Having paid only £7 for a bed for the night, I felt no guilt when I pushed the boat out and splurged £5 for a full English at the hostel. I slipped a peanut butter sandwich and a banana in my jersey pocket when nobody was watching, downed my fourth cup of tea and got on my way.
This was to be a long day in the saddle at 80 miles compared to 45 on Day 1. Best hope I don’t have any hold ups…
— Jack Franks (@jackyfranks) September 28, 2016
Barely had I got going on Day 2 when I was stopped in my tracks for the best part of half an hour by a proper countryside traffic jam as a farmer moved a herd of cattle along the road to a different field. With no way to get past and not wanting to lose momentum for the steep hill ahead, I plonked myself down on the nearest hay bale and enjoyed my peanut butter sandwich (thanks YHA!) while watching the pilgrimage.
As I’m sure you can well imagine, the ride was beautiful, aesthetically and in terms of physical enjoyment but I won’t bang on too much about grass and sheep. I might stick a photo or two in once I’ve finished writing this.
I soon passed through the cute little market town of Pateley Bridge. I didn’t really know anything about Pateley Bridge and was surprised when I arrived to find it absolutely buzzing. By buzzing I mean I saw between 20 and 30 people knocking around. About 10 of them were in a sweet shop, which claimed to be the ‘Oldest Sweet Shop in England’, but they didn’t spell it ‘Shoppe’ so I’m not sure if I believe them.
Oldest sweet shop or not, I bought a fat bag of toffee bon bons (the powdery kind) and had the same conversation I have with every ‘Olde Sweet Shoppe’ proprietor I ever meet about how disappointing it is that they don’t make toasted tea cakes any more (I know right!?) and got on my way.
Though I didn’t have time to stop at Fountains Abbey, I did cycle through the adjoining medieval deer park, which is home to 350 deer and a very impressive looking church.
As I rode through the park admiring the church building and the deer lazing and grazing in the sun to my left, I almost had a terrible (but also kind of brilliant) accident when a MASSIVE (it was properly massive) red deer, antlers and all, burst out of the bushes to my right and darted across the road in front of me. I slammed my breaks on and missed him by a whisker. It was amazing!!
This wasn’t the only time a deer has jumped out at me; I think they do it on purpose for a laugh. Read about another deer encounter during a hike on the North Downs Way HERE.
It was a beautifully sunny day and the rest of the ride was fairly easy going, it didn’t feel like 80 miles at all and I arrived at YHA York with half a spring still in my step. I cycled into town and had a stroll around the city. I used my iPhone to find a few Geocaches and then I used it to find some good beer and food.
The venue of choice was a bizarre establishment called ‘The House of Trembling Madness’. Downstairs is a vast specialist beer shop with an immense selection of rare and wonderful beers from all over the world. Upstairs is a wonky little loft pub that also has superb beer offerings. Their small menu is comprised mainly of cheese and cured meat platters from local producers. I went for a hybrid with some pickles and a massive hunk of cheesy bread. The food was decent; the beer was star of the show.
As if the menu wasn’t already enough of a put off for vegetarians, the small loft is packed, literally to the rafters, with taxidermy. I ate my meal while having a staring competition with a warthog as a lion leered over my shoulder. It dawned on me that this was the first, and probably last time I would ever have dinner in the company of both Simba and Pumba.