We'd been dying to do a good snowy ride up Reeth way, but it was looking like conditions would be too snowy to make a ride possible. Info from our friends at The Dales Bike Centre and a reccy by intrepid squad member Matt suggested the icy backroads and 3-4 foots snowdrifts would make reaching Old Gang mines nigh on impossible, unless we stuck to main (boring) roads.
What the hell. We decided to just go and see what we could manage.
6 of us set off from Reeth village green and headed up the Arkengarthdale road. Nothing too challenging in its constant, gentle climb and we were soon at Langthwaite at which point we turned left onto the minor road to Low Row. This was more interesting - the snowy top-covering had been ploughed off to leave only the icy base layer. Thankfully this wasn't totally glass-like ice and had enough grip in it that we could ride it, albeit slowly and carefully.
On up the hillside we went, gaining 500 icy feet and taking almost 1/2 an hour to do the mile to the summit (though a chunk of this time was spent taking photos, it was quite spectacular scenery).
A right turn shortly after this took us onto the track up to Old Gang Mines. Thankfully for us a 4x4 or quad bike or something had been up that way and had compressed 2 tyre tracks into the snow. We rode these as best we could, once again getting just enough grip to keep going while trying to keep our trajectories straight enough to stay inside the tyre marks.
A quick change and short drive to The Dales Bike Centre for speciality coffees, home made cakes, beans on toast and friendly craic. It had only been a short ride, but it was good given the conditions and it was great to be out seeing the countryside with its blanket of snow.
Reeth - Langthwaite - Old Gang:
11.5miles, 1750ft up/down, 2hrs45