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York to Newcastle cycle ride. 23rd – 25th May

Over the last couple of years GOC (Scotland and Adventure Out groups) have teamed up with GoBike to organise a weekend cycle tour. (GoBike is a cycling group from Glasgow who organise regular club runs in the city and they also campaign for better cycling facilities for all.

It all started in 2011 when we cycled from Newcastle to Edinburgh; in 2012 we continued the journey north cycling from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, 2013 was Aberdeen to Inverness and last year we cycled from Inverness to John O’Groats.  Having run out of mainland we decided this year to work backwards so the route this year was York to Newcastle.  This was a three day trip staying in Osmotherly in the North York Moors and Durham (venue of the 2003 AOG).

So at about 10:00 am, 16 of us (10 men and 6 women) congregated on the concourse of York railway station on what was a gloriously warm and sunny day, feeling like the first time we’d felt real warmth in the sun this year.

Douglas had chosen his route well, and we followed National Cycle Network route 65 out of the city, initially staying close to the River Ouse, then branching off into the lanes of the Vale of York.  Lunch was taken on the green of the attractive town of Easingwold.

At Kilburn, the route comes up against the abruptly rising ground of the North York Moors.  There is a choice of routes here, one climbing up the 1 in 5 ‘White Horse Hill’ onto the high plateaux, the other skirting around to the west before a difficult off road climb takes the route onto the moors; both routes meet at a bend in the road called Square Corner and its downhill from here to Osmotherly.

Osmotherly Youth Hostel was our first overnight stop, and it being Eurovision night we eschewed the pub and stayed in….we were all quite tired anyway.

Next day we continued on route 65 getting lost (misplaced more accurately) in Middlesbrough and Stockton due to inadequate or incorrect signage of the route (the Strava* plot of our route looks like an accident with an Etch-a-Sketch…).  Still we arrived safely at the comfortable Premier Inn on a non-descript industrial area on the outskirts of Durham. With our bikes safely stowed in the motel’s laundry room we went for an excellent meal in the attached pub.

The last leg of the route to Newcastle was quite short and some of us had to make a dash for booked trains back home.  Those that could linger a bit took lunch in the Famous Marsden Grotto pub – this is on the beach near South Shields and accessed by a lift down the cliff face.

A great ride expertly organised (as always) by Douglas.  Ideas for next year’s trip are welcome.

*Strava is a GPS ride logging website.

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