licking the front wheel
  9. Dinner plate required
  10. Fetch a nurse!

Paul Christon

10 replies on “Local Climbs – Introduction”

Hi Paul,
Just a quick line to thank you for the routes you have put up on your web page. I am in the process of attempting all the 200 hill climbs as per the books by Simon Warren and stumbled across the Cleveland Wheelers site whilst planning my jaunt, I normally turn up and do the hill and go on my way, but saw your routes and opted for the Big Four run. Wow !!!! Brutal isn’t the word and although I missed a couple of turns , and completely missed “Street” I had a crazy day. It did turn out that I wasn’t fully match fit and had feet down on both Caper and Chimney, landing upside down in a ditch halfway up Caper!!! Good job it’s out the way and no traffic.
I shall return later in the year to get the ticks when I’m hopefully a bit fitter
Many thanks for sharing the routes

Glad you enjoyed? them Paul, it’s good to know that people are travelling to savour the delights of our local climbs. Shame you missed Street as it’s not in either of the books, when you return another stretch of brutal road is the 3 climbs that take you up through Westerdale up to Rosedale Head, a brutal stretch of road and not in the books either. If you up here on a Sunday you’d be quite welcome to join our club run for the day – details on the site. If you fancy this email me beforehand and I’ll make sure we have a suitable route planned.


Just realised Paul that you will have descended down through Westerdale towards the end of your ride if you followed the full route so tackling that the other way is what i mean. Two of the other climbs in the second 100 climbs books would be covered if you did out Tour de 33% route – he calls them Sleights Moor and Egton High Moor, whereas we call them Black Brow and Delves, but we’re local so we can call them what we want! Also no shame on putting your foot down on Caper Hill, The Chimney or Blakey Bank (if you did that too) they’ve claimed many a Cleveland Wheeler.

Yes managed to do Blakey Bank !!, but that was early on in my run as I parked at the Car park in Hutton Le Hole. Many thanks for the invite to join the club run…I will bear it in mind for when Ive got my “composure” back !!!

Love your website and, in particular, the climbing guides. This weekend, I’m having a stab at Blakey Bank, Egton Moor, backtrack to Caper and then finish off with the Chimney – thanks for all the info.

Hi Paul, thanks for the feedback and hope your ride goes well, a tough foursome! You may also be interested in our Mountain Challenge Killer Route. Details are under the 365 tab. Most of us in the club would rate the Street climb harder than Egton (which we call Delves), though Simon Warren didn’t put it in his books, not sure why?

Well I’ve finally conquered all 52 hills now and would like to thank you Paul for putting the list together.
The rating is fair as long as you take it as you find it. The ones at the top of the list keep your concentration and the ones at the bottom are there for a reason. The one in between are in between because they are.
I enjoyed doing them and it looks like I’ve given a few others the yearning to give it a go.

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