Author Topic: Yet another Coast to Coast  (Read 7601 times)

Wowbagger

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    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2008, 10:19:31 pm »
Thursday 30th October

We opted for a 7 a.m. breakfast because we knew we were in for a long day, and were away soon after 8. Initially we made slow but steady progress through a frosty landscape. We reached the A6 near Lowther, the point at which we crossed our path of April 2007 when Jan and I cycled form Land's End to John o' Groats in rather different weather conditions. We passed through Morland and then on to King's Meaburn, where the other three, ahead of us, decided to cycle through a ford on the River Lyvennet. Two of the others managed to reach the other side without getting their diodes wet, and shortly afterwards, during a confabulation, we were overtaken by a pair of tandemists on a Viking steed. A little later I caught a glimpse of a red squirrel.

I was becoming concerned about the new front brake blocks I had fitted for this trip. They were stopping us effectively enough but there seemed to be more and more lever travel with each big descent. An inspection revealed that 60 hilly miles had chewed them to destruction and it was fortunate that, on a whim, I had put the old blue ones in the tool kit. They had served us well for 4600 miles and I felt that another couple of hundred was not beyond them, so back in they went.

It was a tough morning as there were more than 60 hilly miles to cover and nowhere appeared for elevenses. Jan and I had a few Geobars of the chocolate and raisin variety, and they helped, although in the cold they had the texture of peanut brittle. By the time we reached Kirby Stephen, 28 miles and more than four hours after we set off, we were all very ready for lunch. I opted for the quickest calorific fix I could think of - beans on toast - and followed this up with a tasty chunk of brack, Yorkshire's version of bara brith, even though we were still in Cumbria at this point. The café had a farm shop attached and I stocked up on calories for the coming delights of Nateby Bank and the climb over into Swaledale: a pack of large crumbly ginger biscuits and that old favourite, Kendal Mint Cake. We always tried to keep a supply of this available when out walking with the children when they were small - we found nothing better than the promise of a chunk of this particular heavenly manna when persuading 5-year-olds that Snowdon really is a nice afternoon stroll.

It wasn't long before the soloists had left us behind. Jeff is very fit and wiry, and has always been the quickest up the hills. Annie, riding a step-through Raleigh from the 1980s by the look of it, was also pretty fast, and Mick too was considerably faster than we were. There were two or three chevrons at different stages on this climb, and we walked for a good deal of it. The morning's climbing had taken a good deal out of both of us, so a slow and steady approach was necessary. Whereas the morning had treated us to weak sunshine, now the clouds were beginning to gather and I was keen to reach the top before they started to empty themselves onto us. Even so, we had to pause for breath every so often and to admire the view.







We were around the 450 metre mark when the first white flakes began to fall. Initially, as ever, we both inwardly tried to deny it, but a point came when we simultaneously dived for the waterproof jackets and rain legs. Sudden violent gusts made donning garments a problem, but eventually we were as waterproof as we would ever be and continued our trudge to the top.











Not long after the snow stopped, we reached the high pont of the ride at 511 metres.



Soon, however, the light began to fade. We hadn't seen the others for a couple of hours, after the snow our faces had been sandpapered by a sharp hail, and all the way down Swaledale the rain kept at us. We were thoroughly wet, in spite of our waterproof gear, and we had to keep moving to keep warm. The problem was that our energy levels were low and we had to stop to eat. We had no mobile signal so could not find out the others' intentions. I guessed that they might stop at Reeth for some food, but we were also aware that Annie in particular had had problems after dark on the previous day, so they might have kept moving. When we arrived in Reeth but they weren't there, it was decision time: do we stop for food and cause them worry or do we carry on? In the end, we felt that we had enough ginger biscuits and Kendal Mint Cake to keep us going to Catterick Garrison, where Annie lived, it was mostly downhill from this point (we had cycled it in July) and it wouldn't be long before we had a  mobile signal.

Sure enough, sooner than I expected, the Garmin told us to turn right and I phoned Jeff, finding his answering machine. Within minutes he had returned my call: they had just arrived at Annie's house, had unloaded the bikes and after he had finished a cup of tea, Jeff was off to Tesco's for some provisions. Five minutes later there was another call, far more serious: Jeff had left his bike outside while he finished his cuppa and some thieving oik had made off with it. He had reported it to the police but did not expect anything to come of it. Jan and I negotiated a road which warned us that tanks might be turning or travelling at 5 mph, and eventually we found Annie waving us in. Jeff was looking pretty peeved, not surprisingly, but we soon locked our bike in Annie's garage, changed our clothes and we all took a taxi to the Holly Hill pub, where we had another excellent meal. It was remarkable how quickly we all cheered up after the bad news about Jeff's bike.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

toekneep

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Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2008, 10:27:28 pm »
Great stuff Wow, keep it coming. This sounds like one of those trips that will give more pleasure retrospectively.  ;)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2008, 10:56:59 pm »
Friday 31st October

We had a fine breakfast at Annie's, which involved porridge, pain au chocolat, croissants and toast with marmalade, and a 9 a.m. the taxi arrived to take Jeff and me to Arthur Caygill's Bike Shop in Richmond. I was impressed with the stock, although the location left a good deal to be desired. Jeff plumped for a Dawes, with aluminium frame. Arthur said it was the same type of frame that was used for the Dawes Horizon. Meanwhile, I played tug-of-war with the barrel-chested shop dog.

