Monday 24 August 2020

The Swale Trail Keld to Reeth

The Swale Trail 

The Swale Trail stretches from Keld to Reeth - a mountain bike trail offering accessibility for cyclists of all abilities.  With unrivalled scenery from the very top of the dale and ending in the pretty little village of Reeth if you can ride a bike then get on it and have a go - you won't be disappointed.

For those who rarely ride a bike then hiring an electric bike is the way to go.  The Dales Bike Centre in Reeth have everything you need  Stuart brought the bikes to Keld and before setting us off he gave us a quick tutorial so that we were confident with the gears and the all- important electric motor functions.  There is no way in the world I could have completed the challenge without the extra boost the electric motor provides when the going gets tough.

And don't be fooled, it is tough.  The inclines, particularly near Keld, are steep and there are several stretches where the track is stony and rough. 

But when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Discussing the pros & cons of the next obstacle.  Under, over or through?

Some take up the challenge whilst others seek the safer alternative - no shame in that!


The day was glorious and as we climbed higher and higher above Muker the scenery became more & more spectacular.

Leaving Muker behind the trail climbs ever upwards out onto the moor road above Gunnerside.  The tarmac road is a welcome relief from the uneven, stony tracks at the beginning of the trail.

We are all getting used to our bikes now - they are a great piece of kit.  The 4 levels of assistance that the electric motor provides is just amazing. 

The Swale Trail claims to be a family friendly cycle ride and whilst we adults had the benefit of electric bikes the eleven year old twins that did the trail with us cycled the whole 12 miles by traditional pedal power alone.  Well done boys you have earned my respect. 


The long sweep downhill into Gunnerside is a welcome rest for the legs!

At the junction turn left onto the B6270.  This is one of the few sections where traffic has to be negotiated but only for a few hundred yards as soon the trail forks off left below the road to Crackpot.

Back on uneven going and this section is a real bone-shaker!  Good time to stop for lunch.

The Swale Trail covers rough terrain, made roads and grass tracks.  It goes up hill and down dale, follows river & stream and in places crosses it.  From open moor to narrow leafy lanes the Swale Trail mixes challenging territory with an easy ride and is an absolute pleasure from start to finish.

Ever since I did the Swale Trail from Reeth to Keld in 2018 I have hankered to do it from west to east and I'm so glad I've done it.  Would I do it again?  Definitely. Thanks to the Dales Bike Centre Harkers Coaches for the taxi ride back to Keld and the Yorkshire Dales National Park