In the absence of our illustrious Friday route master the call went out to keep the “flag flying”. Stepping into the breech on this occasion was Corporal Jones with a decisiveness worthy of a soldier in the battlefield on seeing his commander mortally wounded, suggesting a route out to Sledmere.
Given the thumbs up from our absent “leader” the rest of the crew were happy to fall into line behind the proposed route. Some confusion arose however with some of our crew as they jockeyed for starting position. First up was Ming the Merciless asking to join up at Cherry Crossroads, followed by “Stormin” Norman, saying he’d join us at Manor House, until Corporal Jones pointed out the logistics of this, since our route did not pass that way.
Six Knights, including Kevin a potential new recruit, set off from Market Cross along the Molescroft road to Cherry Burton. Waiting at the end of the cycle path at Cheery Burton was Norman with a smile and demeanour like a belisha beacon. Continuing into the village, we stopped at the Etton junction to await the arrival of Ming the Merciless. Brrr Brrr, Brrr Brrr, went Norman’s communication device. It was “King the Silliness”. “Hello is there anyone there?….. There’s no-one here”. “Where are you?” said Norm, “I’m at Manor House” replied Jim. 🙄🤔???? Probably sums up our collective thinking on hearing this. “OK Jim we’ll pedal on slowly till you catch up”
We then tootled along towards Etton and on to Holme-on-the-Wolds at a pace more akin to a Sunday school outing. As we reached the top of the climb, there was still no sign of Jim. Given his track record for navigational skills we thought it best to wait a few minutes to allow him to join up. Some thought that, given his reputation on the hills, the additional effort for him to catch us, might help to slow him down somewhat. Wishful thinking!
Corporal Jones seemed to get itchy feet, (or perhaps was beginning to feel the cold) and started to set off once more. Fortunately “Johnny Cash” turned up just as we heeded the corporal’s “call to arms”. Now that our unit were all together the pace picked up as we headed to Middleton-on-the-Wolds, North Dalton and Huggate.
The next section of the route took us to less familiar roads as we headed along York Lane then down to Thixendale. The road surface along the valley to Fimber turned out to be more like a pock marked battlefield with numerous fractures and botched repairs making our passage a lot slower and uncomfortable. It’s not often one is glad to see a 7% gradient ahead but on this occasion it marked the return to smoother surfaces.
Heading next to Sledmere, the road became a little busy with motorised traffic. “Just a steady 1 mile incline” intimated the corporal. Not much of an inspirational speech and as it turned out, about as accurate as a doctored odometer. Two and half miles later after powering our way up some steep ramps, we finally reached the “mess tent” at Sledmere House.
The return route saw us head down to Garton-on-the-Wolds and Kirkburn then follow our usual route through Bracken farm and home. A superb route dulled only by the failure of the sun to put in an appearance. Summer starts tomorrow!