Wind, Water and… Whoa! the A1079

Sancton Hill Wind Farm

Sancton Hill Wind Farm

On Sunday the frost was replaced by strong winds from the west. So I headed in that direction to take advantage of a tailwind on the way home. I really struggled into the headwind and the gradual drag up to the highest point of the southern edge of the Wolds. Four weeks of man flu have been difficult to shake off.

I had to take an unschedulded stop in a bus shelter in Hotham, where I was joined by a dozen or so elderly ladies out on a walk to South Cave. My flapjack provided some nourishment, but just a few miles away I sadly had to take refuge in well-regarded pub.

Fortunately, I had brought a lock and enough money to order food and a refreshing drink. The Star @ Sancton has a chef who has twice won the Yorkshire Pudding Challenge, but I would be having Sunday lunch later so limited myself to the excellent steak and ale pie and Wold Brewery bitter. An hour or so later I was suitably rested and crossed the busy B road and made my way towards Sancton Hill. I hadn’t passed the wind turbines since they were built some time this year. I couldn’t manage to capture their rather eerie presence. Wind turbines on the Yorkshire Wolds have become a divisive issue. Apparently, the locals were compensated with a renovated village hall.

With the wind behind me I was pushed along and quickly came to the A1079, a very fast and busy route between Beverley and York. I crossed the main road close to Arras Hill and dropped down the two miles to Kiplingcotes Valley. I was running behind schedule and wasn’t expecting the sight that greeted me at the bottom of the hill. Apparently, there was a sign at the Market Weighton end of the valley warning that the road was closed. Another cyclist, pictured below, told me this. We looked at the water beneath the bridge – about a foot deep he reckoned – then looked at his map before taking the inevitable decision to go up the hill to the main road. I took the photograph above below and then my camera battery died.

I’ve written before about cycling between Beverley and York along the A1079. I thought nothing of it in years gone by, but neither of us was keen on Sunday to ride the few miles to Bishop Burton along what is now a very busy road, even at weekends. Back in the late 80s I stayed at York Youth Hostel one night and arrived there very late – too late, actually – but was allowed to have a bunk for the night. The following morning I had an uncomfortable conversation with a Scottish man and a young German fellow. I remember that one of them had asked when I had left Hull the previous day. When I replied that I had left home at eight o’clock the two of them gave a little chuckle. I then clarified that it was eight o’clock at night. I doubt I could cover the same disance so quickly these days. “What a bald chest”, exclaimed the Scot (he rhymed the word ‘bald’ with ‘lolled’ so I politely asked him to repeat himself). Then he started talking to the lad in German. I was glad I was only stopping the one night. But I digress…

At the top of the hill I put on my bright pink tabard and we switched on our flashing lights. I left a message on Mrs Bailey’s message service and we set off with the consolation of a strong wind behind us. Adrenaline and that wind had us shifting along uphill at 17mph and we topped 30mph on one of the downhill sections. The other chap was not keen on main road cycling either and we parted on the quiet road near Walkington. My shortest, and slowest ride in ages. The street lights were coming on as the batteries in my front light died. Appropriately, I was completely drained too.

Kiplincotes water under the bridge

Water under the bridge. Kiplingcotes Valley is flooded

The speed limit on rural roads

There has been some discussion about whether the speed limit on rural roads should be lowered. I was surprised to hear that rural roads are statistically more dangerous for cyclists when compared to those in urban areas. I am acutely aware of the threats from close, fast-moving traffic in towns, but rarely do I feel threatened in the country. Perhaps I have been spoiled by living fairly near to so many quiet country lanes that criss-cross my part of Yorkshire. I certainly wouldn’t fancy being passed at 60mph on some of these narrow roads. On the whole drivers tend to be considerate. At least that’s what I find. Perhaps I’m spoiled again.

Rural Road Speed Limit

60mph seems a bit too quick for road such as this one near Walkington