Hambleton Circular Report
- total distance 18.9 miles. Weather- fair to good. Mechanicals- 2. Puntures-0
Lessons learned- several!
Had time to recover from the 'Rough Stuff' adventure at the weekend. A few musings and pics....
Although the weather was fine enough the going was hard over the opening stretch. The route started, after another top notch cooked breakfast in Thirsk, from Sutton Bank Visitor Centre and after the usual car park bike demoing and fettling was completed we set out on an oldskool adventure- a route I last enjoyed back in 1988.
The first few miles were very clarty indeed- several stops needed to cloy some of the gloop out of brakes and bottom brackets as wheels became stuck in frames. On one occasion it was so bad wheels had to be removed en-masse to allow a good clean out. Certainly a route for summer next time!
We soon made it to the better surfaced areas of Boltby Forest before heading back onto high ground and the occasional patch of deep snow over the moor toward Black Hambleton.
A slight retrace after missing a turn took us Eastward and into the steep descent into Thorodale. A descent made easier as the bracken than usually grows shoulder height in the summer had all but died back to ground level.
A little delay here as climbing out of the beck my chain snapped depositing me onto cross bar with the usual cussing and nursing of bruised nether regions
. The chain had snapped clean through the plates rather than the joining pins which was quite worrying. I expected a repeat performance on every climb thereafter.
A nice doubletrack section through the private woodland of Arden Hall surrounded by a carpet of Snowdrops took us past the grand house and out onto quiet lanes toward Hawnby where we arrived a little later than planned and after they had finished serving food. The lovely staff took pity and soon rustled up half a dozen splendid chip butties and a few pints though for their mud splattered visitors.
Refreshed, we then took once more to the lanes and bridles above River Rye before plunging down to the River itself and picking up a cheeky footpath alongside the silted up canal that runs to Rievaulx Abbey. Saltyman took a novel approach to the steps on this section- his stem coming loose and throwing him over the bars.
We now had a long drag back up to Sutton Bank along Blind Side, past ponds filled with Mallard Ducks (doing what Ducks do in spring) and up into Worry Gill. It was a case of finding a steady pace, heads down and grind it out. Two thirds of the way up the track petered out into nothing. I'd riden down this section 22 years ago but various rock falls had lead to the track being abandoned a long time ago and mother nature was finishing the job with some style. It was a real sting in the tail for tired legs as we climbed and carried bikes for the last mile over boulders and through dense woodland.
Several stops had to be made and the choppers were salvaged from Kaya's bag to cut our way through the fallen trees that littered the path. After an hour of toil we could hear the sound of cars at last and eventually made our way back onto the A170. The last section of singletrack was aborted in favour of a quick spin up the main road to our starting point.
So there we have it. Too much mud and too much trust in once clear routes from BITD. On the bright side the weather held off, the views were to die for and the company and craic were second to none as ever. Everyone seamed to enjoy the challenge and there was an air of satisfaction as filthy bikes were loaded into cars for the long haul home.
I like a tough route, maybe not as tough as the last few miles but, anyone present will remember the Valley of Death
for a long time.
All things considered, another grand day out!