Last month we published a diary entry by the late Tim Robinson, from Settle, who had detailed a particular journey on his bike one winter in the Dales. His cycling companion at the time, Richard Simmons, saw the article and felt compelled to add his own memories of the day. Here is his story.

Craven Herald ‘A Cycle Ride to Remember in the Yorkshire Dales’ April 21, 2022.

Tim Robinson was an enthusiastic athlete - he ran at least five marathons - and also loved cycling. His friends knew wherever he was he wouldn’t be far away from his bicycle.

Tim is now no longer here, having died aged 26 in 1995.

At the time of his cycle ride he was 19, as fit as a fiddle and a with a typical teenage ‘can-do’ attitude.

On this occasion in 1988 he set off alone and ended up riding into a ‘ferocious Yorkshire Dales winter’.

He was meeting six of Skipton Riding Club members in Aysgarth the following day (one of them Richard Simmons) and his route was planned meticulously.

When the cyclists met up the plan was to cycle over the rough track of Stake Moss - Bainbridge to Buckden -. Three of them, Tim, Richard and Harry Smith, then aged around 70, decided to carry out the planned route while the others decided on the metalled roads.

The route to Stalling Busk was hampered with snow and two inches became 12. It was a slog but they made it.

Tim details the struggle he had and his diary mentions Richard’s decision to ring his parents.

Richard, who lives in Pateley Bridge, takes up the tale....

“What a surprise to stumble across this article, and the memories it brought back.

“I remember that day well, and Tim of course, who was out frequently with the Skipton Cycling Club. I think we must have been the same age, and I was saddened to hear of his early passing.

“Before continuing, It would only be fair pass on my gratitude to Stuart Jackson and Ruth Owers, who developed young riders like myself, protecting us from headwinds, giving us encouragement when we were flagging, and handed out a chocolate bar if we were spent. Many times the club was invited back to Stuart’s house, in Threshfield, for tea and cakes.

“Picking up the threads from Tim’s article; I was really tired and cold after battling through the snow drifts over Stake Pass, and the onset of fresh snow was the last straw. I knew it would be one of those extra-long days where I would be making my way home across the moors to Greenhow in the dark, with dynamo lighting that slipped and failed in sub-zero conditions.

“Mum and dad would be worried about me and I had decided to stay with the club as far as Grassington before ‘phoning home and asking if there was chance of being rescued in the car.

“But as we crossed Kettlewell Bridge, I saw their car parked at the roadside, and they had obviously gone out on their favourite walk to Arncliffe. I said my farewells, and waited for them to return. It was a long wait.

“The light started to fail and there was still no sign of them. I was getting colder and colder, and it tried to snow again. I was now too cold and tired to ride home, but I couldn’t leave to shelter in a café in case my parents returned and drove off.

“Once it had been dark for half an hour or so I was frozen to the bones and decided something must have gone wrong. The cafes were now closed and the pubs yet to open. I was just 18, but was a stick of a lad, and looked more like 15 and didn’t think I would get in anyway.

“Instead, I knocked on the door of the police station to explain my situation and was promptly seated in front of the fire with a hot drink and offered a whisky to warm myself up. The officer suggested I phoned home, which I did, and as expected was no reply.

“We tried again later and there was an answer to the mystery. They had locked the keys in the car, realized as they shut the door, and had to walk all the way to the far side of Greenhow. They had only just got home and were not best pleased to hear from me!

“I had only recently passed my driving test and a plan was hatched. Dad would drive back to Kettlewell in the Mini with the spare keys for his car, and I would drive the Mini home. Thankfully the roads were fairly clear of snow and we made it home without further incident, but it would be a couple of days before I finally warmed up. It’s not a ride I would forget!”