Why do they put themselves through this every year? Is it the sense of achievement ? The dopamine rush after tough physical exercise, or is it the figure hugging lycra and beer ? I know – but I’m sworn to secrecy.
So, this year it’s a circular (ish) tour of the Yorkshire Wolds. About 150 miles in total, completed in around two days, not bad going for a bunch of old geezers.
This year I just hope they stick to the planned route without getting lost – ha! fat chance of that !! Well at the very least I hope the weather holds..
Day One Friday 6th September
Stage One : Thixendale to Kirkham Priory
After the drive from home to Thixendale, it was not a well boded start (is boded even a word?). Our old friend the wet stuff was pouring from an angry sky as we left the little “curtain twitching” hamlet of Thixendale. Nothing much to say about it – very quiet and with an aura of “are you local” about it (possibly just my prejudice).
After a mainly downhill ride into Kirkham, happily the sun burst through. For which I’m sure the riders were very glad. It’s never nice to start off wet. So what’s Kirkham Priory like? Well, Tynemouth has nothing to worry about in the Priory stakes – the one in Kirkham is, for the most part, a decidedly sad looking pile of rubble – good work by Henry VIII.
Stage Two : Kirkham Priory to Settrington
Lunch was intended to be taken in Kirkham (sorry boys my corned beef and onion sarnies really do stink). And it would have been if they’d bothered to turn up. Of course they did their normal, and got lost. Is this a record, to get lost on only the second stop ?
At least we discovered that there was a phone signal in these parts, so Mike could ring me and confirm they’d gone off-piste and were carrying on to the next planned stop at Settrington.
Settrington looked like a nice quiet village – until all of the HGVs started running through. It must be on some satnav shortcut, and must be hell to live with.
But that aside, the riders eventually found the route and arrived after several unintended detours. Sarnies were taken, as were (very old) jelly babies and other (semi) legal stimulants. The first mentions of Sorus Arsus were made by Mike – more of which was to follow. This being day one, with the time taken to drive to the start, meant that there was only one more stage left today.
Stage Three : Settrington to Weaverthorpe
Refreshed and fed, off they set to Weaverthorpe, which was to be our first nights stay.
The plan was for this to be the end of day one, but as the weather was now so unaccountably good, they ruminated on an extension and to ride an extra section. This would of course depend on them not getting lost – so who knows.
The drive down (up ? across ?) to Weaverthorpe showed some of the nicest aspects of the Yorkshire Wolds thus far, either very flat or gently undulating countryside, with patchwork quilting of fields, enough to swell Sir G Boycotts heart to twice its size (not his head though, as that would cause a significant danger to aircraft).
Weaverthorpe The Blue Bell Inn
Weaverthorpe is not too inspiring – but at least it doesn’t have dozens of HGVs roaring through every minute. The Blue Bell is the best thing in the village. I was struck by the pungent aroma of excrement in the air, and supposed it to be from the farms all around. That was until I saw most of the houses had septic tanks, and so had to wonder at just how good their sealing arrangements might be……
By the time the riders arrived, any idea of an extension (ooh matron!) had been completely abandoned.
Therefore several pints of Landlord were taken for the refreshing of mind if not body so much. Then a pretty good dinner of scallops and grouse, accompanied by various red wines to finish the day off well.
One slight hiccup however – the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night. Steve insisted it was my phone alarm – however the volume was painfully high, rattling the windows, and it turned out to be a real alarm. Like all good safety conscious citizens we did nothing at all and just lay in bed while Mike patrolled the corridor in his hi-vis tabard and wardens clipboard (well he would have loved to if he’d had them). Eventually it stopped – and as we couldn’t smell a fire, went back to sleep. It turned out that someone had been making toast in their room (how?) at two in the morning (why?). The rest of the night was peaceful – apart of course from Steve’s impression of a walrus being beaten to death. If ever there’s a world snoring championship – he’s a sure gold medal winner. Thank god for my ear plugs.
Day Two Saturday 7th September
Stage One : Weaverthorpe to Humanby
A Good full english was taken to try and put everyone right, however the grouse and copious red wines were playing havoc with my innards. It was lucky for them that I was alone in the car…
Mike revealed his cunning plan to alleviate his sore withers – two pairs of padded pants. Hope it helps.
