Distance 0.85 miles, 0.5 to the end of the steep bit

Max Gradient 15%

Where do you find it?

Quite easy to find, simply (I say simply here in the sense of finding it, not the ease of riding there!) drop down into Castleton then follow the Esk Valley through Danby, then Houlsyke. There are a lot of little lumps to get over, none of them very long, but eventually you end up at the picturesque village of Lealholm after a short sharp descent which is now very gravelly at the bottom. Once into the village you will come upon a small green near a bridge, the climb goes left avoiding the bridge. Alternatively you could approach the climb by dropping down into the village from Glaisdale if you want to include it as part of a longer ride. Before you start you may want to sample the pastries at the great little café near the beck at the foot of the climb.


This is a popular climb on well frequented route. If you have sampled the pastries and gone straight onto the climb you may regret that decision, apologies for suggesting it, probably better to go the café after the climb. Never mind you’re on it now and it’s quite steep to start with, probably about 12%, enough to get you working, then it flattens a little which gives you time to consider how you are going to tackle the next bit, the steepest section. This is probably around 15% and is sustained for probably around 0.3 of a mile as you head up towards the top of the village. The steepness ends at the left turn which takes you up towards the Beacon and many end the climb at this point but the true top is actually reached 0.35 miles further than this but the gradient is only around 3% or so.

The Descent

It’s a good wide road with a pretty decent surface and sweeping bends so quite an enjoyable descent, you need to kill your speed before you drop down into the village though as the road narrows, there’s a busy junction, traffic, car park exit, people, ducks and sometimes sheep milling about, plenty of potential hazards!

Dave’s Sheep Rating (out of 5)

A few, but not a hot spot in Dave’s experience.



The climb opposite pictured from the descent into the village coming in from Glaisdale.
The climb opposite pictured from the descent into the village coming in from Glaisdale.

Our Ratings and Comments:

  • 5 – I roped Nick Smith into doing this, Nick would probably admit to not exactly being a ‘mountain goat’ but he got up fine on his normal chainset and we both felt it was a solid five. It is steep but not quite long enough to really have you in trouble, though if you go hard at the bottom it might do, I have climbed this quite a few times and seen riders struggle to make the top because they choose to attack it, your choice!

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!

Paul Christon