Western Wolds Bike Ride (from Stamford Bridge)
Last weekend I took a 30-mile cycle ride with Rupert Douglas, creator of the Big Skies Bike Rides that I have written about over the last couple of years (example here). The ride wasn't one of the eight circular routes described previously, being longer, harder and starting further from the Yorkshire Wolds than any of the others.
Stamford Bridge is an ideal base from which to cycle on to the western escarpment of the Yorkshire Wolds – the steepest area. This ride passed through Acklam in North Yorkshire then on to the attractive East Yorkshire villages of Millington, Great Givendale and Bishop Wilton. There are few opportunities for refreshments along the way, but we made use of an extended stop at the Ramblers' Rest. Unusually there weren't many cyclists at the tables outside, which was a pity; I couldn't recall a better day for cycling in the Yorkshire Wolds this year. It was glorious.
I had always thought of Stamford Bridge as being in North Yorkshire, but apparently it falls within the East Riding of Yorkshire. Anyway, this ride was advertised as part of the Walking and Outdoor Festival by 'Visit Hull and East Yorkshire' (14th – 22nd September). Patrick and I had tried to follow this route last year and after taking the little bridge over the River Derwent we travelled north before turning east towards Buttercrambe. It wasn't long before we turned off the ever-so-slightly main road and headed for Barthorpe. This is a lovely road and we rode side by side without any traffic to bother us as we gabbed all the way about cycling stuff. The conversation became tougher as the roads around Acklam pointed upwards and here we took a different, supposedly easier, route from the one Patrick and I had taken up Thrussendale Road. It was still a stiff little climb.
Past the communications mast it was on to the familiar Roman road and the gradual, gentle incline to Garrowby Hill – the highest point of the Yorkshire Wolds. On a clear day such as this one there are excellent views over the Vale of York. After crossing the A166 it is always a pleasure to descend to Millington, whether stopping for something to eat or drink or not.
From Millington we went out on a road I had never ridden before. A thrilling descent followed before the struggle to regain height once more on the steady climb to Great Givendale. I'm not sure I could have captured the beauty of the early autumn scene as a herd of cows grazed around a pond. I've been cycling in this area for more than thirty years and I've never seen that particular view before. Perhaps it's just as well I didn't pause to take a photograph. We were running late after the longish stop in Millington and I would probably have been disappointed at my efforts to do justice to the scene.
Another unfamiliar and splendid road led us to Bishop Wilton and another diversion from last year's route. Rupert had arrived in Stamford Bridge with his road bike on the back of the car, and didn't fancy the bridleway Patrick and I had taken last year. So an alternative route along the road known locally as Snake Lane. True to its name it wriggled and twisted for much of its length. Fortnately the motorists we met took to the grass verges as they passed us in the opposite direction. We crossed the minor, but busy, road between Pocklington and Stamford Bridge and took the quiet alternative route back to the car park there.
I should probably have dared to take more than one photograph, but the ride was advertised as being one ridden at a brisk pace (a little under 14mph as it turned out) and I didn't want to slow things down any further. This was a superb route and although I would happily have gone along the bridleway with my 28mm Gatorskins I particularly enjoyed the Snake Lane diversion. And I especially enjoyed chatting with Rupert Douglas about cycling in the Yorkshire Wolds and beyond. As well as putting together the Yorkshire Wolds Cycle Route he is also the creator of the Way of the Roses coast-to-coast route – wayoftheroses.info – is the only offical site.
For a longer ride from Stamford Bridge see Patrick's post from 2011.
Rupert had intended to re-fasten his bike on the back of the car his wife had driven in to the car park some hours earlier. But the weather was too good to waste, so like me he cycled home instead. I had earlier enjoyed the company of riders from our CTC group as far as Kilnwick Percy and the delightful World Peace Cafe. I had to dash so left them to it. Apparently, they had another coffee and more cake 😮
Just after I had texted Mrs B to say I wouldn't need to be picked up after the Stamford Bridge loop I felt rather weak. I couldn't face anything to eat in the Ramblers' Rest in Millington. After grabbing some provisions in Stamford Bridge I enjoyed a tailwind all the way home. I followed much of the route we take on one of our Standard Rides. Usually there is either a headwind or torrential rain to face. Or both. On this day the weather was sublime and I glided home on my elderly touring bike (it's the big three-o next year) and the Brooks B17 I had, perhaps unwisely, fitted just the previous day. I thought it might be a long day and the original saddle wouldn't have been very comfortable on this first century ride on my old Reynolds 531 tourer in over twenty years. A day of sheer cycling joy.