Distance 1.16 miles
Max Gradient 20%
Where do you find it?
Finding it is no problem, you simply drop down into Farndale, the physical effort to get there though is another matter. The most logical way to get there if you are going to include it in a ride from Teesside is to ride up towards Blakey Ridge from Hutton le Hole (treat yourself and do the Chimney first) and after about a mile take the second road that branches off left from the main road which is marked Farndale. Another option would be to take the earlier left which heads towards Gillamoor, although this takes a little longer. Both roads are hard going and far from flat as you make your way to Church Houses and the start of the climb. As you drop down to Church Houses have a look to your right to see what awaits you if you like to be intimidated. There is a sign that directs you to Blakey Bank, no going back now!
The second big climb on the gruelling Ryedale Rumble Sportive. The climb starts just outside Church Houses at a little stone bridge, you can join the climb a bit higher up near the 20% sign by taking a road that cuts the first bit out but this is cheating! The surface is really poor on this early easier section, then as the surface improves the road just gradually gets steeper to around 10% or so until you reach the junction.
This next section is steeper still, maybe 15% or so until it flattens off a bit as you approach a cattle grid, this is when the climb really starts, and there’s no real let up until the top, so reach into your suitcase of courage and grit your teeth! The next section meanders upwards at around 18-20%, you may also have to meander between sheep, I had to and this doesn’t help matters, but it does provide a momentary distraction from the slope. When you get to the end of this steepest section (which is quite long) the next section, although not as steep, is still demanding, maybe 15%, and this goes all he way to the top and despite the fact that you know that you’re going to make it this somehow doesn’t help. I had 65 miles in my legs by this stage in the ride and was praying for the end to come, which thankfully it does at the junction with the main road.
The climb is also exposed for more or less the whole way, so is affected by the wind. As a reward for your achievement you can now look back down from the top of the climb at the view into Farndale which is magnificent. Also the Lion Inn is only half a mile along the ridge if you want a great place to stop and savour your efforts.
Another descent that I’ve never done, I suspect that it would be a brakes on job for the most part with the steepness and the bends and the bottom is badly surfaced so I would think that it wouldn’t be too enjoyable.
Dave’s Sheep Rating (out of 5)
Sheep all around on the steepest section above the cattle grid, another sheep hotspot so:
Our Ratings and Comments
Paul – 9. Long and the top section is tough all the way, I’d done Boltby Bank earlier on in the ride and although Blakey is not as steep it is harder in my opinion, especially as it doesn’t just end after its steepest section. Not quite as hard as Caper Hill or the Chimney but close, third hardest on the site. I just put it in my lowest gear at the 20% sign and left it there for the duration, again if you’re over geared it will be a very unpleasant experience.
Note the ratings are :-
- Where’s the slope?
- No problem
- Big ring
- Spinning a gear
- It’s a difficult one (a homage to Sean Kelly)
- Light up all the boilers!
- Handlebar snapper
- Licking the front wheel
- Dinner plate required
- Fetch a nurse!