Still a couple of blog posts behind but getting there on the catching up front. Photos will have to wait until I get to a computer, or I might put up a complete gallery individually if get to a good place with wifi for my phone to connect into. Trouble is the wordpress app on the phone isn’t that great, several usability issues that could be fixed relatively easily and improving it lots.
06 May 2013
Seeing it was a rest day had a later start to the day, not setting off until 10am. My legs were aching slightly from yesterday’s exertions so definitely good timing on the break front. Packed up in the sunshine, with little in the way of wind, just enough for the kids camping nearby to get their kites up in the air. One of them proceeded to nearly dive bomb me several times accidentally – was slightly worried any sudden gust might take them over the edge of the hill and down a steep drop, that would have been character building at the very least!
Had a wander around the campsite and was bemused to see several caravans with satellite dishes or tv aerials, not sure why people would want to watch tv in such a beautiful spot but guess they like their home comforts, and don’t want to miss their favourite soap.
Bay Ness farm also hosts an off roading centre which I thought was a little dangerous, perched as it is at the top of a very steep and long hill, but probably adds to the adrenalin rush. A group of men were standing around a rugged looking jeep being loaded on to the back of a pick-up, all peering at the underside and admiring the damage done the day before; bent axle, bits sticking out that shouldn’t be, I’m sure my friend Neal would have been able to identify the bits far better than I, into off roading as he is. The owner of the jeep was promising to put photos up on his website of the post mortem, all very exciting if you’re into cars judging by the convivial atmosphere and general mirth and grunting. I prefer bikes, easier to mend and generally less expensive, most of the time.
Anyway I mounted my trusty steed for day 06, seems like longer than that since I left Norwich, and made my way back down the hill that nearly broke me the day before. Think I’m going to have to get some new brake pads in Edinburgh! After a couple of false starts I found the Cinder Trail, helped by some locals who called out that I was going the wrong way, must happen a lot. Headed North towards Whitby with the black dust coating everything again, making me think I should have taken the road, however the trail goes through some great countryside and wasn’t too bumpy today. I wouldn’t like to do it in the wet but fine in the sunshine, and I was having day 6 of sunshine so all good.
Quite a few other cyclists and walkers out for a bank holiday morning outing, general greetings exchanged in passing. I try to vary my greetings now otherwise gets boring, so occasionally I throw in some French, or Italian, the latter being trickier as I know very little Italian. Even broke into a tuneful ‘good morning, good morrrning’ at one point due to some downhill exuberance, which seemed to confuse the elderly couple I passed, they smiled though. I was passed by one other tourer, the first serious one I’ve met so far, on more of a mountain bike than my Ridgeback so he was coping better with the terrain. We had a brief conversation on the merits of different tyres for this sort of track; I was worried mine might get shredded at some point. I think I’ll either have to change to fatter tyres or stay on them roads more, although saying that haven’t had another puncture, touch wood, since day 2.
I made it to Whitby in good time and checked out the Abbey, which looked suitably Gothic and impressive (insert photos but look it up on google for the time being). Couldn’t see any Goths though, probably a bit bright, and I’d forgotten my goth get up, wouldn’t have fitted in the panniers too well anyway.
From the Abbey I walked my bike down an extremely steep and cobbled road into the town, it was a little hair raising at times with such a heavy load. If I’d let go could have caused quite a pile up at the bottom due to the sheer volumes of tourists out today. Whitby was absolutely rammed, so before going any further I stopped for a bacon and egg roll from a great little cafe at the bottom of that hill. Only £2.50, the yoke did go everywhere though and I had to do some emergency cycling top cleaning.
I continued to brave the masses for a bit, taking in Whitby’s lovely narrow streets and odd mix of shops, from the standard touristy ones where I bought some liquorice and ice cream, to the weirder curiosity shops and goth jewellery and clothing boutiques. And of course a host of fish and chip shops, more than I’ve seen anywhere else. I did have to be careful not to take anyone out with my panniers as I cycled out to the harbour, it was so crowded and people don’t hear or look for bikes, plus they were in general holiday bimble mode so weren’t very alert.
One comment, people really need to get on their bikes more or do some exercise, haven’t seen quite so many overweight people in one place for a while. They’ll be a heart disease epidemic at this rate; something close to my heart, as it were, having had an erroneous electrical pathway in my heart fixed a couple of years ago. Amazing operation via catheter ablation, I got to watch it on a screen whilst it was being done, under the effects of morphine. I remember grinning inanely at the nurse. Glad it’s fixed as your heart rate going up to insane speeds is not pleasant for an extended period of time and made the Docs think I was having heart attacks. In and out in 2 days, hurrah for wonders of modern medicine and the NHS.
Having had my fill of crowds I retreated to the campsite, Broading’s Farm, located just outside the town. Nice and quiet site with good shower block, always important, and friendly owner who let me charge my mobile. Lots of friendly dogs too, including a black lab puppy I think, very inquisitive. At this point my Garmin decided to break, and wouldn’t turn back on despite leaving it to charge for ages. Think it needs a hard reset but can’t do that on the road as don’t have the right tools, will try and find a shop in Newcastle or Edinburgh. Until then the Nemesis device will be out of action, probably a good thing given the last few days of it going wrong. Will use maps for a bit and see how I get on, plus write to Garmin with some feedback when this is over. It’s great when it works but has gone wrong too often, and now I’m going to have to record my miles manually.
Spent the next few hours reading my book, Josie Dew’s Slow Coast Home as recommended by a mother and daughter I met when out training in Norfolk, seems like an age ago but was only a couple of weeks. Great read so thanks for the recommendation. I also napped a fair bit.
Headed back into Whitby in the evening for more feeding and a few beers. Chilled out in the Shambles Bar for a while, which overlooks the harbour and serves great ale. Unfortunately they’d run out of food due to the bank holiday masses, who as mentioned earlier could really have foregone a meal or two and left some for me.
I had dinner at the Fisherman’s Wife, tomato soup followed by haddock and chips. Best haddock and chips I’ve had so far and the waitress gave a donation to the Big C which was great, must add it to my page. The restaurant has a great view over the beach and harbour area. Took some more photos which again I’ll put up at some point – there’s going to be hundreds of them, might have to buy a camera if iPhone runs out of memory. Saw a few rowing jigs, think that’s what they’re called but could well be wrong, out for an evening’s team session, haven’t seen the like since I holidayed in Cornwall.
I did miss the Magpie Cafe which I’d wanted to visit, it was just too busy; the queue was massive for hours. I spent a few hours in the Buck Hotel Inn bar writing up my blog and enjoying a few pints of Tim Taylor’s Landlord again, really superb pint and seems to taste even better up North, must be because it’s closer to home. The bar has free wifi and was playing some great old school tunes as mentioned in my post last night.
So, fully rested and fed I made my way back to the campsite, in a slightly wobbly but responsible fashion, and crashed for the night. Aching legs and body all forgotten, and ready for tomorrow’s leg over the River Tees and beyond. Feels like quite a long way from home now but morale good and looking forward to the next week. I recommend Whitby for anyone that’s not been, i’ll be trying to make it for the Goth festival next year 😉