Buttertubs (SW #49) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

2.4 mi
841 ft
5.9 %



Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs (Britain) #49, “The giant Buttertubs Pass is brilliant to climb from either direction." This great pass was also featured on Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France. Buttertubs is one of 19 Yorkshire climbs in 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain
5.8% (8.7% climb only - there is a 700 meter descent in the middle of the climb that substantially reduces to overall average grade).   The climb does vary substantially throughout its 3.9 kilometers - 19% is descent, 20% is at 0-5%, 30% is at 5-10%, 26% is at 10-15%, and a little less than 5% is at 15-20%.  The steepest 500 kilometers is 13%.

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button.
Roadway:  Narrow two lane road with a center stripe but no shoulder. 

Traffic:  Light to moderate.

Parking:  At the start of the climb (MapStreet View).
Provisions:  None on the climb -  but try Kearton Hotel and Tea Shop in Thwaite 300 meters north west (Map).
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
Thwaite is a nice option to stay if you are interested in climbing more of the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, Britain and Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in the area (Map).   Use the “Routes in Area” button on the menu bar to see other bike climbs in this area.  

Consider the out and back of this climb tacked on to the backside of Buttertubs Pass (Buttertubs from Hawes) which is 18 kilometers gaining 680 meters (Map). 



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Millennium Cairn and memorial bench 1.8 km up road 

This wonderful climb was included in the 2014 Tour de France:

“5 July 2014 — Leeds to Harrogate, 190.5 km (118 mi)

The first stage began on The Headrow, outside the Victorian Town Hall in Leeds. The tour headed eastwards through the city centre towards Quarry Hill, navigating the Sheepscar Interchange onto the A61 and heading northwards through the city districts of Scott Hall, Moortown and Alwoodley towards Harewood House where a ceremonial start took place. This was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry. Following the departure from Harewood, the tour went along the Wharfe Valley passing through Otley, Burley in Wharfedale and the home of the Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley Moor. The race then headed north via the A65 to the market town of Skipton, before passing into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. After passing northwards through part of Wharfedale, into Wensleydale and through Hawes, the route continued over the
Buttertubs Pass and down through Swaledale to Reeth. The race then headed south-east to cross the last categorised climb of the day at Grinton Moor before passing through Leyburn, the brewery town of Masham and the cathedral city of Ripon. Finally, travelling southwards, on the A61, through Killinghall and finishing at West Park in Harrogate.

A 50 km (31 mi) break saw Jens Voigt secure the King of the Mountains jersey for the day, before returning to the peloton. The finale of the stage saw Mark Cavendish crash during the sprint, following a collision with Simon Gerrans. Cavendish suffered a separated right shoulder injury, and had to retire from the tour after completing the stage. The sprint was won by Marcel Kittel, thus repeating his opening stage victory from the previous year.

Prizegiving was attended to by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, following a helicopter flight from their earlier engagement at Harewood House. Bernard Hinault was also in attendance, in his official capacity as a Tour de France representative, on the podium.” [Emphasis added]  
Wikipedia - Stage 1 2014 TdF.

It was our good fortune to climb this great English hill in September, 2018.

“The Buttertubs Pass is a high road in the Yorkshire Dales, England. The road winds its way north from Simonstone near Hawes towards Thwaite and Muker past 20-metre-deep (66 ft) limestone potholes called the Buttertubs. It is said that the name of the potholes came from the times when farmers would rest there on their way to market. During hot weather they would lower the butter they had produced into the potholes to keep it cool.

The road is locally noted as a challenging cycle climb, and featured as the second of three King of the Mountains climbs in Stage One of the 2014 Tour de France.[1] The race was led over the climb by German veteran Jens Voigt, on his way to becoming the 2014 race's first wearer of the polka dot jersey as leader of the mountains classification

Jeremy Clarkson featured the road in the "Motoring and the New Romantics" episode of the British series Clarkson's Car Years. This road has also been used many times in the BBC's Top Gear series for test driving cars.”  
Wikepedia - Buttertubs Pass

Climb begins just south of Thwaite on Cliff Gate Rd/B6270

There are some terribly steep portions of this climb (400 m @ 13.6% 200 m 15.5%) but also a significant descent (450 m -3.7%) that knocks the 4 km average down to 5.8%.

