Nick and I (Simon) set off with a nice steady pace and lifted spirts into Wetherby given that the freezing fog from the previous day had lifted. We were joined in the Shambles by Bob, Steve, Geoff, Graham and Paddy. After a short discussion we agreed upon the outward route to Burley-in-Wharfedale and that we would stick together and ride as one group. We left Wetherby and made our way on Linton Road up to Sicklinghall and beyond. Given the cold conditions we decided not to go down Kirby Cliff in case of ice and opted sensibly to continue along the tops to Kirby Overblow. Here we dropped down the hill towards the A61 passing some Gloucester Old Spots pigs truffling in a wood (I do like a good pig). A quick left and a right saw us leave the A61 to travel through Weeton and Castley towards Poole-in-Wharfedale. We opted to take the main road along the valley towards Otley. Along this stretch, not surprisingly, it was quite busy so Bob suggested taking the quieter road on the other side of the river via Askwith. During this undulating section the group split up. We re-grouped at the Cockpit Café in Burley-in-Wharfedale. This was my first visit but it is now firmly on my café map. Paddy sported the rucksack that we have come to associate with him. From it he produced his sandwiches but sadly was reduced to eating them stood up out of site by the café entrance.
Refuelled we left the warm oasis of the café and made our way through to Otley and took the steady climb at a good pace up Little Chevin. We continued at the crossroads through to Bramhope where, shortly afterwards, we took a left turn followed by some fabulous minor roads towards Eccup Reservoir. At this point Bob and Graham left us to loop back to Harrogate. The five remaining continues around Eccup to meet the Harrogate Road. A t this point a bit of negotiation followed as Paddy, who was ready to get home, lost his orientation and was concerned we were taking the convoluted route. Nick managed to persuade him to have faith and persevere. We continued towards Scarcroft where we capitulated to Paddy’s demands and followed the main A58 road into Collingham. Here we turned off and made our way through Linton back into Wetherby.
Best ride for a while. Really enjoyed the hills, the company and café stop 9/10. A great winter warmer. 😊