Onward & Northward in the UK

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Sunday, June 18, 2017 Ely-Hull
The weather continues hot according to UK standards although we found it quite comfortable. However, in 2 of the 3 train segments from Ely to Hull, the air conditioning was not working and we had to stand because the bike spaces were too small to hold the bikes. Sweat was dripping off us. We missed our last train connection as our train was late so we spent another hour in travel.
We were surprised on our arrival to find our hotel literally in the train station.IMG_2202 It is called The Royal Hotel of Hull as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed here and was quite fancy. We were not however assigned their rooms! In fact our room was probably occupied by one of the servants as it is quite small, but nice. IMG_2201
We spent the balance of our day just wandering around this very pretty city and harbor area, marveling at the array of old, ornate buildings and monuments.IMG_2205










One of the structures we happened upon looked to us lake a drawbridge in the “up” position. It had vertical tracks and spanned an old, silted in canal which had to have been abandoned years ago. IMG_2217

The mystery was solved on a plaque near the structure. It was a dam like abutment  which prevented title surges that would bring the North Sea water up the river  and flood the surrounding countryside. We had seen one last year in Holland and another a few years ago in London that closed across the Thames and prevented flooding there also.  None looked like the others.

Monday, June 19, 2017 Hull-Bridlington
It was another warm and completely sunny day with very high humidity. Yah!!! The first 4 or so miles of our ride on pavement were uncomfortable and bumpy. Tree roots had damaged the asphalt which took a toll on our hands. The road surface turned to hard packed gravel for about 8 miles which was actually smoother than the asphalt. Much of the first 12 miles was a rails to trails route with few places to see the surrounding countryside. After that we were on lightly used roads and farm lanes. The surrounding countryside was in crops for as far as we could see. Some of our route was near the North Sea, but the humidity obscured our view. Mid-afternoon we stumbled upon a true English Manor House and gardens open to the public for a fee. IMG_2233


The land has been in the family since the 1100’s and the main house was finished in 1603. Twenty three generations of unbroken family possession and the family still occupies the Manor. Pictures are better than words at showing the wonder of Burton Agnes. IMG_2268

Front Door Knocker






Purchased at Auction a few years ago by one of the family members.






Prominent members of the family were invited to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in the 1950’s and kept the invitation.IMG_2243

and also the stool on which he perched (in the loser right corner to the left of the green upholstered chanr).IMG_2245 and the commemorative chess set.IMG_2246We spent about 1½ hours just marveling at the art collection and furnishings as well as the rooms themselves before we took a brief stroll through some of the gardens.IMG_2270

We arrived at our B & B in Bridlington by the North Sea about 5 p.m. IMG_2279The couple who own it bought it as a derelict and have fixed it up to be a lovely B & B. Our room is a bit small and over the top but fun.IMG_2276IMG_2274IMG_2277 IMG_2275The chocolate brownies in the tins on the table went a long way to enhance our enjoyment of the place.
We had fish and chips at a place that our hosts recommended then walked around the town. Old Bridlington is a bit run down and unkempt with sea gull splat everywhere. In its hay day as an English resort it must have been spectacular, but it has a lot of sprucing up to do before it will be so again although it has lots of potential.IMG_2281IMG_2283
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 Bridlington-Scarborough
After a wonderful English breakfast (beans, stewed tomatoes, eggs and toast), we said goodbye to our hosts IMG_2284 got on the National Cycle Route #1 at the sea front promenade and pedaled out of town. This side of town has been rehabbed and has a beautiful landscaped sea path for riding and walking. About 2 miles along we stopped at a Miniature Model Village for a visit. It’s a 1 to 12 scale model of a made up Yorkshire village.IMG_2294 IMG_2302IMG_2300Really very interesting in the detail of all aspects of small town British life. We stopped for lunch at a small village church. The church ladies take turns volunteering to make a little money for their church. IMG_2340IMG_2335IMG_2336On display in the church is the original “chain bible” which Henry VIII ordered put in every church that was not sacked. IMG_2337The rest of the day was quite hilly with wonderful views out to the sea and fields of small grains and vegetables. IMG_2332Our room for the night is in a Victorian house one block from the sea cliffs. IMG_2350Out our window is a large Cricket field complete with players going at it. The castle on the cliff is in the other direction. IMG_2345

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Scarborough
The weather was supposed to be stormy so we got an early start. We made a brief visit to St. Mary’s Church,15-IMG_2367 yet another church built in the 12th century, but destroyed and changed many times since. Although it’s supposed to be a tourist attraction, we were the first of the day. Just a short walk from there to Scarborough Castle.39-IMG_2391 29-IMG_2381

It sits atop a small mountain with a cliff to the sea on 2 sides.28-IMG_2380 The site is huge. King John ordered it built and spent a lot of time there. The Keep is large and mostly intact. It was the place of last resort of the occupants during a siege. 25-IMG_2377

It was the site of such a siege during the English civil war between the royalists who supported the monarchy (King James I) and the Parliamentarians. The parliamentarians won out and ushered in the time of Cromwell.
The site has a panoramic view of the entire area and out to the North Sea. The weather had deteriorated somewhat but we still managed to walk around the entire site and listen to all the audio guide had to offer and, of course, take pictures.

