Pictorial Guide To The Circuit Of Ingleborough


By Richard Bideau.

A damp morning in February 2024 was the setting for a reconnaissance ride of the Circuit Of Ingleborough course. The day featured a light wind from the southwest, ocassional rain, a great deal of mist and a chilly temperature of 6°C – conditions very similar to those on most of my eight competitive rides. This would have been a good day for the event. The pictures give a good indication of what to expect.


The start

The start is next to the farther utilty pole.


First climb

The climbing starts almost immediately, there is no gentle introduction. Care is needed as the road passes by several farms on the way to Clapham.

Distance completed: 0.18 miles

Total climbing: 12 ft


The climb continues

Approaching the first summit, the climb continues.

Distance completed: 1.08 miles

Total climbing: 243ft


The first summit

The sign for Cold Cotes and the first summit is near. This is a place of pain but respite is near.

Distance completed: 1.32 miles

Total climbing: 296 ft


Start of the descent to Clapham

The first summit past and the road dips towards Clapham.


Clapham Old Road

The road continues the descent. A series of sinuous bends demand constant attention.


The Clapham Bends

The final section into the village is steeper and the bends are tight. These are handling limited – great care is needed.

Distance completed: 2.93 miles

Total climbing: 325 ft


Left Turn into Clapham

The first encounter with a junction, a left turn into the village. Marshals will point the way here.

Distance completed: 3.54 miles

Total climbing: 328 ft


Clapham Village

Take care over the bridge and the right-left bend combination at the pub.


Out towards the A65

For the first time a section to suit the time trial specialist. A flat section with gentle bends. Here is a place to put the hammer down and revel in speed.


Junction with the A65

The second junction – left onto the A65. Traffic is approaching at speed from the right. You must look right and stop if the way is not clear. The marshals here will only indicate the direction to take.

Distance completed: 4.44 miles

Total climbing: 336 ft


The A65

The brief section on the A65 is quite tough. There are numerous short rises and falls, bends and side junctions. It can be hard to keep a steady rhythm here.

Distance completed: 5.06 miles

Total climbing: 360 ft.


Left off the A65

The left turn to Settle off the A65 brings an abrupt change, another sharp climb is coming up.

Distance completed: 6.91 miles

Total climbing: 538 ft


The climb to Buckhaw Brow

The second big climb, this one is quite short but it can take its toll.


Almost there

The summit is in sight, with the sign to Feizor on the right, the climb is almost done.

Distance completed: 7.50 miles

Total climbing: 703 ft


And now for something completely different…

The first big plunge -from Buckhaw Brow, the road drops steeply towards Settle. Though Giggleswick scar appears grandly on the left, the rider needs to focus on this extremely fast section. Among the trees great care is needed with rapidly varying light.


Settle

With speed still carried from the big drop, Settle approaches. Over the Ribble and it is an immediate left, turning North onto the next section. Marshals will point the way here.

Distance completed: 9.51 miles

Total climbing: 730 ft.


Starting North

On a windy day the turn at Settle brings a change in character. If it is a tail wind here then the next sections will be a lot easier.


The climbing starts

The first encounter with the Settle-Carlisle railway and also the first of many short climbs. It was here, in 2023, that my ride started to go wrong. I had set off too hard and the rest of the ride was an ordeal.

Distance completed: 10.00 miles

Total climbing: 761 ft


Langcliffe Scar

A fast downhill section brings Langcliffe Scar into view.


Stainforth

The road continues towards Stainforth, though rolling, the elevation is steadily increasing.

Distance completed: 11.63 miles

Total climbing: 944 ft


Sharp kick after Stainforth

The climb after stainforth continues, ending in a short steep section.

Distance completed: 12.25 miles

Total climbing: 1012 ft


Approaching half way

The sharp kick is followed by an equally sharp drop. Once the speed and twisting bend have passed the half way point approaches.

Distance completed: 12.87 miles

Total climbing: 1075 ft


Helwith Bridge

The drop to Helwith Bridge is followed by a sharp right hand bend. Take care not to carry too much speed and avoid the mistake of taking the left turn!

Distance completed: 13.16 miles

Total climbing: 1119 ft


The flat run in to Horton

Here is another section where the time trialler will come alive. The run in towards Horton is flat and stright. Especially with a tail wind, this is a fine section!


Horton-in-Ribblesdale

Take care in Horton villiage, it is often busy here.

Distance completed: 15.02 miles

Total climbing: 1176 ft


Horton-in-Ribblesdale Bridges

The bridges in Horton demand extreme care. After the one shown in the picture, there is an abrupt left turn and another narrow bridge immediately after. There will be marshals here.

Distance completed: 15.48 miles

Total climbing: 1196 ft


The open moor

After Horton, the exposure increases. Moorland scenery dominates. This section has a different character. Though steadily climbing, there are frequent interruptions with sharp bends. A headwind here can make for a grim battle.


Simon Fell

Simon fell can be seen ahead. The scenery is grand but this can be one of the toughest spots. Many miles are gone, legs heavy but the finish is not yet near.


The bends!

One of the sharp twisting descents immediately after a sharp climb. These constant changes make keeping a steady rhythm challenging.

Distance completed: 17.50 miles

Total climbing: 1355 ft


Selside

Another fast descent takes the road through Selside and into another short rise.

Distance completed: 18.15 miles

Total climbing: 1374 ft


The long straight

The long straight! Tailwind conditions here can be exhilarating. A headwind is another matter.


The long straight part 2

It is long but the end is in sight. The character of the course is about to change again.


Railway houses

The straight behind, the railway houses herald the descent towards Ribblehead.

Distance completed: 20.00 miles

Total climbing: 1485 ft


Descent to Ribblehead

Ribblehead is close, a fast descent with Whernside brooding in the cloud.


Ribblehead at last

A left turn at Ribblehead begins the final section of the course. Traffic is approaching from the right, you must stop if the way is not clear. The marshal will point the way.

Distance completed: 20.86 miles

Total climbing: 1492 ft


Station Inn climb

The final section is governed by weather. Seldom is the wind calm here. If it is a tailwind then this is time for elation: the Station Inn climb will be the last major effort. A headwind and it is going to be a battle for the final 5 miles to the finish.


The highest point

Close to the highest point at 1073ft above sea level. There are just under 5 miles to go.

Distance completed: 21.50 miles

Total climbing: 1581 ft


The descent begins

The highest point is behind but the course still has pain to inflict. Ever so gradually at first, the descent begins…


Approaching the Hill Inn

The road is about to make another plunge downwards – just beyond is the Hill Inn followed by one of the fastest parts on the entire course.


The Hill Inn plunge

The picture makes this look benign but it is steep and the speed here can be very high.

Distance completed: 22.83 miles

Total climbing: 1620 ft


The final effort

With the dramatic limestone scars following the flank of Ingleborough displayed grandly on the left, the final effort begins. With a tailwind, it can be almost no effort at all.


The White Scar ripples

The road ascends again to White Scar Cave. The undulation gives a series of false summits. With a headwind they seem unending.


The final summit

This really is it – the end of the climbing. The final summit on the course is just ahead.

Distance completed: 24.47 miles

Total climbing: 1629 ft


The final plunge

White Scar Cave is behind and just ahead is the final plunge to the finish.

Distance completed: 25.62 miles


Seconds to go

The finish is near, just a few seconds more. The finish chequerboard will be in sight. Get ready to call out your race number as you pass the timekeeper.


The finish

And that is that! The finish! Congratulations, you have become one of the several thousand cyclists, professionals and amateurs, who have completed the Circuit Of Ingleborough.

Distance completed: 26.24 miles

Total climbing: 1630 ft