Wetherby – Helmsley, Sunday 10th October 2021, 74 miles

No clothing drama today. Shorts, shorts, shorts. Nick and I (Simon) arrived in Wetherby to find a full set of stalls in the market place and so made our way to the bottom of the Shambles. Here we found Steve strategically placed to soak up the max. of sun, shortly followed by Frank and Graham. The designation and route were bounced around and a plan hatched to Helmsley as per ride calendar. Both Steve and Frank signalled they needed to be earlier and so Easingwold was put in our sights for the first stop (Frank does like his Almond biscuits from Fika). And so we set off along my favourite road number 168 up to Walshford, Cattal and onto Whixley towards Aldwalk bridge. We noticed the toll house here is being renovated and so speculated that perhaps the Ure crossing prices will rise shortly to pay for it – fingers crossed that cyclists continue to be excluded! We completed this leg via Alne and arrived in Easingwold. Frank dumped his bike with Nick and hot footed it into cafe Fika to claim his Almond biscuit (nervous about they’re in short supply it would seem). After a nice re-fuel, we said our goodbyes to Steve and Frank who had lunch and plumbing commitments to attend to.

Nick, Graham and myself began our second leg to our destination. We set off in glorious sunshine towards Coxwold via Oulston. Prior to Coxwold we turned off, after the fishpond near Newburgh House, to follow a beautiful single track gated road (new to myself and Graham), that took us to Ampleforth. From here we climbed over the tops to Sproxton and Helmsley.

Our original lunch stop plan at the cafe near the castle ruins was abandoned as the cafe has changed hands and the menu and prices were not to our liking. We found a rather agreeable cafe in the square which worked well for the three of us. No beans on toast though!

Leaving Helmsley we made our way through Harome, Nunnington and onto Hovingham. Although tempted we didn’t stop here and continued back over the tops to Brandsby, Crayke and Easingwold. Again we resisted the urge to stop and retraced our outward journey over Aldwark bridge via Whixley to Cattal. We went over the bridge and up to the the Tockwith crossroads where we said goodbye to Graham and Nick and I completed the ride shortly thereafter.

A really beautiful day and splendid ride.