And so, the final leg of our expedition has arrived. We cannot quite believe that it was six years ago that we first embarked on this challenge.
When we initially set off, neither Rad or I were married or had children but rather a lot has changed since then. Now, both with a wife and two children, it's fair to say that family pressures have changed somewhat. It is therefore with enormous thanks to our amazing wives that we embark on the final stage and leave them all behind yet again. This post is dedicated to Hannah and Harriet, who have made the whole expedition possible.
Following an early train from Kings Cross to Redcar, we got underway as soon as we pulled into the station.
Over the past six years of our expedition, we have had all weather conditions thrown at us - Gales, sleet, fog, torrential rain and even localised flooding. Setting off in a heat wave today was therefore something of a new challenge for us, but certainly a welcome one, with a week of driving rain on the west coast of Scotland still fresh in our minds!
On setting off from Redcar, it was immediately apparent that we were in for some pretty good hill climbs today, with the North York Moors looming in the distance. These certainly didn't disappoint! Not only this, but many of the cycle routes which Rad had plugged into our Garmins were very rough paths, and some of the steepest sections, totally un-cyclable!
The first station we got to along the coast was Staithes - a stunning fishing village in a deep gulley with steep cliffs on both sides, and overlooking the lovely bay. Following a steep decent into the village, we grabbed a sandwich on the waterfront, badgered by particularly persistent seagulls, before heading on.
After many miles of very rough cycle paths and Relentless hills, Whitby was out next station. The town was absolutely heaving with tourists and holiday makers, and it was all we could do to get through the crowds and take a quick photo outside before escaping.
Further down the coast, Rad's directions (which are generally pretty good), went somewhat awry, as the Garmins insisted that we descend a very steep hill into a hamlet perched on the edge of Robin Hoods Bay. Not only was it challenging to avoid tourists on the 45 degree decent, but we then realised that we needed to cycle back out of it. One of the steepest climbs of the trip!
We were soon back on track however and following a very long ascent of an off road cycling track, to get us over the final moor (in sweltering heat by this stage), we descended into Scarborough- our third station of the day. As with the previous seaside towns, Scarborough was heaving with tourists, and the endless amusement arcades and tourist shops which line the waterfront were absolutely packed as was the beach. Safe to say, that it wasn't our cup of tea, and running a bit behind schedule, we took a quick photo outside the rather impressive lifeboat station,which is currently under construction, and we were off again.
Not far down the coast we reached the small town of Filey. The station itself looked over a lovely beach and bay. A quick photo outside, yet more water to hydrate, a few snacks, and we were off.
The final stint of cycling- about 20km, was thankfully far more gently undulating countryside, through beautiful farmland, and we made good progress to reach Flamborough by 7pm. The station itself stands alone in a stunning setting, at the end of a long lane running down from the village, overlooking it's own bay. David and the crew were incredibly welcoming, showed us around the station and following a very basic shower, kindly gave us a lift into town for a pub supper to refuel.