Malcolm and Jonathan Spencer’s Way of the Roses cycle ride

Malcolm Spencer and his son Jonathan did the Way of the Roses Cycle Ride in aid of funds for the Restoration of Holy Trinity Church, Rathmell 

Firstly a few words of sincere thanks – to my son, Jonathan, for accompanying me on the ride, to my wife, Margaret, for driving the ‘Team Car’ and carrying most of our luggage and finally to all of you who so generously sponsored me for the ride.  As a result I hope to have raised somewhere in the region of at least £1600.  The final amount will be published once all monies are in and the Gift Aid contributions have been added.  The route stretches for a total of 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington and passes through Lancaster, the Forest of Bowland, the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale to Ripon, then across the Vale of York and onto the rolling Yorkshire Wolds to Bridlington.  The highest point is 1319 feet (402 metres) at Greenhow above Pateley Bridge but the steepest hill is just outside Settle where it’s over the cobbles and then bang 20% gradient up onto the wild fells towards Airton.  But what is life without a little spice and variety!

001 (Reduced for email) Wet start Morecambe (near Midland Hotel) 4 August

Our first day (4th August) was from Morecambe to Burnsall (51 miles).  Unfortunately for most of the morning and early afternoon we were in heavy rain so the magnificent views of the Dales were obscured.  However we received a warm welcome at Settle and a hot meal in the Parish Church which placed new fuel in the tank!  The weather started to improve and we journeyed on towards Burnsall via Airton, Winterburn, Hetton, Cracoe and Thorpe.  Our first B&B was at Burnsall and a most pleasant occasion presented itself in the evening when some of our friends from Rathmell Parish Church came over to Linton for a meal at the Fountaine Inn.

002 (Reduced for email) Entering Settle 4 August

The 5th of August dawned bright and clear and the weather in fact continued to improve the further east we went.  This day was from Burnsall to Boroughbridge (36 miles), plenty of climbing and descents to start with through Appletreewick and up to Stump Cross Caverns, then down to Pateley Bridge and up again past Brimham Rocks.  The views were fantastic so it was all worthwhile.  Approaching the Cistercian Abbey of Fountains and the grand cathedral at Ripon, the building of which took place in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the gradients began to ease and we soon arrived at our second B&B where cakes and tea were ready for us – delicious!

006 (Reduced for email) Ripon Cathedral 5 August

The following day (6th August) was probably the easiest being across the flat terrain of the Vale of York.  We travelled from Boroughbridge to Pocklington (40 miles).  Here the stone walls of the Dales gave way to hedgerows full of wild flowers.  We crossed the River Ure on the Aldwark Toll Bridge which was built in 1772  (cyclists go free!) then on past the RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse and into the grounds of Beningborough Hall belonging to the National Trust.  A very pleasant section then followed as we cycled alongside the Ouse on purpose built cycle tracks right into the heart of the wonderful walled city of York.  We passed the Minster and headed north east towards Stamford Bridge and the 1066 battlefield.  Here the Yorkshire Wolds beckoned but it was still easy cycling to Pocklington with the huge cereal fields on either side of the road.  Again we were greeted at our final B&B with cakes and tea.  Pocklington is a charming market town where the Burnby Hall Gardens are known as a ‘jewel in Yorkshire’s crown’ owing to the lake there being the home of a National Collection of Water Lilies.  We ate that night at the highly recommended Italian restaurant so with the tasty food, Italian waiters and fabulous weather it certainly provided a relaxing end to the day.

009 (Reduced for email) York Minster 6 August

Our final day (7th August) was 43 miles with our route winding up a dry valley and then down the gently sloping eastern side of the Wolds to Driffield.  A brief visit to the Elizabethan stately home of Burton Agnes Hall was then followed by a climb to Woldgate Roman Road where we saw our first views of the bay at Bridlington with the sea sparkling in the distance under a clear blue sky.  We descended to the resort’s Old Town then onto the North Promenade and Beach with the Finish/Start sign being a welcome sight.  It was hard to believe that four days previously we had left Morecambe on the west coast in the rain and that we were now on the east coast at Bridlington some 170 miles later in glorious sunshine!

013 (Reduced for email) Arriving at Bridlington - Journey's End 7 August
014 BEST ONE TO USE (Reduced for email) Way of the Roses - Journey's End, Bridlington 7 August

All in all an excellent adventure and experience through some of our most beautiful countryside full of variety and interest whilst at the same time helping to raise much needed funds for a worthwhile appeal.

Where to next year?

Report by Malcolm Spencer

Many congratulations Malcolm and Jonathan on a wonderful bike ride and a big thank you for the funds you have raised for the Church Restoration Fund.