We were back at Annie's by 10 and away soon after. The first few miles were pretty awful, culminating in a large lorry trying to overtake on a bend and then grinding to a halt beside us as oncoming traffic blocked his path, then the same lorry made as if to occupy the right-turn lane we were in after overtaking us on the left. The driver, at whom I had already sworn loudly, made a comment in a rich Geordie accent that we shouldn't be cycling on such a dangerous road. I didn't understand what he said until Jan translated otherwise I would have pointed out that it's not the road that's dangerous, merely stupid people like him who make it so.

Now that we were in the flat lands, we made good progress through the pouring rain. We finally left the Swale behind as we headed north-east on minor roads. Lunch was uppermost on our minds and eventually we found a very good farm shop situated between East Rounton and the A19, a particularly nasty road which was a motorway in all but name. We had had some discussions as to whether we could cross the A19 at this point or would we have to travel an extra three miles or so to a bridge which was marked on the map? The café waitresses seemed sure that we could not cross there, and the road sign pointing to the A19, North only, seemed to confirm this. It was not until we bought some more calories at the farm shop that the lady operating the till told us that a new bridge had recently been built and that it was opening this very afternoon. Other customers said that they thought the official opening was 2.45, so at 2.40 we started to ride a mile or so towards the A19.



Sure enough, there was a sparkling new bridge, still partially coned off, with a white lining vehicle parked in the middle of it and small groups of smartly-dressed engineering types all standing around in the pouring rain awaiting the arrival of the CEO of the North Yorkshire County Council who was due to carry out some sort of ceremony.

After a brief chat with one of the engineering types who assured us that there was no problem with us crossing there, we set off across Wowbagger's Bridge. On reaching the other side we were congratulated by another engineering type because we were the first cyclists ever to cross it. Feeling the hand of history upon my shoulder, I too offered my congratulations to him for his part in the construction of what was clearly a splendid bridge and which served its function admirably as I hoped it would do for many years to come.

Still the rain poured and as we approached the N. Yorks Moors the more apprehensive I became. We had been cycling with the hills in our sights for several hours and for all that time they had been blanketed in heavy rain clouds. We too had had plenty of heavy rain but there had been some respite. Even so, there was a lot of water lying around and I thought it quite possible that there might be flooding.

Gradually we climbed towards Kildale and soon, at the right turn, we found ourselves descending a 1:7 and immediately afterwards climbing a long 1:5. It was dark by now and we had to walk, but eventually we reached the top and had another descent. Castleton gradually inched closer and at least the rain had stopped and the stars were out, although the rain was soon to start again.

Finally we reached the Fox and Hounds in Ainthorpe, and as I trudged through the thronging ghoulies, ghosties and witchy Hallowe'en crowd, I overheard one chap say to his wife "That is one moist fellow!" I think he was referring to me.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2008, 11:27:01 pm »
Boy that sent shivers down my back seeing them pictures, you must have been sooooo cold. Top ride report as ever, you lucky lot.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2008, 11:29:05 pm »
Saturday 1st November

The bed at the Fox and Hounds was without a doubt the widest in which I have ever slept. Another couple of forummers could easily have been accommodated without any of us getting in one another's way.

We were ready to leave shortly after 10 and progress was once again slow.  My right ankle had been giving me some pain and I took some paracetemol. We had not appreciated the scenery last night when we arrived in the dark and wet. On a bright sunny morning it was at its best.





At one point, as we crossed the Esk, the hunt were just preparing, the second time in a month that we had seen the Yorkshire contingent of the unspeakable in full cry.

.

Of course, we still had a good deal of climbing to do, including the renowned Limber Hill,



but it was disappointing to go past Great Fryupdale without actually visiting.



A place for another day, perhaps.

Gradually we whittled away the miles and in Egton we dropped into a pub for coffee. It happened to be the landlord's birthday but, being unable to scrounge any birthday cake from the staff, we felt perfectly at ease consuming some of the melted mars-bar coated flapjack we had purchased in East Rounton yesterday. Immediately, on leaving the pub, we caught our first glimpse of the North Sea, but we still had a bit of climbing to do before we got there. Eventually we descended into Ruswarp and rode alongside the Esk. Technically, I suppose this was the end of the ride because immediately below the weir the river was tidal. However, we then faced another 20% climb towards NCN route 1.

There was one rather scary moment when, in trying to keep the bike going forward at low speed, we had a sudden lurch to the left and I was face to face with a flimsy fence beyond which was a sheer drop into a very cold-looking river. However, we avoided this unwanted soaking and soon had to manhandle the bike up another flight of stairs.



