Sunday, May 20

Thirsk to Pickering

The sound of heavy rain met me this morning as I woke in my suburban B&B in Thirsk; not very welcoming to a cyclist with 40 miles to travel! I did consider Plan B (train to York then change for train to Malton then ride 8 miles) but the heavy rain started to turn to light rain and the forecast was for the weather to improve later, so I pushed myself to get out there and do it!

Breakfast was marvellous; lots of fresh berries and fruit with Greek yoghurt, and I chose scrambled eggs with smoked salmon rather than the full English, a nice change to offered the choice. Which made it all the more strange that I was given instant coffee rather than real, and my toast came ready buttered with some kind of nasty low-fat spread rather than butter.

I headed south out of Thirsk, having used the excellent Sustrans national cycle route app on my phone to plan a route that avoided the notorious Sutton Bank (switchback with double arrows marked on it) and took me a slightly longer route. The only thing worse than pushing a fully laden bike up a big steep hill is pushing a fully laden bike up a big steep busy hill!

Although the first part of the route was not too busy, there was a lot of standing water on the roads which made it a bit of a slalom. There seemed to be an increase in the number of dickish drivers too, all in a desperate hurry to get past me and on to whatever very important urgent business they needed to attend to.

I'd taken the time to write out my route in meticulous detail and it was time well spent as I didn't go wrong once. The Sustrans app was invaluable in enabling me to double-check my location on many occasions just to make sure I was heading the right way. This app was free and includes access to very detailed maps of the whole country. They really should be selling this to get some income for the charity!

Byland Abbey
There were some hills but they were mostly short and sharp, and I passed some interesting places and picturesque little villages; noted down for a future return visit perhaps! Places like Byland Abbey, Ampleforth Abbey, and the villages of Wass, Ampleforth, Coxwold and so on.

Nunnington Hall with willow sculpture
One of the minature rooms
I stopped off at Nunnington Hall for an hour, taking advantage of my National Trust card to have a quick visit. As well as the usual recreated rooms in the main house, there is an amazing collection of miniature rooms in the attic, which were made by Kitty Carlisle. Exquisite detail in them, and most of the carpets, upholstery and other needle crafted items were made by Kitty herself.

From Nunnington onwards the roads were flat and easy, perhaps even a little boring I would say. The wind was stronger which made certain stretches a battle, and made me long for a change in direction. It's traditional on every cycle trip to find a stretch of road at least 2 miles long where the road surface is a patchwork of potholes,it's narrow and it's frequented by morons who neither slow down nor move over when passing a cyclist. The final stretch into Pickering was this very road, and I would avoid it in future!

Great to roll up at Eden House B&B and be met by my good friend Em. I'll be resting up here for a couple of days now before heading down to York on Monday.


Caterina said...

Well done for getting there, enjoy your rest and see you soon

Hugh Porter said...

Congratulations. Interesting trip and commentary - thanks. I'll be looking up that app next time I'm going out!

Knit Nurse said...

Just downloaded Cycle Streets app to try tomorrow on the way to York. Has the added benefit you can get it to work out the route for you based on various criteria (quickest, quietest, etc) I'll be reporting back on it tomorrow.