Saturday 11th June
At 10.15am we set off from St Bees on a lovely sunny morning, having arrived there with our bikes being carried by our Carrier – Packhorse. We had come from Kirkby Stephen where we left our cars.
As we were following much of the route taken by the Master Fell walker, crossing three National Parks (the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors) over five days we were having our kit thankfully carried for us. On day one we needed to get to the scenic village of Troutbeck, so we opted for a quiet route that took us through some lovely villages such as Eskdale Green and over two steep passes (Hardnott and Wrynose) to Little Langdale. It is then onto Skelwith Bridge and Clappergate and up a very steep hill for the last mile or so to the Youth Hostel at Bridge Lane, Troutbeck where we are staying. We arrived at 4.45pm having covered a distance of 65kms. After our meal we took a walk higher up the hill and enjoyed a couple of pints at the Mortal Man pub. The Youth Hostel was first class as to accommodation, food and service.
Sunday 12th June
We had breakfast at 7.30am and we were away at 8.30am on a nice sunny morning and today we were bound for Kirkby Stephen and the small village of Soulby where we are staying with Jane and James at their B&B at Cross Bar View Farm. We had stayed there on the Friday evening and found out what an excellent establishment it was. Jane’s breakfasts are just wonderful.
By 10am we were on the top of the Garburn Pass, a very hard off road section and by 10.45am we were in the village of Kentmere. At 1.30pm we were on the top of Shap when we discovered our first light rain of the trip. We had done 40kms. By 2.30pm we were in Crosby Ravensworth and now it was very wet as we crossed the moors and at 5pm, having done a total of 77kms we arrived at our B&B. Coffee was immediately brewed and by a roaring fire we ate some of Jane’s unique home baking once again. Our wet cloths were taken away to be dried by the large aga in the kitchen and after wonderful showers we had fully recovered.
Over the two days we had seen two red kites, an owl, curlews and roe deer along with many other animals.
Monday 13th June
After another excellent breakfast (Jane’s home made sausages are to die for) we left at 9am on a dry but dull morning. In the first few hours we encountered a number of steep hills and on the moor we encountered a short period of rain. At the entrance to the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it was another photograph opportunity, and soon we were at Tan Hill, the highest Inn in the UK at 1,732ft. It was noon and we had done 22kms. From here on it was mainly down hill for most of the way with spectacular scenery as the weather continued to improve. I was able to reach a speed of 56kms (my fastest ever) but my friends Glyn and Dave (“professionals”) recorded speeds of 48mph on their mountain bikes – imagine the speed they could have got to on a road bike!!
At 1pm we stopped by The CB Inn for lunch, we had travelled 36.6kms. Here we spotted our first and only cuckoo although we had heard their unique calls all along our route which in itself added to the great ambiance of this special adventure we were all sharing. We had a brief stop in Reeth to watch the world go by and with easy cycling we were in Richmond at 3pm having cycled some 60kms. Here I took advice from Glyn and got new brake blocks at the town’s cycle shop –Arthur Caygill Cycles. We met the owner, a very keen cyclist, and we were all impressed with his setup.
It was a lovely sunny evening as we arrived at our hotel the – Shoulder of Mutton Inn at Kirby Hill – at 5.50pm, having travelled a total of 69kms. After a shower and getting our bikes and kit ready for next day (we adopted this discipline each evening) we walked down hill to a pub called the Bay Horse Inn in the village of Ravensworth where we had another excellent meal and a couple of pints of real ale. Glyn and Dave were introduced to Haggis for the first time and did enjoy it.
Tuesday 14th June
Today was to be an easy day as we were travelling to the Youth Hostel at Osmotherley. We would have liked to have gone further along the route but we could not find suitable accommodation. We were all very conscious that we had a long ride on the last day with the added pressure that Packhorse were picking us up at 4pm in Robin Hood’s Bay!
It was another mild sunny morning as we left and we stopped in Richmond for sandwiches etc. By 11am we had done some 20kms and we were at Ellerton. By noon we were at Danby Wiske (29kms) and we stopped at the White Swan for drinks of coke to have with our packed lunch. For the first time we saw a good number of other walkers and cyclists. At 2pm we did arrive at the Youth Hostel, having done 51kms, but reception was closed so we did make ourselves comfortable, had a shower and locked away our bikes.
We walked into the village and had drinks and a meal at the Queen Catherine Hotel. We did as best we could to work out the start point on the Cleveland Way. Tomorrow was going to be a hard day so an early night was on the agenda.
Wednesday 15th June
We were up at 5am and away by 6am on a nice quiet morning but later on the sun came out and it was a perfect day for cycling. The Cleveland Way as we did expect proved very hard off road cycling in stretches and we had no alternative but to walk with our bikes and carry these over a number of stiles. At 9.45am we had reached Ingleby Greenhow but had only done 20kms! At 10.50am we stopped for tea at The Hayshed Shop before going off road once again but this proved a good fast section. A welcomed drink was had at the Wheatsheaf Inn near Egton and we had done 57kms. At 2pm we were at Sleights some 65kms along the route and at 3.30pm we finally arrived at Robin Hood’s Bay and went down to the water front to have our photographs taken. This had been a hard day and we had come some 84kms.
At 3.50pm we were on the bus and heading for Kirkby Stephen – the massive adventure was over. It took us 5 days and we did a total of 346kms - magic memories will last forever.
16th June 2011