Boltby Bank (also known as Sneck Yate Bank)

Distance 0.7 miles

Max Gradient 25%

Where do you find it?

I have an admission to make, I really thought I was never going to find this climb, ridiculous though this sounds. I decided to approach it by riding up Scarth Nick, then through Osmotherley, drop down through Thimbleby to join the A19 for a few hundred metres before taking the first left towards Over Silton. Then it would simply be a case a picking my way through the lanes following the signs for Boltby, what could possibly go wrong? Well firstly I could fail to study the map in the required detail beforehand and so have no idea of the order of the villages that I should pass through. And secondly signs for Boltby may not be as abundant as I assumed they would be? Both these things happened. I did eventually stumble upon a sign for Boltby but then when I got to the next junction there was nothing! I had to resort to asking some horse riders and another cyclist and eventually found my way, but somewhere in this ‘Twilight Zone’ I added about 5 hilly miles to my ride. The correct way is to follow signs for Over Silton, then Nether Silton, Kepwick, Cowesby, Kirby Knowle, then finally Boltby, probably best to write these down. Ride through Boltby village, you’ll come to a small sharp incline, this is not the start of the climb, but just after the road then drops to the foot of Boltby Bank. As you approach if you look up at the hillside you can just see a bit of tarmac poking out through the trees, you may think ‘surely that can’t be part of the climb’ well I’m afraid it is.

Description

After my trials finding it I was almost relieved to get to the foot of the climb, this was short lived! On the bright side (I always like to look at the positives) it is a sheltered climb and is tree lined for the most part so offers some protection from the elements, most importantly the wind.

The first quarter of a mile isn’t too bad with a couple of little ramps interspersed with flatter sections, then you come to the crux of the climb, you can see it there before you, steep at first, then really steep, and pretty straight, 25% at least, this is really hard going, it’s hard enough just to keep it moving and it’s long enough to really hurt. As I approached a right hand corner I thought ‘if this carries on at this gradient for another section once I get round the corner this may get quite desperate’. Thankfully it doesn’t and it levels off quite suddenly, the pain over.

Descent

Not done the descent but the surface wasn’t as bad as many local climbs and it’s not that twisty so if you had a bit of a death wish an implausible speed could well be reached, think I’d recommend brakes on from the top especially bearing in mind what I’ve said below.

Once you go over the top though if you carry straight on there is a great descent down towards Hawnby and this is a logical continuation of the ride if you’re heading back towards Teesside.

Dave’s Sheep Rating (out of 5)

No sheep around so to speak but for some reason there were squirrels and rabbits running about all over the shop, not really a problem when you’re ascending at about 5 or 6 mph, but could be a bit messy on the descent I should imagine!

RabbitRabbitSquirrelSquirrel

Photos

The start

The start

Starts to get steeper here, after this the steepness really kicks in and stopping to take a photo wasn’t an option!

Starts to get steeper here, after this the steepness really kicks in and stopping to take a photo wasn’t an option!

Our Ratings and Comments

Paul – 8/9. This is the first big climb on the Ryedale Rumble, it has a fearsome reputation and I don’t mind admitting that I felt a little intimidated by it, especially when I saw the steep section. It isn’t that long though and if you steel yourself, stick it in bottom and just accept that you aren’t going to go up it quickly it isn’t actually too bad. This assumes that you have a low gear available, I had 34×28 and if you’re over geared it could be a weave across the road job. Hard, but the easiest of the big 4 I’d say, Rosedale Chimney, Caper Hill and Blakey Bank are all harder I think.

Note the ratings are :-

  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!
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