This site is based on the book “The Only Way is Up - My 50 Climbs In the Colne and Holme valleys, Huddersfield” by Richard Facey.
From the intro of the book
I have written this book because I wanted to share with others the sheer pleasure of cycling in what I call God’s country. The Pennines, harsh, beautiful, rugged and unforgiving, but I feel so blessed to live in the shadow of these wonderful and inspiring hills. I live in Netherton approximately three miles south of Huddersfield and less than five miles from Holmfirth famed for its “Last of the Summer Wine” billing.
I started cycling when I was seven years old, once I had managed to save enough money to buy an old three speed Sturmey Archer bike for the princely sum of 7/6d or 37.5pence in today’s money!! Last of the big spenders, well I am a Yorkshireman!! We lived in Marsden where Hylton Wrigley, a local bike frame builder, lived across the river from us and he enthused me in all the things to do with bikes and cycling. The blue touch paper had been ignited and I have loved cycling ever since. My favourite part of cycling is climbing and we have an abundance of climbs right on my doorstep, in fact I have picked my fifty favourite climbs all within six miles, as the crow flies, of my home. They are all contained within the Colne and Holme valleys. Some of the climbs are short, as little as 0.3 miles, others are longer and include one at just over four miles long. Compared to the climbs on the continent they seem small but they are certainly steeper than most of them, many of them having sections where the inclines are 18%. The Alps and Pyrenees are stunning in their majestic settings but we also have magnificent views. The total mileage for the fifty climbs (not including the sections in between) is just over 67.9 miles with a height gain of 24,088 feet, well over the height of Kilimanjaro, giving an average incline of 6.7% overall.
I have tried to keep the routes simple and on quiet roads as much as possible, but there are a few that are main roads and will be busy if tackled on weekday rush hours. Many have absolutely stunning views, some stretching forty miles, both going up or down or once you are at the top. Some will be fun and exhilarating, others purgatory and some that will just sap the legs and almost bring you to a standstill, but all will be fun (in the end) and give you massive satisfaction. Don’t forget that you are only fighting gravity unless you wish to challenge the clock! Many have “Strava” sections so you can see how you are doing compared to others. As the old adage says NO PAIN NO GAIN!! If you want to be a good hill climber and conquer those hills you can’t be just a strong rider you need to want to suffer pain!! Though it does help to be skinny as well!!
Many of these climbs are extremely close to each other, in fact three of them are in the middle of Holmfirth and are only a matter of yards from each other, so several climbs can be tackled in one outing or you can pick them off one at a time. Alternatively there is the ultimate challenge of doing all in one big hit!! Several of the climbs have been used by Tour de Yorkshire and includes Holme Moss which was used by the Tour de France in 2014
All the climbs can be found on Ordnance Survey Landranger map No 110 or in the A to Z street atlas of Huddersfield. I have given each climb a map reference, with OS coordinates for the start and also a written description to help you find them. I have added photos to help whet your appetite and a brief description of the course itself. I haven’t given them a grading, I leave that for you to decide your thoughts of the climb. One man’s heaven can be another’s hell. Some of the climbs are best tackled in reasonably good weather as some will be extremely difficult if it is windy, especially the Wessenden Head Road climb which is very exposed and climbs up to 1500ft above sea level. I have included the distance to be covered, the amount of height gained and the average gradient on all the climbs, but sometimes the climb will finish at its highest point, whilst others will continue to a road junction enabling you to get even better views.
I hope you enjoy trying these hills and that you then spread the word about cycling being one of the best pastimes one can experience.