Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Various Climbs aroung Gainest, King Cross, Halifax

It's a bit hard to pin this area down on the map, in terms of a name. It's just to the south of King Cross, in the South East of Halifax, close to the boundary with Sowerby Bridge.  Names such as Delph Hill, Scar Bottom, Pye Nest, Darcey Hey appear on the map.  I've gone with Gainest, as the major landmark is Wainhouse Tower, which sits on the top of the hill and dominates the area.  This is billed as the tallest folly in the world, and Grade II* listed. It's listed on the register as "Wainhouse Tower, Gainest", so that will do.  I also happen to like the name Gainest, especially as people misread it as "Gaine Street", which it isn't.

There are quite a few cobbled streets in this area, most of them on some sort of slope.  The "jewel in the crown" is probably Wakefield Gate, reasonably steep and long.  However, Gainest (which appears only as a road name, as far as I can tell), is fun too, especially when approached from the North side.  Darcey Hey Lane is very gentle, but connects the route from the main A58 Rochdale road through King Cross.  The area is on the north side of the Calderdale, and you can also reach this with the climb up Woodhouse Lane.

It's possible that the upper hill side (Gainest, Wakefield Gate and Delph Hill Road) could be called Delph Hill.  "Delph" is a good word to look for in place names when trying to spot interesting climbs.  It's a local word for "quarry" (I assume it has the same origin as "delve", which is a an archaic verb from dig, with old english origins).  Sure enough, there was a quarry at the top of this hill.  Old quarries tend to be place quite high up hillsides, as the starting point where there were natural exposed rock outcrops that were (relatively) easy to get at.  Of course, the quarries, placed up on the hillsides, needed roads to carry the the rocks away, ideally down to a river, canal or railway.  So you tend to get some nice routes up the hillside to them.

Darcey Hey Lane, looking
down from the northern end
I'll cover Wakefield Gate and Woodhouse Lane in another post, but for now we have Gainest from the North, from the South, Delph Hill Road (comes up halfway up Wakefield Gate) and Darcey Hey Lane.

Darcey Hey Lane

A gentle gradient, I just used it as the entry point into the area

Darcey Hey Lane, looking up
from the junction with Gainest
I confess I didn't bother to ride up it, as I had other things to do.  It's a nice wide and well maintained road, as can be seen from the photos.  It's lined with houses, and as a main route into the area from the A58, gets a fair bit of traffic.


Gainest Climbs up towards the tower (although you can't really see it) in two directions, forming a "L" shape on the map.

The northern narrow entry to Gainest.
 Easy to miss. Steeper than it looks.
Gainest from the top of the Southern approach
Gainest, the southern approach,
looking up from the Bottom
The most exciting way to do this is from the Northern end. This is a very narrow lane, certainly not built for cars, although from the marks you can see where people have grounded them on the stones.  It's in good condition though.  There are a lot of trees, and I think this stopped the garmin from picking up a good trace.  It's certainly a lot steeper at the start than it shows on the segment.  The steep bit is on a par with the Buttress, but fortunately only goes for 5m, rather than 50m before it turns the corner and settles down to a much nice climb.  It's pretty short, so good for a hard effort.  You are then faced with riding down Gainest.

The southern approach is also worthwhile. Again, it's a fairly busy road (lots of houses), but very wide and straight, until it turns up at the top before narrowing down to the Northern part.

Delph Hill Road

Delph Hill Road provides an alternative way of climbing up Wakefield Gate.  It comes out half up the main climb; you can then turn right and carry on up Wakefield Gate.  It's probably no less steep than Wakefield Gate at the bottom.  It makes for a bit of a change, but the best aspect is the good view of the tower.

Delph Hill Road, hinting at what might have been

Looking Down Delph hill road from near the junction
with Wakefield Gate

Segment Details

Gainest (North Ascent)

Gainest (South Ascent)

Delph Hill Road