We were on the road by 8:30 am this morning. There was a very stiff breeze out of the west which was not a good sign as basically we were headed due west. Never the less we were off and made good time on the first leg of the route which due north out of York following the river. At the 8 mile mark the course turned west and we were straight on into the wind. Fortunately the course was all down paved roads some of the roads were busy and some were just lanes. It was hard to stay in any kind of pace line into the wind as the course was so winding and the terrain was so up and down. The first 30 miles (50 kms) was quite flat with almost no big hills. After that the hills started coming on and got bigger and steeper bigger the further we got. To days course had a total climb of 5512 ft (1682 m) and a distance of 75.7 miles (122 Kms).
The first stop at the 35 mile (56 kms) mark was the Fountains Abbey at Studley Royal Water Gardens, which was a National Heritage site. This Abbey was built in 1168 by the Cistercian monks who had left York to pursue a more devout life. The abbey prospered and grew due to the excellent location and resources of the area. The monks built a huge abbey which cover a very large area. Then in 1568 Henry VIII order the abbey closed as the abbeys were gaining too much regional power. The abbey was abandon and it fell into ruin. The National Heritage society took it over and is now open to the public. The place is absolutely stunning in it immensity. The detailing on the stone work has been lot in the last 500 years but there is still a lot of evidence of how incredibly beautiful it must have been. The pictures speak for themselves.
The second stop was the Brimham Rocks, also a National Heritage site. It is a very unusual site as you come around the corner and in this natural draw of the hillside are these huge sandstone formations. Back home we would call them Hoodoo’s. Not quite Hoodoos in that they are not conical but large sandstone blocks which have been carved out by wind and water. They were quite fun to walk around and take pictures. The view from there of the surrounding country side is absolutely phenomenal.
By now the wind is just howling straight into our faces. Patrick and I were saying it was 35 mph (56 kms). Ok fun is over lets load bikes and drive the last few miles into Giggleswick. We are staying at the Craven Arms where we had reserved the king suite but got stuck in a tiny room with one of the smallest doubles ever.
Tomorrow is another tough day with 61 miles (100 kms) and 5740 feet (1750 m) climb. Fortunately the wind is forecast to be on our backs.