The route to Hunmanby was uneventful and it turned out to be a very nice little town. There was a Co-op , a paper shop (which sold The Guardian!), a wine shop, a butchers and a bakery. What more could you want? Also on four occasions I was wished a good morning – very nice people. Coffees were then drunk at a nice pub – someone must train Mike that a cappuccino is not the same as a latte!. After they left I bought very nice looking fresh sandwiches and pasties from the bakery for lunch later.
Stage Two : Hunmanby to Bridlington
Not a great section for me – nothing to see from the A-road, I just hoped their off-road experience was better. The weather was now perfect – cool, sunny and dry. It had looked a bit doubtful this morning, and there had been a brief downpour at Hunmanby too – but all good now.
The Bridlington stop was chosen to be on the outskirts, away from traffic. This proved to be a bit disappointing, as we had to go along a track that was home to “travelers” and it was really very badly in need of cleaning up. Anyway the lunch bought back in Hunmanby was excellent and my colon was behaving itself. Mike also reported that his double-pant strategy was working well.
Roger was managing to hold on well, despite having come to the ride almost straight from the Andes – and bearing the “Inca lung” cough, which we hoped wasn’t contagious.
Stage Three : Bridlington to Lowthorpe
Lowthorpe is a pretty, small village with no sign of life – one of those places time forgot – until that is the local witches coven opens for cocktails at 5 (larks blood martini anyone?). But I’m looking forward to Hutton Cranswick – what a great name , just hope it doesn’t disappoint.
I shouldn’t have tempted fate, as Roger decided he’d had enough for the day and retired to the car – can’t say I blame him.
Stage Four : Lowthorpe to Hutton Cranswick and Flamborough Head
Hutton Cranswick in all of its charmingly named glory…..is a dump. The pub we met at was a rough local dive. Complete with screaming kids (in a pub??!!), and loads of violent looking ruffians (well they were compared to our metrosexual elite sensibilities). So we left there quickly – not even a single pint – that’s a measure of its awfulness – and drove on up to Flamborough Head for a look. Loads of sea, loads of gulls, loads of wind. But a nice view and a nice looking lighthouse. However the cafe/pub was also full of noisy kids eating chips – so again we decided excretion was the bitter part of valor – or something like that – and drove back to Bridlington and to The Lobster Pot, our accommodation for the night.
Drive : Flamborough Head to Bridlington
The Lobster Pot is a very new Premiere Inn type place – full of kids again (do you see a pattern here of my predjudices?). But the rooms are big, clean and comfy. Let’s hope the food and wine are OK
And they were fine – steaks a bit dry, but everything else was fine.
Day Three Sunday 8th September
The night before wasn’t particularly abstemious (finishing with some rather nice port – thanks Roger), but everyone seemed more bushy tailed than the day before, and Roger was fit for the final stages.
The drive back to Hutton Cranswick (or Ugly Bogshed) was uneventful and we reached the depart for 10:15. Off they set for Cherry Burton, another nice sounding place, just hoping it looks nice too….
Stage One : Hutton Cranswick to Cherry Burton
….and it did. Very pretty village with a rather nice church (St. Michael And All The Angels). There’s obviously plenty of money here – big houses and big cars – and just as I was remarking on this to myself, a TVR owners club paraded through – very appropriate.
I must say it became very noticeable that most of these villages sported an unusual number of union flags (don’t call them union jacks as pedants will beat you soundly), is this anything to do with the dreaded “B” word?….
Next stop North Newbold.
Stage Two : Cherry Burton to North Newbold
The weather was beautiful as I sat with a coffee waiting for them outside the Tiger Inn. Facing me was a very nice village green, with no HGV’s taking short-cuts. There were another 30 miles of planned route still to go today, a lot of it uphill.
Over the last couple of days they managed not to get “really” lost. However, they made up for it in spades this time. The section should have taken 45 minutes to an hour at most, however two and a half hour later they dragged themselves to our rendezvous. It turned out that they’d managed to end up in Hull ! I reminded them of how stupid pigeons are, but that even they know how to get somewhere. As they trailed in looking shattered they agreed as one “done – no more – finish” especially with the promise of a cold pint and a bag of crisps.
So that’s how it ended, as TS Elliot said “not with a bang, but with a whimper”.
However it needs to be emphasized that a great time was still had by all, regardless of where we finished.
On the drive home we discussed next year’s ride, so they haven’t been put off any more punishments just yet. Scotland? Lincolnshire ? Who knows……..