The wind had risen considerably by this time and the old railway, which was quite muddy in places, was climbing at quite a rate, so eventually we abandoned it and hurtled down the B-road into Robin Hood's Bay in the teeth of a beard-distorting gale.





We celebrated our success in Wainwright's Bar, but sadly they had stopped serving food. We found a fish & chip shop and then had to climb the 1:3 back up to the old railway track. The surface was still muddy and slippery and as darkness fell I felt disinclined to use it. We left it where a road crossed it but the only alternative was the fast and fairly busy A171. Mick seemed unhappy with it, but his fluorescent Altura jacket was close to becoming a danger to shipping it reflected so much light.

Eventually we found Plane Tree Cottage and just before we did so a badger trotted across the road in front of the tandem. After settling in we booked the Hayburn Wyke Inn's minibus which took us to the pub for another fine meal. This time there was a 1970's themed evening in full swing, with karaoke, but we successfully escaped before anything serious happened and left a pub full of Kevin Keegan look-alikes to their evening's entertainment.

Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #30 on: November 04, 2008, 07:55:07 am »
fantastic writeup and pics as ever Mr Bagger, congratulations on getting through the weather!!

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #31 on: November 04, 2008, 07:59:21 am »
Sorry didn't read it all, but some lovely pictures... Looks like you had fun!
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

alan

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #32 on: November 04, 2008, 08:42:26 am »
Terrific ride report Peter.Congrats. to you & Janet on completing a hilly ride in poor weather,particularly on a tandem.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #33 on: November 04, 2008, 09:32:11 am »
Like wooly, that ice made me shiver!
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #34 on: November 04, 2008, 11:37:27 am »
Lovely ice and snow :thumbsup:

<tries to remember where I put the long sleeves after last winter's commute>

toekneep

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Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #35 on: November 04, 2008, 01:50:21 pm »
Well done all of you. Now the big question - would you do it again at this time of year? I only ask because I was talking with Alan about such a trip a few weeks ago and I thought it might be a bit late in the year for it. Not so much the weather as the shortage of daylight.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #36 on: November 04, 2008, 02:17:50 pm »
When we were trundling along in the dark beside Ullswater on Wednesday I said to Jan that if ever again I decide to organise a tour after the clocks have gone back she has full permission to beat me about the head with a large piece of wood. It was the availability of cheap rail tickets which decided us here, and after that the availability of B & B accommodation. Having said all that we actually had a great time.

I think the trouble with any (relatively) remote place is that the B & Bs are not necessarily going to be exactly where you want them when you are fed up with a full day's ride. If you are fed up and it's dark, cold and wet, that's not a good combination. However, which are the most memorable holidays, or bits of holidays? The bits which didn't go according to plan or which presented some difficulty to be overcome! We'll not forget that snowstorm in a while.

We actually had a good laugh going round Scarborough on Sunday afternoon. The weather was vile.



We had a pleasant lunch in a warm café and then had a look at the amusements. Anine wanted a go on a flight simulator-type thingy but none of the rest of us wanted to. It was £2 a throw. I told her that if she could knock the price down to half price for pensioners, I'd come with her. And she did! It was rather good, actually, in which we were taken on a sub-aquatic scenic railway ride.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

alan

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #37 on: November 04, 2008, 02:29:54 pm »
I did view the early darkness at this time of year as a potential benefit.It would dictate short or medium time in the saddle to avoid riding in the dark & therefore more time in the evening for eating,drinking & socialising. :thumbsup:

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2008, 09:48:05 am »
I heard from Jeff last night that the police had found his bike and he got it back undamaged!

Whoever nicked it had gone some distance from Annie's house and it appears that the chain came off. This, it seems, persuaded the thief that it wasn't worth keeping (it's a rather nice Marin) and they just dumped it. The lights were still there - the only things missing were the maps he had printed and a bag of apricots.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2008, 09:49:47 am »
I heard from Jeff last night that the police had found his bike and he got it back undamaged!

Whoever nicked it had gone some distance from Annie's house and it appears that the chain came off. This, it seems, persuaded the thief that it wasn't worth keeping (it's a rather nice Marin) and they just dumped it. The lights were still there - the only things missing were the maps he had printed and a bag of apricots.

Excellent news.   Now he has n+1 too  :thumbsup:

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2008, 09:58:33 am »
Yes, I explained Henley's Law to him. He was most amused.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2008, 01:18:18 pm »
I heard from Jeff last night that the police had found his bike and he got it back undamaged!

Great news.

Another great write up - well done to all for surviving that weather!

alan

Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2008, 03:30:05 pm »
I heard from Jeff last night that the police had found his bike and he got it back undamaged!


That is very good news.Makes a pleasant change to read of  a stolen bike being recovered (with the added benefit of it not being damaged) .

onb

  • Between jobs at present
Re: Yet another Coast to Coast
« Reply #43 on: November 06, 2008, 04:02:05 pm »
Sounds like a great ride I was in Penny Bridge today and saw a W2W sign.
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