Bowland Badass Climbs #20 – Whalley Nab

The Stats

Starts at mile 120.72
Length 0.68 m
Feet of height gain 392
Average gradient 10.9%

Badass winter 116Why does Whalley Nab even exist? The Prof’s theory is that a rough trail was started when the monks from nearby Whalley Abbey used to slink up into the trees with a few tabs and a keg of their homebrew for a little shindig away from the abbot’s prying eyes. And hey, if some local nuns turned up then it was all good :-). The great fornicators!! Whoever said being religious was a bar to enjoying the finer things of life? All you need is a shady wood on top of a steep hill and a few dirty habits…..

Now….where were we? How hard is this little ripper of a hill? It’s only about 0.7 of a mile with 392 feet of height gain after all….and with an average gradient of just under 11% you could get up that blindfolded on your niece’s tricycle in its big ring, couldn’t you? Well, the key is in the word average. This hill is S-T-E-E-P. It flattens slightly halfway, and you’ll need it to because by the time you get there your lungs will be flopping out over your handlebars and your adductors will be screaming. The first part is a vertiginous spiral right from when you cross Whalley Bridge and jink left up round the corner and into the trees. Past the scary Satan tree and over a blind brow the flatter bit begins. Blessed relief! But then it kicks up again and suddenly you find yourself having to dig really deep until the radio mast passes on your left and you reach the right turn by barking dog house. If you haven’t got enough electrolytes into you over the previous 10 miles you’re on a one-way ride to Cramp City. Do not stop spinning. Do not unclip. There’s no point getting off and pushing unless you’re wearing hiking boots. If you’re a local you might have jousted on this hill with your mates on a 30-mile scorcher. You might even have gone up slow and steady at the tail end of an 80-mile club ride. It’s an old friend with a familiar face, isn’t it? Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! After 121 miles of Badassing the Nab represents severe and deadly stranger danger. If you’ve never stared into the inky, black depths of Death’s sullen eye sockets before, this is where you’ll do it.

Stravasaddoinfopoint: This climb is a little favourite of the Garstang Boys ( We do it straight after a slap up feed at the Abbey on a club ride, and boy do those lunch legs frickin’ hurt! This means that anyone who is properly warmed up and not too far into their ride could monster this climb and grab the crown. Oh, we forgot, you might be a bit too tired at this point to give it a go……….


Posted on May 6, 2013, in Bowland Badass Climbs and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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