Rest Day! Sort of. We still have an 73 km ride with 660 metres of elevation ahead of us, however, if you look at the profile, barring a tiny little bookend of climb at Osmotherly at the end, it’s down hill all the way. Trouble is, we forgot our last thoughts of the ride from yesterday, when looking down the road from the entrance to Swaledale Yurts; that we were grateful we didn’t have to go up that one. Well, as it turned out, we had only postponed the obviously inevitable, and did have to go up that one. We had also forgotten to order breakfast last night so, by the time we reached Gunnerside, a mere 10km away, all this up and down malarkey had proven too much and necessitated a small rest stop to refuel on tea and sausage sandwich goodness in the same café I had stopped at for cream tea on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast.
After that, buoyed also by the fact that two people from Lincolnshire told me that people from Lincolnshire are the best, nothing could stop us. Except, literally, Sandra’s handlebar bag which fell on to her wheel acting as an unexpected brake on a particularly fast downhill section resulting in much side-of-the-road consternation and problem solving. With bungee rope ingenuity saving the day, Reeth soon flew by in a blur of downhill whooshery and we continued our crisscrossing of the River Swale; a far more interesting feature to be tracking than Sunday’s flirtations with the busy A66.
With the sun shining and the roads smooth and open we were soon upon Richmond with its people, pavé, and places to purchase provisions. Hilariously, with me wearing my Foska Harlequins cycle jersey, we couldn’t resist an opportunity to take a photo of me looking perplexed as to why I couldn’t find my way to The Stoop. Frivolity done with, we dropped out of Richmond (did I mention it was on a hill? I know it has a castle and everything, but why build it on a hill?), and in to the Vale of Mowbray.
More honesty box glee awaited us at the church at Bolton-on-Swale, where I was keen to show Sandra Henry Jenkins’ memorial celebrating a man who, supposedly, lived to 169 years of age. This most ridiculous of administrative errors aside, it gave us the chance to relax on a bench in the churchyard whilst chatting to friendly locals about our route, and for consuming fizzy drinks and chocolate based snacks under the blue sky of Yorkshire. This hue isn’t lost on the locals and everybody we talked to nodded sagely as we explained the wet and blustery conditions of the first three days compared to today’s veritable summer’s day. Once in Yorkshire, they say, the weather’s all dried up in its journey over the Pennines – gives us good weather here. I cast my mind back to my days spent in the North Yorkshire Moors on Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, and hoped that was just a one off!
Throughout the Vale of Mowbray, I was explaining to Sandra where Wainwright’s route coincided with ours, to the point that I may well have become a little bit of a broken record. But, although both paths covered the same road section, we were lucky enough to split off towards a village called Brompton, which not only gave me the opportunity to take a humorous photo with reference to folding bikes, but it meant we would be traversing underneath the A19 rather than straight over it. Now, unless you are equally compelled to have your photo taken by a street sign, I would re-route as the remaining nine km or so to Osmotherly were the busiest so far encountered on the trip.
And then finally to our bookend climb: a nice 14 percenter to the B&B which, thankfully, wasn’t all the way at the top. That treat was saved for us later that evening on foot as we wandered in to the village to find a cashpoint (of which there are none) and a pub (of which there are many). Luckily the proprietor of the Golden Lion was kind enough to give us cash back (and serve a really good pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord) else we would be sneaking out of the B&B in the morning as we didn’t have quite enough cash.
Keld to Osmotherly