Thursday, 3 September 2015

Hooray - I rode the Cray!

Thursday 3 September 2015

We both slept well after our huge meal last night.  It was a bit chilly in the van (the wind had increased overnight and it was fresher outside), so I put the heating on and snoozed for a bit longer.  I made a brew and also my breakfast - toast and peanut butter, yum! - while Cathy stayed in bed with her tea.  It had been dry overnight but started to spit with rain, but I really wanted to get out on my bike today.  So I changed into my kit, unlocked the bike from the rack and filled my jacket pocket with all the usual cycling stuff - pump, phone, cash, inhaler, banana! 

I turned left out of the campsite and then left again after crossing the river.  This took me on a quiet backroad out of the village and towards Kilsney.  It was fairly quiet with only the odd car, postvan driven by Stirling Moss (they all drive like that!) and one horse, but no other cyclists.  I had intended to cycle over to Kilsney then back along the main road, but realised this minor one would take me all the way to Grassington, so carried on for a few more miles.  I recognised the middle of Grassington from last year and rode out to the main road, back towards Kilsney.  This took me past the Wharfedale Caravan Club site and I was soon approaching Kilsney, with the marquees from this week's show still up in the Velofest fields where Ray and I camped last year.  Opposite is the Kilsney Park Estate, which includes trout fishing where you can catch own.  I stopped to watch some fly fishermen and witnessed one land a lovely trout of about 3 pounds.  Carrying on, I passed the spot Ray and I stood for four hours waiting for the Tour riders and was soon back in Kettlewell.  I carried on, riding up the road through Starbotton and Buckden, where we had a fine sausage buttie and cup of tea in the church hall on our bike ride last year.  From here the road starts to wind up the hillside, getting gradually steeper and windier closer to the summit.  I was starting to feel the effects of the climb, breathing hard and trying to stay in a nice cycling rhythm.  I reached the last big twist and climb, a real kick needed to get over onto the top of Col de Cray again!  I took a photo, sent Ray a quick text then spent a while catching my breath, eating the banana and drinking water.  By now it was getting a bit chilly in the wind, so I turned around for the steep descent.  Unlike Ray, I'm a descent chicken so took my time, particularly those sections of the road that were both wet and covered in cow shit!  But past this I enjoyed the fast, winding descent and was soon back at the campsite, having really enjoyed my 25 miles riding.

Bike and kit put away, I used the campsite shower then sat in the van (out of the rain) with a pot of coffee.  Cathy had done her usual clean and tidy up so all was in good order.  I set up the iBoost to piggy-back on the BT Fon wifi signal and we had an hour catching up, particularly with our friends who are on a long trip in Spain and were watching some of the Vuelta stages - looked lovely and warm there! I also had an email from Steve at Britstops.  He'd checked with the landlady of the pub we tried and failed to stay at.  It appears they're still involved but perhaps the man I spoke to knew nothing about it.  Lesson learned - always ask for the named contact at any Britstop when enquiring about staying over.

Although it was spitting with rain on and off, we went for a stroll around the village, mainly to stretch Cathy's aching legs!  We wondered around, down narrow streets and lanes, looking at the lovely stone -clad cottages to find a small one with parking for Nido!  We stopped off at the village shop for some milk, marmalade and some Yorkshire curd tart for Cathy; they also had some funny birthday cards that will suit some unsuspecting friends! Back at the van, with it still raining, we had a brew (and Cathy her tart), then I started on this post while Cathy spread out on the cab seats to read.  A little later a small Murvi campervan turned up, doubling the van numbers against the tuggers on the site.  

Dinner tonight is cassoulet, including some Phil's sausages, smoked sausage, chickpeas, puy lentils, passata, onions and garlic.  As we're on EHU it'll be cooked in 'Oska'. We also have the red wine I bought yesterday.  With all those beans, we could be in for a windy night!  We move on tomorrow.  The plan is to try and stay at the campsite at Gordale Scar, but I was unable to book; I phoned and left a message but the owner never got back to me.  So if that doesn't work out I'll do some research later on to come up with a Plan B - maybe a Britstop close by - there is one near there which is a farm shop where they make 'Yorkshire Chorizo'.

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