Wetherby – Ilkley, Thursday 10th February 2022, 53 miles

The assembly gathered at The Shambles in Wetherby at 9.30 am on Thursday 10th February 2022 consisted of Graham, Mike B, Mark, Michael B, Pete D, Steve W, Glyn, Steve P, Fred and with myself Mike G included, made a party of ten riders.

Taking into consideration the forecast wind speed and direction (09.00 WSW 11mph gusting 23 to 13.00 W 25mph gusting 41) a course was set to head initially west into the wind so that we could benefit from the prevailing wind direction on our return to base. A course was duly plotted to pass between Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs breaking for morning coffee at the Fewston Farm Shop and Café at Cobby Syke. From there a lunch stop was planned at La Stazione in Ilkley before turning home via The Cow and Calf.
The plan was to provide the sporting challenge of climbing into the wind over the moor and then, after descending into Ilkley, having the ability to hit The Cow and Calf with the assistance of the increasing wind at our backs.

So, it was with the day still before us that this group of nine riders departed from the Shambles at 09.30. Good progress was made by the group through Sicklinghall, Clapgate and Kirkby Overblow. When we arrived at Harrogate Road, however, it was discovered that Glyn was no longer with us. Although the group waited in a layby until Graham backtracked to investigate, nothing could be established surrounding Glyn’s mysterious disappearance. I must therefore list Glyn temporarily missing in action until further news of his fate arrives at HQ.

The remaining eight riders sped on into a building wind through Burn Bridge, Beckwithshaw and then the climb up to Norwood where Pete first informed the group that he was suffering a migraine headache. Despite the pain, he struggled on however until we reached our first destination. That being the Fewston Farm Shop and Café which was buzzing with clientele. There was a fine choice of fare on offer and I can personally recommend their hot pork pies.

Pete despite dosing himself with paracetamol unfortunately found it impossible to continue and departed from the group soon after the café stop. I hope that he managed to make his way safely back home.

Onward and upward into the wind past Timble and Snowden Crags until we peaked out at Town Head on the junction with Askwith Moor Road where the view was stupendous. The glorious descent from here was a fitting reward for all that uphill slog into the wind. Now an easy mostly flat route along the valley bottom took us to our next stop, La Stazione situated next to Ilkley Railway station. Here again, the food on offer was excellent. Steve The Veteran topped off the La Stazione experience by announcing that since it was his birthday the drinks were on him, so many thanks on behalf of all the riders and a very happy birthday Steve!!!

Now leaving La Stazione behind us it was straight on to The Cow And Calf hill, and with the wind behind us and refreshed by the lunch we all sailed over the top. Now it was almost downhill all the way through Menston until we crossed the A660 and Steve P split off from the pack to follow his own route home. The remaining riders made our way along the Wharf valley through Otley and Poole where Mick peeled off to pursue yet another climb on his way home. Then Castley, Weeton and Dunkeswick, back to Kirkby Overblow where we once again split up. I headed back to Knaresborough and Mark, Mike B, Graham and Steve W headed for Wetherby.

Thanks to all who participated.

Mike G