It was again a case of “5 being the favourite number” that Chris Otter said he had a route to Thirsk Garden Centre via Seaways, no more prompting needed and it was agreed our small group would take up the offer with Chris saying as its very mild the roads should be OK ( he lied ) and John Coe saying he would back mark, that we mounted up by the exit gate, ( then waited for Pete).
We set off with a right out of Squires, under the bridge and into the mud we went, left at the church toward Lotherton and under the railway bridge only to find the road / quarry entrance one mass of mud which set the tone for most of the day, but not to be disheartened we pressed on past the pond then a right toward Saxton, out of the village toward and through Towton and then a right toward Ullaskelf, followed by a left toward Cawood on the very nice twisty, not often used route to get the group out to the A19 and into Escrick.
The pace was well maintained and being a small ( Enid Blyton size ) group, no marking was needed as we went on the the well used route to Wheldrake, Elvington and Sutton on Derwent where Chris vanished into the distance as we were caught at the traffic light controlled bridge ( we think he jumped the lights ).
Eventually we caught up with Chris, marking his own junction, and we turned left toward Newton on Derwent, over the A1079, through Wilberfoss then a series of Right and Left Turns on little used narrow lanes with grass growing in the centre's, saw us joining the “Mile” road toward Millington and the infamous “Woods”.
Off to the “ Woods” we go, and with a fair amount of “wash” and mud the pace was nice and steady, only for us to be abruptly startled by gunfire as we passed an organised shoot ( not sure who was alarmed most, me or the Pheasants ) once out of the “Woods” it was a steady run through to the A166 and onto Seaways for the T&P only to find that the less adventurous Observers / T5 Team had taken a less arduous route to Seaways, pinching the cheap seats at the back, and not a speck of dirt on their bikes!
Tea taken, and part 2 of the trip ( Chris saying the roads should be better on this part ), He lied again!! with a right out of Seaways toward Fimber, left onto the B1248 toward and through North Grimston, left onto Cordike Lane to Eddlethorpe ( crossing the Buttercrambe TT ) and onto Kirkham Abby ( a lovely twisty scenic route ) that took us up to the A64.
Again a good pace and the 'Enid Blyton,s' ( Chris named us so :) !! ) keeping together as a nice group, no marking needed, a quick left – right saw us cross the A64 heading toward Castle Howard only to then turn left ( all new roads for me at this point) for Bulmer then right toward Terrington, Scackleton and Coulton before picking up the B1363 near Gilling East,( at last somewhere I recognise ) before turning left to Ampleforth.
Past the pretty college at Ampleforth onto Wass , past Byland Abbey and into Coxwold, a Right turn and up the hill out of the village then a right turn again saw the group heading toward Kilburn, ( The White Horse at Sutton Bank clearly in view although looking a bit grey and drab ) Osgoodby and Bagby to pick up the A170 into Thirsk, a left at the roundabout towards and under the A168 saw us do a Right and Right again into the Garden Centre for an eagerly awaited lunch.
Lunch taken, team Piccy duly done the group split to go to there own ways, some to York, some homeward bound but all agreed it was a really enjoyable ride on some little used roads, and new routes to some of us, Thanks to Chris for an excellent days ride and John for keeping his rear safe.
The route does show my little warm up ride from Pontefract to Squires via Aberford & Barwick and also from Thirsk to York and back home, but if you must follow the route then by all means pop in for a cuppa :):) at the end.