Buttertubs (SW #49) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

2.4 mi
841 ft
5.9 %



Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs,  A Road Cyclist's Guide to Britain's Hills, p. 87 - “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 and is #6 on Simon Warren's Top 10 England Most Epic Bike Climbs.  

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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bike parked in front of stone monument in Scottish Highlands

Cycling Buttertubs Pass, Scotland

Ride 2.4 miles gaining 841’ at 5.9% average grade (10.1% climb only).

photo collage shows old stone-lined pasturelands and road signs

Buttertubs Pass in the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence: Hawes, Yorkshire is one of the most scenic and best riding locations in all of the UK(!). Having ridden Fleet Moss the day prior, I woke early to summit Buttertubs Pass the following day in the morning sun, before the afternoon noon rains came in. Buttertubs is located on the opposing mountain from Fleet Moss and also overlooks the historic town of Hawes. You’ll begin the route at an intersection with farms on both your left and right side. As you climb up, you get views of the vast farmlands that this historic land holds. Cheese and butter production has been the lifeblood of this area for centuries and the cows are sure to moo as you ride past them on their land. Two switchbacks about two-thirds of the way up the climb bring on the steepest grades of the Buttertubs Pass, as well as the best views. Past the switchbacks, the road levels out some as it cuts across the canyon to the saddle of the pass. When I rode in late June 2022, rain clouds came but didn’t stay for long. The periods that the sun did shine through were spectacular and unforgettable.

photo collage at climb's start, intersection of Cliff Gate Road and B6270

Start the climb at the T-intersection of Cliff Gate Road and B6270 near Thwaite.

photo collage shows stone-lined green pastureland and old wood farm building

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).

photo collage of sheep, cows, and pheasants grazing in pasturelands

You’ll pass through the inevitable Yorkshire pasturelands as you climb this brute.

aerial drone views of two-lane stone-lined roadway snaking up hillside

500 yards at 14% from 0.8 to 1.1 miles.

aerial view of PJAMM Cyclist climbing on two-lane roadway lined in stone walls surrounded by green pastureland

Beginning of steepest quarter-mile at 9/10ths mile.

photo collage shows top of steepest section of roadway, green hillsides

Top of the steepest section.

stone cairn and memorial bench about a mile past climb's start, informational sign

Millennium Cairn and memorial bench 1.1 miles from start.

bike parked next to white wooden fence on green hillside

Buttertubs was included in the 2014 Tour de France:

Jens Voigt led over Buttertubs Pass in the 2014 TdF

Photo - Dean Atkins/SWpix.com and Yorkshire Post.

“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).

climb finish at cattle guard, bike parked next to cattle guard

Finish at the unmarked peak of the climb at the cattle guard.

That’s a wrap!