UPDATE : NOW WITH MAP (see below)
The Nidderdale Greenway. An unblemished by cars Harrogate to Ripley cycling and recreation path. 14 years in the making, (or rather nearly 14 years floundering in red tape then a few months in the making) the final section of the path opened a few days ago. The final hurdle was the controversial viaduct section but I’m very pleased to report is now open to the public. We (and half of Harrogate it seems) went to check it out this morning, and what a beautiful spring morning it was to boot.
When I was a youngster, the viaduct was open – you could get to the other side and loiter on the top – but then, it was blocked off. Wandering around on the other side of the bridge today was almost surreal – the south side of the viaduct I know really well, but the north side, even though only a hundred meters or so away was totally new scenery. It was like the equivalent of opening the door to a new room in my house that I didn’t know existed.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that there’s another big Harrogate cycling story kicking about at the moment – and that is that Le Tour De France is coming to Harrogate. In 2014, the Grand Départ will be in Yorkshire and Harrogate will be the finish line of day 1. Perhaps the powers that be were keen to avoid any Piss up in a Brewery comparisons being drawn by ensured that the local cycle path was completed in good time before this major cycling event put us centre stage in the cycle world spotlight. I don’t think Le Tour actually goes down the new path, by the look of the map, but it’s a long way off and things may change. In some ways, it makes sense to use the cycle path to host a cycle race, but an obvious problem would be that it’s perhaps not big enough to accommodate all the cyclists, let along spectators, support crews, etc.
There’s a really good review by Dave Prince, over on HarrogateCycle.org by the way, of his first hand experience of the path. It’s well worth a read. It’s a handy reference point for the maps as well if you’re unfamiliar with the area. He (unlike me) did the full run on a bike with his family.
Whilst we were up there, I planted a brand new geocache. It’s still in review with the people at www.geocaching.com and it may be the case that some other geocacher has beaten me to it so it may need to be adjusted. I’ve called it ‘Tour de Harrogate’ which must be said in a broad Yorkshire accent please.
Planting the cache concluded our mixed bag on the success spectrum, of geocache adventures this morning. Cracking day for the hunt. And the race.
MAP and ROUTE INFO
I can see from my stats for this site that a lot of people are landing here searching for info about the route – particularly maps. I’ve created a ‘mapometer’ of the route so you can print or download as GPX the route. Click here to visit the mapometer page. I’ve started it at (near ASDA Harrogate) Council car park on Dragon Road. There’s another logical start (/end) point, and that’s the car park where the route intersects Bilton Lane Harrogate. Hope this helps!