En route home from yesterday’s ride to all England’s highest roads, I rode from Teesdale to Kirkby Stephen. With a couple of hours to kill before my train, I worked them to death, doing some quick research for the Slow Travel Guide to the Yorkshire Dales that I’m updating.
I’d never ridden the B6276 road from Middleton-in-Teesdale to Brough before, so I was pleased to add this to the list of ‘Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, worn it out and now using it as oily rag’.
In Middleton’s pleasant centre (cafes, pubs, Co-op, and old-fashioned things like Victorian shopfronts and butchers and ironmongers and banks) I was intrigued to see a yarnbombed bike.
That B6276 strikes appealingly across the heathery moors. There were some groups of shooters in Range Rovers and tweeds, and it reminded me that it was grouse season: the time of year when people like me grouse about those with unearned wealth usurping the land for their own pleasure.
I had time to do some updating in Kirkby Stephen, which mostly consisted of talking to the lovely ladies in Tourist Info and eating fish and chips.
As the Bradt Guide states, KS’s centre is blighted by traffic, and there was plenty of that today. However, the church offers some peace and quiet, and I enjoyed seeing the ancient stone cross with the image of a horned Loki, aka Tom Hiddleston.
And, in the wiends (local name for ‘alleys’, see, I’ve been doing my research) off the market square, is the cosy riverside calm of Frank’s Bridge, pleasingly named in honour of a brewer.
KS, I learned is a place that feels on the up again, with a thriving local arts and business scene, microbrewers, a new social club whose beer garden has views of Nine Standards Rigg, and only one empty shop (the former McColl’s, which some may feel is a not unbearable loss) which does not look like being empty for long.