May 26 2012
York to Appletreewick
After a hotel breakfast with the Belgians we are ready to retrieve bikes from the cupboard and set off in the streets of York. The hotel is on the cycle route although we didn’t realise this at first. A lovely green route takes us out of York traffic free along the river and then through blossoming fields redolent of hawthorn scent and ringing with birdsong. After a few miles we emerge into the network of small lanes that surround York meandering among the lurid fields. Elevenses is taken at the railway carriage restaurant which is also hotel where you can sleep in the carriages. Jim went for a look and said they were baking in the early sun.
At Boroughbridge we find the Devils Arrows standing stones and stop to inspect them. The tallest stone is 22 feet tall and has grooves running down it made from millennia of rain erosion.This henge is part of a complex of henges called the Thornborough henges.
The wind is still blowing hard from the East accompanied by a clear spotless blue sky that only comes with Easterlies, so we make good progress. The terrain is changing as we go. Now we enter the Yorkshire Dales after Pately Bridge. The change of region is introduced by an almighty climb of 1 in 4 and very sustained. This is one part of the route that could do with revising as it follows the busy and narrow main road whilst climbing so hard that you lose your senses (unless you are very fit) The climb is long but lovely, with the reward of achieving the high moors at the top coming as a sudden surprise. There we branch off onto smaller roads, finding airy vistas of moorland heather and new wildlife. Wonderful. A long downhill takes us to Appletreewick where there is a verdant campsite by the river Wharfe, and a single pub.