Westerdale Road – 1st climb (the Artist’s Cottage)

Distance 1.02 miles

Max Gradient around 15-18%

Where do you find it?

Following the Kildale to Commondale road at the top of the first climb you will enter a wooded area (marked Crag Bank Wood on the OS map) and then a crossroads at the high point where it meets Percy Rigg. Take the road to the right signposted Westerdale. You start with a steepish descent, probably around 12-15% at its steepest, the road swings gently right as it enters a wooded area, then more sharply left at the bottom, the climb starts just before a building called West House – it is also known as ‘The Artist’s Cottage’ Dave assures me, he’d better not be spinning me some sort of yarn!.

Description

The first of three climbs on a stretch of road that is one of the toughest on the North York Moors, it has no specific name that I’m aware of. You can carry some speed from the descent but it is too long to try to blast up it so it is a matter of clicking down the gears until you find a speed and cadence that you are happy with. The road starts gently but then gets steeper to perhaps around 15-18% for around 0.3 of a mile and goes more or less straight up. It starts to have an effect as you approach what is a very bumpy cattlegrid, especially when you are crawling along! The gradient eases after this to maybe 8% before flattening off further and you can start to recover before the descent that takes you to climb 2 (Hob Hole).

As a descent it’s a case of how fast dare you go? The surface is decent but you need to take into account the left at the bottom and as it enters a wooded area you can’t see traffic coming up the hill.

Photos

A view of the steep section from across the valley

A view of the steep section from across the valley

The start of the climb

The start of the climb

The steepest section from below, engage low gear now!

The steepest section from below, engage low gear now!

The end of the pain and the dodgy cattlegrid!

The end of the pain and the dodgy cattlegrid!

Our Ratings and Comments

  • Paul – 6. Tough but not too long, now you’re here it makes sense to do the two other Westerdale climbs afterwards (you can escape to the left in between both though) so you may already want to think about keeping a bit in the tank.
  • Dave – 6. A good test of early season form, it’s consistently difficult with the added problem of the cattle grid which you have to sit down over

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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