Wetherby – Hovingham, Thursday 21st September 2023, 75 miles

A Magnificent Seven left the Shambles at 9.30am as planned, heading for Hovingham in the Howardian Hills on a clear, sunny day in early Autumn. What awesome weather compared with the downpours of the week so far, we seem to be blessed on Thursdays……well, most of them anyway! The Seven comprised Graham B, Sean C, Sean F, Geoff M, Pete D, Greg C and me, Phil W. we soon became a Magnificent Eight as we met Nick H on the A168 by the Cowthorpe turning, as we headed north towards Walshford.

We cycled past Walshford, over the bridge to Hunsingore, through Cattal and across the A59, through Whixley, turning right past the Cricket Club along Thorpe Green Lane towards Little Ouseburn. As the Aldwark Toll Bridge remains closed (until December now apparently), we cycled towards the bridge and then took the slip road left, skirting the Aldwark Manor Golf Course and over the footbridge. This was quite a rare experience for me, to spend quality time on a golf course without losing a few golf balls, a pleasant change and Aldwark is a lovely village – especially the church! Then onward through Tholthorpe, Raskelf and into Easingwold where we stopped for a traditional morning break and refreshments.

At this point we decided to split into two groups, Nick, Geoff and the two Seans planned to head towards York, Naburn and back towards Wetherby, leaving the remaining four of Graham, Greg, Pete and I to head for the hills as planned. On leaving Easingwold we cycled via Crayke, Brandsby and up Snargate Hill to open countryside. We had a cultural stop to look at the City of Troy Turf Maze, one of few surviving puzzle games used by shepherds back in the day. I can’t fault their chosen location, what a view! We pressed on into Hovingham, stopping at the bakery, by the ford in the centre of the village – perfect!

Heading north and then west out of Hovingham, we went through Stonegrave, Osbaldwick, Amplethorpe and Wass before passing Byland Abbey on the way to Coxwold. There were fantastic views all the way, helped by the weather of course. Once through Coxwold we turned right to Carlton Husthwaite, Hutton Sessay, turning onto Helperby Lane and into Boroughbridge. From there we considered various options but decided to head due south to Wetherby along the A168, maintaining a brisk pace all the way. It was a cracking ride with brilliant scenery – thanks to Graham for leading. (75 miles)

Phil W