Following the storms last night, it was quite a surprise to arrive at the showground in sunshine! Though the forecast still did not bode well, I had several route plans in mind for different contingencies, as well as lots of optimism! I think we started with a dozen riders, so our group of 6 set off towards Rudding Park where Stuart joined us and Steve B kindly led the next group, though order and membership became quite fluid during the ride. Cloud formation was brilliant this morning as we headed through Little Ribston towards the smooth Whixley Lane with great co-operative teamwork negotiating the railway gates.
Once over the Aldwark bridge and so mission accomplished, Paul T & Stuart headed back; the rest of us had a vote and decided to continue to Beningborough Hall for lunch. Unfortunately the road to Linton had been resurfaced with gravel the day before so the resistance under the tyres was pretty trying… and did I mention the wind?! However, there was room for all of us inside the Beningborough café with an excellent fresh lunch and quick smiley service – happy days! Husband had texted me to say that Harrogate was enduring the forecast downpour and lo, as we left the café, the heavens started to open, albeit slowly; James, Derek & Karen opted for the quickest route returning over the Linton gravel, though we caught them up on Gallabar Lane near Marton where Derek was fixing a puncture.
Meanwhile, the remaining set: Tim2, Colette, Colin, Sally, Nikki, Steve B, Steve W & I opted to turn right, turn up the pace to keep warm and admire the Tollerton vernacular architecture whilst doing our best to ignore the driving rain. Steve W turned left at Aldwark Bridge back home to Whixley having completed the route by setting off when most of us were still asleep. A fine hare in full flight crossed the road ahead of me and ploughed on through the fields; later we saw a dozen swans resting in a field off Marton Lane! At Arkendale, weather conditions made me put Plan E into action, so straight on to Knaresborough where Colin & Nikki peeled off and the rest of us meandered back through Harrogate. A lovely ride in variable weather and invariably cheery company which makes leading easier. Approx 48 miles with 1,900 ft elevation. Yvonne D.