The weather forecast was truly dreadful for Sunday 17th May, the day of our planned rideout to Lord Stones Cafe, at Carlton in Cleveland. High probability of heavy rain. And it was with heavy hearts that we assembled at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms, in full wet weather gear, fully expecting to get well and truly soaked. The promised heavy rain did put a good number of our rideout regulars off, and only eight of us (Steve, Justine, Toby, Mark, Mick, Lisa, Daz & Barnsley Bob) turned up for the rideout.
Barnsley Bob was on his brand new Triumph Bonneville America, with a mere 100 miles on the clock. Brave man bringing such a new bike out for an almost guaranteed soaking, but quite philosophically, he said it has to get wet at some time.
Time for some fried breakfast products, sat in the sun one minute with blue skies, then a minute later the sky was grey and dark and it started drizzling.
Time obviously to saddle up and set off, just in time for it to stop raining.
We took the A636 (Denby Dale Rd), across the Ings Road roundabout, past the Ridings Centre car park, then right onto Kirkgate, then the exit onto Peterson Rd at the Wilkinson Roundabout, then onwards onto the A642 Stanley Rd and out of Wakefield. We stayed on the A642 through Stanley, Oulton, Swillington and Garforth to the M1 Roundabout, then straight across on to the B1217 to Towton.
Here the route becomes much more scenic, and we passed the historic site of the Battle of Towton, which on 29th March 1461, the bloodiest battle ever fought on British Soil occurred. More than 28,000 men (roughly 1% of the entire English population at the time) lost their lives in fierce hand to hand combat between Yorkshire and Lancastrian forces in the Wars of the Roses.
It was a decisive Yorkist victory, yet despite the slaughter, nothing was settled. Over the next decade a further seven major battles were fought until the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 brought about a lull in the struggle. Here endeth the history lesson. Today, it is pleasant rolling farmland, with a cracking biking road running right through the middle of it. Dark clouds in the sky all along the route but the imminent rain was holding off and the roads were still dry.
Hitting Towton village, we took a left onto the A162, then the eastbound ramp onto the A64 towards York. We continued along the A64 at a nice steady pace and took our first Comfort / Fag break at the Highwayman cafe.
Whilst there, a Lime Green Lamborghini arrived, causing much interest. Daz, probably quite correctly noted, that the bottle blonde bimbo wife / girlfriend / mistress, was probably higher maintenance and cost more to run than the car !!!!!! LOL !!!
We continued on the A64 until Whitwell-On-The-Hill, after which we took the slip road onto the B1248 to Malton, bypassing Malton town centre and heading Northwest on the B1257 towards Helmsley. The B1257 between Malton and Helmsley is a lovely road, and we know it well as it is our regular route every year to the Farmyard Party. Just near the old FYP site, we took a right onto the A170 and into Helmsley. We stopped for another Comfort / Fag break in Helmsley's Market Place.
A good few bikes were coming and going in Helmsley, as it is a popular rideout destination / stop off point in picturesque North Yorkshire. Amazingly, we were still to be rained on.
From Market Place, we took a right to rejoin the B1257, and 12 miles of quite stunning scenery to the wonderfully named Chop Gate village. We took a sharp left onto Raisdale Rd which was little wider than a single carriageway road. We continued on this road, up and down dale and in True Wakefield MAG fashion, sailed right past the right turn into Lord Stone Cafe car park. To be fair it wasn't signposted at all and it was only once past that you realised you had missed it. A quick U turn and we were safely in the car park. Still not raining.
Lord Stone Cafe is built in the side of a hill, and it would be interesting to know what it had been in a past life (or maybe it has always been a Troglodyte cafe). The cafe serves up some nice food at very reasonable prices, considering it is in the middle of nowhere. Time for some lunch then a wander about to admire the scenery.
The cafe is in an amazingly picturesque location, and you can see for miles and miles from the hill top.
We decided to take a bit more of a direct route back so followed the B1257 through yet more impressive scenery and 1 in 3 descents to the A172, where we took a left to pick up the A19 East of Northallerton. A steady trek down the A19 before we stopped to fill up with petrol as by this point, we had done around 120 miles.
The sky was looking pretty ominous now and a fair old wind had built up. Here we go, time to get soaked. We continued south on the A19 then picked up the A1. This time we did hit rain but were through it after a couple of minutes. The roads were soaking though suggesting we had ridden through the tail end of the rain clouds. A steady tootle home and we reached Wakefield for around 16:00.
Five minutes after putting the bikes in the garage and the heavens opened. By some unbelievable fluke, we had successfully skirted the rain clouds pretty much all day and didn't really get wet at all.
A most pleasant rideout, great roads, great destination and who would have thought we would have stayed dry by heading into the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Result.