The Etape du Dales is a stunning ride through some of the UK’s most remote and scenic countryside. The route of 110 miles covers many of the county’s major climbs and the dales of Wharfedale, Littondale, Wensleydale, Swaledale, Arkengarthdale, Birkdale, Garsdale, Dentdale, Ribblesdale – AND there is not a single set of traffic lights on the whole route!
Whichever route you take, each one of them features the opportunity to enjoy magnificent Yorkshire Dales scenery and warm Yorkshire hospitality.
Each of our feed stations are generously stocked with a variety of treats that should satisfy every dietary requirement. We do everything we can to make sure you have the energy you will need to keep you going all the way to the finish back at Wharfedale Rugby Club where a hearty finishing meal awaits.
The Etape rides cover classic routes that tackle a number of renown named climbs – and innumerable bumps and hills along the way. But you get to choose how challenging a ride you make it – from a leisurely day out in the Yorkshire Dales to a challenging epic demanding all your strength and experience.
Still covering the same 110 miles in the Yorkshire Dales as in previous years and starting and finishing at Wharfedale Rugby Club in Threshfield near Grassington. The 2018 event turned the tables and went the opposite way round to the traditional route, and many riders liked the change and the option of a shorter route, so we’re keeping it that way round for another year. The Etape du Dales is an extremely difficult ride and requires an excellent level of fitness, and riders are now faced with the northern ascents of Buttertubs and Fleet Moss, the summit of the latter coming at just 20 miles to go! The course has good signage, legendary feed stations but you still should be aware of the route and terrain. Make sure you have adequate clothing and your equipment is in perfect order, a bottom gear of 34 x 28 as a minimum is recommended.
Threshfield to Ribblehead
After a gentle start up the stunningly picturesque valley of Littondale to Halton Gill, the first major climb of the event comes with the climb of Dale Head over the back of the peak of Pen-y-ghent and down to Stainforth FEED STATION. In Stainforth its a right turn up through Horton-in Ribblesdale and on to Ribblehead. 28.6m
Ribblehead to Garsdale Head
This section is gem! It starts off innocently with a steady climb away from Ribbblehead towards Hawes before turning left (the mini Etape Route carries straight on here so follow the correct signs!) and plunges down in to Dentdale. As with every valley on the route, what goes down must go up and the next climb is the epic pull up to Dent Station, the highest mainline station in England. Cresting the top of the climb, please exercise great caution on the very steep fast descent to Garsdale where right to the Moorcock FEED STATION. 41m
The Moorcock to the Tan Hill Inn
Leaving the Moorcock, head north along Mallerstang Common under the stunning Wild Boar Fell (keep an eye out for the Nine Standards on the peak) to Nateby where right. Continue up the steep climb and over the wild and remote moorland road to Keld to a left turn up yet another steep climb to the FEED STATION at the highest pub in the UK, the Tan Hill Inn. 63m
Tan Hill To Hawes
Leaving the feed station there is a little bit of respite as the road descends gently for 7 miles before the right turn towards Low Row. This signifies the start of the steep and unrelenting climb to the ford which over the years has proved to be a bathers delight – you have been warned. The sensible option is the footbridge. Descend to Low Row and follow the valley of Swaledale west to the bottom of the next epic climb – Buttertubs! Once over here its all down hill to the last FEED STATION on the route out of Hawes. 87m
Fleet Moss and Homeward Bound
With almost 90 miles in your legs the climb of Fleet Moss from the north side is one of the steepest and longest of a very hard day, but the top is a welcome site as its almost all down hill from now on. If you’re not in too much of a rush to finish, the delightful valley of Wharfedale is a sight to behold – one of Yorkshire’s gems so enjoy!
Event HQ –
Wharfedale Rugby Club