John's Helmsley Youth Hostel Ride Report
Cycle ride to Helmsley and back.
After a very disastrous start (see elsewhere), part of the group that didn’t know about Dudley’s accident and those that were caught up in it, met up eventually at Walkington cross roads and I imagine in a rather subdue mood rode on to Fridaythorpe cafe for refreshments by way of Huggate. Three of us stayed behind to see Dudley safely loaded into an ambulance and to sort out his bike. We then followed the others but to save time missed out Fridaythorpe and went straight on to Thixendale, which was the next village that the main group would pass through. Here we hoped that we might meet the others. However mobile phone coverage is not very great at times on the Wolds and we did not see them until the railway station cafe in Malton, which kindly stayed open so we could at least get a mug of tea and a slice of cake.
While the weather was much better than forecasted there was a strong westerly wind which after passing over the Malton Bypass, we had to battle against for the rest of the way to Helmsley. Thankfully the terrain is as flat as the proverbial pancake, but the last few miles seemed endless. As always, Neil, the warden at the hostel, was both efficient and helpful and after a couple of mugs of tea and hot showers we were all sorted and ready for dinner. Dinner was a chicken curry or a pasta dish followed by apple pie or ice cream, all well cooked and filling and supplemented by a couple of glasses of red wine thanks to Sheila and Mal. The day ended much better than it started with a relaxing drink in a local pub.
After a substantial breakfast and in bright sunshine with the wind mainly behind us we set off for the first hill of the day just after Slingsby, and the steep climbs and fast descents through Castle Howard estate to the cafe at Welburn. It has always struck me as strange, that why in the day of horse and cart and stage coaches, anyone thought it was a good idea to build such a road that tackled these hills straight on! To miss out the last hill and to more easily get across the A64T I thought it would be a good idea to go on the cycle path along side the main road to the cross roads at the bottom of Barton Hill. We safely got across the road but the cycle path is atrocious, completely neglected and dangerous with grass and shrubs growing out of it. It was a relief to turn off and to go through Barton-le-Willows, Bossall, Buttercrambe (one puncture), Skirpenbeck, Full Sutton etc., to a cafe just outside Pocklington on the Millington road. From here it was the usual route back to Etton, where unfortunately the pub was closed and so back home.
Apart from the terrible start, it is the third accident that we have had in the last few months within 400 yards of the Skidby meeting point, it was a successful couple of days away.