We descended from the castle to the Town Market. The lower floor has stalls mostly filled with antiques and souvenirs. The main level and the new balcony had a variety of stores. We moved on from there to the sea side which is lined with cute shops and arcades. After lunch we tried a local delight called Horlick, a hot or cold milk drink with malt in it. 45-IMG_2398The plain one didn’t excite us so the soda gal made us a new one with chocolate added for no charge….everything is better with chocolate! On to the lifeboat station. Both it and the lifeboat are brand new (300,000 pounds for the boat alone) and very impressive. 47-IMG_240048-IMG_2401

From there to the Rotunda, a geological and archeological museum built in 1837 as a museum for the man whose work was instrumental in the founding of the study of  58-IMG_2411

geology. It houses the remains of a coffin and the entire skeletal remains of its 4000 year old occupant 55-IMG_240856-IMG_2409By this time the day was spent and so were we. Back to the room for some R & R and more Cricket out our window.

Thursday June 22 Scarborough to Whitby
The prediction for today was rain, thunderstorms, and hail starting at 11:00. Our ride today is all on a Rails to Trails path which is part of the NCR #1 along the coast. 01-IMG_2413

Beginning of the Rails to Trails segment

Typical Section Rails to Trails

It was warm and very humid to start then at 7 min. to 11:00 it started raining. We were soon shrouded in mist and couldn’t see any of the surrounding sea or cliffs.06-IMG_241809-IMG_2421 Lucky for us the path was very hard pack so mud wasn’t really an issue.04-IMG_2416

At the top of the pass (600+ feet above sea level) was a strategically placed tea house where the railway station used to be. It was a perfect place to dry off a bit before forging on in the rain.
Mid afternoon we came to the village of Robin Hood’s Bay, a cute, very small old sea village with a 30% grade down to the old village at the water. We had our lunch overlooking that 30%!!13-IMG_2425
There was a lot of elevation gain and loss today with one hill marked 20%, but the area is very beautiful and worth touring through. The area is filled with wonderful old fishing villages and spectacular cliffs.
Our B & B is in the heart of Whitby

Through the orange door and up 2 flights of stairs carrying bikes>

just below the Abbey and Church on the cliff above this old whaling village. Our hosts met us at a coffee shop around the corner where we visited with them for 45 min. before going up to the room. A fish and chips dinner and walk around a bit before turning in.

Friday, June 23, 2017 Whitby – Brotton

It rained hard during the night but had stopped by the time we got up. The day remained very cold, heavily overcast and quite windy, in other words, a typical summer day in England. After breakfast we walked up hill to Whitby Abbey a ruined structure that traces its Christian roots to the 8th century, although most of what remains was built in the 13th century. IMG_2465IMG_2470IMG_2460The abbey and the abbots and monks who resided there suffered the same fate from lack of interest, money and competing religious interests.  It is however, magnificent. It sits atop a steep hill and has a commanding view of the North Sea IMG_2457and seems to revel in its winds. We listened to the audio tape and wandered around the site and tolerated the wind for about an hour and also paid a brief visit to St. Mary’s Church IMG_2456which is adjacent to the abbey.

We packed up our panniers and brought them to the entrance to our lodging before hauling our bikes down the 2 narrow flights of stairs to the outside. All that was the easy part of the day though. Our ride, although short (17 miles) had three serious climbs totaling more than 2000 feet.  Ed claims he’s walked his bike up hills before, but Maggie has never witnessed this. Today he walked up 2 of the hills.  They were amazingly long and steep (one was almost 5 miles long.) Combined with the reported 17 mile an hour headwind (It felt like more.) made for an exhausting 4 ½ hours on the road. It was a bit difficult to enjoy the landscape and views of the sea while struggling so much, but we managed. Our abode for the night is a golf club perched high above the sea and sporting 5 courses, a hotel and a restaurant. The view out to the sea and cliffs was magnificent. 2-IMG_24955-IMG_2498We ate in the restaurant to give our bikes a rest.

Saturday, June 24, 2017 Stockton-Norton

We awoke to a bright sunny day which quickly turned cloudy, cold and windy. Our view from the entrance to the golf club down to and across the bay is really something else. The beginning of our ride included one long hill, but the rest was mostly flat for a change although we did climb almost 1000 feet. There are many large farms in this area of England as well, but it is distinct from the southern areas of our ride because of all of the rock walls that separate the lands. 3-IMG_2496The soil must be much rockier and so the farmers remove the rock and needed a place to put it, hence the rock fences.

The weather did not improve but at least it didn’t get worse. Mid-afternoon we visited a very small museum of the birthplace of Capt. James Cook. Cook came from very modest beginnings to become the captain of a British ship which played a pivotal role in the defeat of the French in eastern Canada (Quebec) and who in the late 1700’s sailed to the South Pacific and was instrumental in opening up the area to trade and thus increasing the British hold on world domination.

We stopped at a village train station and got our tickets including bike reservations for our trip from Durham to Carlisle Monday morning. Carlisle is near the west coast of northern England and the jumping off place for our ride east along Hadrian’s Wall back to the North Sea. We’ll need to be back in Newcastle to catch the ferry to Holland on July 6th.

Before leaving the golf club this morning, we struck up a conversation with our waiter from last night and invited him to join us for a drink after work as his home is only a block from where we are staying in Norton. We met Jonathan and his wife and had a very pleasant evening.


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