Distance: 1144 metres, Ascent: 96 metres, route map
The cobbled trail of The Hough provides a back route into Northowram from Stump Cross making a more scenic alternative to the A-road. Come back down it afterwards at any decent speed and you’ll soon discover which of your fillings are loose.
Unlike most other routes in the 50 this stays urban all the way. OK, maybe that should be suburban but it sure ain’t rural. It’s not one of those rides where the windy moorlands greet you as you leave a narrow wooded valley. Instead you have a wall of cobbles to ascend.
To be honest I kind of underestimated this ride. I was going to do the Shibden Wall next and this looked like a handy sort of warm-up act to the main event. Which is about right as it turns out but my focus on the star turn meant I was a little unprepared for how steep this ride gets. And a healthy section of cobbles always makes a ride tougher than the stats might suggest.
The worst part of the ride is getting to the start. The Stump Cross Inn is right next to the busy intersection between the A58 and A6036. It’s one of those awkward junctions where motorists are too busy looking out for themselves to worry about cyclists. Keep your wits about you as you turn into Kell Lane which is just to the right of the pub and then The Hough is an immediate right turn.
The climb starts straight away but it’s not so severe at first. It’s a gentle slope and while it’s not a great surface the road is at least covered in tarmac. But as you push on up the hill, away from the mayhem of the A-road it gets much tougher. Your salvation comes at a price.
But, do you know what? I’m getting into this whole cobbles malarkey. Cobbles are good. We should have more cobbled roads. In fact, now that I think about it, all roads in Northern England should be cobbled. Just imagine how that would improve the quality of our lives…
The cobbles of The Hough ramble on as long as I do but when the road swings round to the left you know it’s not for much longer. That corner is the steepest part and the cobbles surrender shortly after. Accelerate your way through suburbia, dodging the Pet Shop Boys as you do so, until you reach the Shoulder of Mutton which will serve nicely as a final destination.
One last thing. I don’t know how you’re supposed to pronounce the name of this road. Is it “Huff” or is it “Hoff”? I’m hoping Hoff.