A little bit of reeeeellllyyy steep and . . . .

. . . a bit of drop.

Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs (Britain) #49 “The giant Buttertubs Pass is brilliant to climb from either direction.”

This climb is in the northern section of Yorkshire Dales National Park, 217,800 hectares (538,195 acres), established in 1954:

“The Yorkshire Dales National Park is a 2,178 km2 (841 sq mi) national park in England covering most of the Yorkshire Dales. The majority of the park is in North Yorkshire, with a sizeable area in Cumbria and a small part in Lancashire. The park was designated in 1954, and was extended in 2016. Over 20,000 residents live and work in the park, which attracts over eight million visitors every year.  The park is 50 miles (80 km) north-east of Manchester; Leeds and Bradford lie to the south, while Kendal is to the west, Darlington to the north-east and Harrogate to the south-east. The national park does not include all of the Yorkshire Dales. Parts of the dales to the south and east of the national park are located in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”  Wikipedia - Yorkshire Dales National Park. 



“Tackled by the 2014 Tour de France as part of the Grand Depart in Yorkshire, Buttertubs Pass connects Wensleydale to Swaledale by cutting between Great Shunner Fell and Abbotside Common. Its name is derived from a section of 20 metre deep limestone potholes named the Buttertubs after local farmers on their way to market would drop their butter into the holes to keep it cool on warm days.

Buttertubs Pass at the Tour de France Grand depart: Yorkshire.

The climb of Buttertubs Pass is an epic from either Hawes to the South or from Thwaite in the North. It is at its most challenging when tackled from the North from the B6270 road where the climb to the top of Buttertubs pass is just over 3.5 kilometres in length, with a number of sections where the gradient hits over 10%. The climb also features a short section of hairpins where the road ramps up to a lung-busting 25%.

From the B6270 road turn onto Cliff Gate Road (signposted Hawes). It’s here that the real work begins with a climb which doesn’t allow the rider to get into their rhythm.  The road climbs for 1.5 kilometres before kicking up to throw a series of steep hairpins at you where the gradient maxes out at about 25%.

To your left the hill drops away dramatically to showcase a deep valley as you arrive at a cattle grid which marks the top of the first section of the climb. From here you get a slingshot for a few hundred metres downhill to the start of the second part of the climb.

The final section of Buttertubs pass starts steadily before ramping up to around 20% as you draw towards the summit and another cattle grid to negotiate before a fast descent down into the town of Hawes. For the masochist amongst us that leads nicely to the next climb of the day: Fleet Moss and the highest road in Yorkshire.”  

The climb begins 200 meters south of the village of Thwaite, North Yorkshire:

“Thwaite is a small village in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England. It is in Swaledale and is part the district of Richmondshire and the civil parish of Muker. The village lies on the B6270 road that runs through Swaledale from east to west and is 9.3 miles (15 km) west of Reeth. The name "Thwaite" comes from the Old Norse word þveit, meaning 'clearing, meadow or paddock'.  

The village was the home and birthplace of Richard and Cherry Kearton, who were pioneers in wildlife photography at the end of the 19th century. The Kearton name lives on in the Kearton tea rooms and guesthouse in the centre of the village and the Kearton Country Hotel.

Local legend has it that the bridge over Thwaite Beck, was washed away during a fierce thunderstorm in the late 19th century. No-one was injured but a pig, that was taken by the waters, managed to climb out of the beck further downstream. A flash flood did hit the village in 1899, which resulted in the destruction of some outbuildings and gardens. Due to the de-population of Thwaite at that time (because of the decline in the mining industry) many of the structures were not repaired.

Thwaite has two long distance walking paths running through it: the Coast to Coast and the Pennine Way. There are two parts to the Coast to Coast; one that goes north of Thwaite and across the hills to Reeth and the other goes through the village and across the valley floor. The Herriot Way also runs through the village, which as it passes through Thwaite, is on the same course as the Pennine Way.”  
Wikipedia - Thwaite, North Yorkshire

From satellite view it is clear a bombing run occurred along about 1.2-1.3 kilometers up the road from the start but we have heretofore been unable to identify exactly what occurred to create the near hundred bomb craters near the road in that location.

Things to do around Thwaite.

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