A Landescape Experience Part II – The Pub Crawl
Thursday 2 September 2010, Filed in: General
We didn’t intend to do a tandem tour in 2005, too busy with the new business and we’d already had a couple of holidays earlier in the year plus some good weekends, it should have been enough for one year. However, you can’t have too many holidays and having accidentally bought a new Landescape in August, we felt it was only right to give it a reasonable test ride.
For once, the weather forecast for August bank holiday was promising something other than rain so a plan was born. Planning only started a couple of days in advance so it was never going to be a very grand plan but surely a couple of days is all it takes to book a few campsites if you’ve only got a tandem and a lightweight tent. Erm, no actually. Even with a Camping and Caravanning Club guide, it took 20 or so phone calls to get pitches on 2 sites for Friday and Saturday, Sunday was going to be ‘pot luck’ as they say. Thursday evening was spent sorting through the camping gear, finding the lightweight bits hidden at the back of the cupboard for the last couple of years. The Yak trailer hasn’t seen much use so that was dragged out to carry the camping gear with the remaining clothes, food, cameras and maps distributed around various panniers and a handlebar bag. We like to pack light when we travel as you can probably tell, not that we take much more on a longer holiday, just more knickers and socks…
Friday morning saw the bike in a work stand for a quick check, 700c wheels swapped for the 26” set, trailer and panniers were loaded and by lunch time the sun was shining, just time for a few photographs taken by a helpful neighbour and we were away. Being a bank holiday in England, 5 minutes later it started to drizzle! Leaving Market Weighton, we braved the main Hull to York road for a couple of miles before turning off through Pocklington to quieter roads. Passing Fangfoss, Dave’s plan to stop at the pub was thwarted when Karen pointed out that we hadn’t been travelling long enough to stop just yet. It had been less than an hour since we left the house so she was probably right; it was the only disagreement of the weekend and also the only ‘dry session’. With the wind behind us and sunshine with intermittent light showers, it was a pleasant ride and a good opportunity to get a feel of the Landescape fully loaded and towing a trailer. It’s a stiffer bike than the old Dawes, and much, much longer with that trailer hanging on at the back. Remembering just how long it is will take some getting used to; heavy traffic and ‘T’ junctions will be interesting for a while yet. Having said that, handling was much easier, 27 speed STI gears and disc brakes seemed to be a reliable combination and certainly easy to use, much safer than the old 6 speed downtube gear shift and slightly loose front V brake on the Dawes.
Skirting around Malton, we crossed the A64 and climbed our first proper hill from Barton Hill, past the obelisk on the Castle Howard estate, then down through the estate, past the lake and on towards to our first campsite at Kirby Misperton, just a few hundred yards from the Flamingo Land theme park. Ashfield Caravan Park is located behind the Ashfield Hotel, nice modern facilities and level ground to set the tent up, a good campsite although with many more caravans than tents. The hotel provided a novel carvery style evening meal and several pints of Adnams Broadsword, the quiz afterwards was the most fun we’ve had in years. There was a spectacular argument at a nearby table when the quizmaster, the local village bobby no less, was accused of favouring one particular team by asking the same questions as in previous weeks. I thought pub quizzes should be a bit of good humoured fun, obviously it’s more cut throat than that, great entertainment all-round.
Saturday started off cool and breezy, although once the bacon butties and coffee were ready, we didn’t mind too much. A slow packing session and on the road again, stopping off at Hovingham to visit the grocery shop and talk to the St Bernard lying in the adjacent driveway. The shop had some nice buns and chocolate, the dog didn’t seem very bothered about anything except getting a little more sleep. Up and down over Grimston Moor before dropping down to Bransby for lunch on the bench outside the excellent Ebor Stores, a great source of nourishment both hot and cold. From there, up the hill through Crayke to the Durham Ox were we had a very pleasant hour in the sheltered and very pretty terraced beer garden, sampling the delights of both Brains and St Austell breweries. After lunch, we passed through Easingwold and arrived at Boroughbridge in the late afternoon, in time to park up and do some food shopping. The Spar provided necessities, the nearby delicatessen provide the luxuries and very luxurious they where too, especially the tiffin. We soon covered the last couple of miles to Roecliffe where we’d booked to stay on the Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site behind the Crown Inn. We arrived to find Hull had just beaten some west riding team in the Rugby League cup, the bar was full of wessies so we slipped quietly out to set up the tent without mentioning that we came from anywhere near Hull. The facilities were fine, adequate rather than spectacular, a bit of a walk to the toilets and showers and don’t look in the corners too closely if you’re easily scared. The sunshine continued into the evening, warm in spite of the cool SW breeze which had been against us for most of the day. The pub was fully booked for food, so we offered to eat outside, although they found us an indoor table at the last minute. The menu was more restaurant than bar snack, no doubt a sign of the increasing popularity of eating out, but the food was very good. Retiring to the bar afterwards to sample the Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Hambleton Ales, we made friends with the beaten rugby league fans and enjoyed a pleasant evening. We never did tell them were we came from though.
Sunday started grey and overcast with spots of rain. We went back through Boroughbridge and then round quite back roads heading towards York. Lunch was taken in the sun on a bench at Cattal before visiting the Boot and Shoe at Tockwith, where it was warm enough to sit out and sample the Samuel Smiths bitter. We set off again full of good intentions but stopped a couple of miles later at the Sun Inn at Long Marston for more Sam Smiths. Working our way around York through Copmanthorpe, we reached our target of Acaster Malbis. The sun shone on Moor End Farm campsite and they had space for a small tent so we pitched, finished the tiffin bought from that Boroughbridge deli, and went for a walk along the River Ouse and around the village. There are several campsites in the village, all looked very busy, mostly bigger and more caravan oriented than Moor End which was very friendly and quiet. Apart from a squeaky pedal and a loose ahead set bearing, the bike was still behaving perfectly. The pedals were transferred from the old Dawes so had seen a few miles of service anyway, the loose headset turned out to be a problem with the locking device on the Hope bearings, easily fixed when we got home but a nuisance whilst we were away. The evening meal was provided by The Ship Inn, good bar food and warm enough to sit outside again, with several glasses of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord to help the digestion.
Our last day dash for home started early for once, waking to a cool sunny morning which quickly became breezy and overcast. Crossing the River Ouse on the old railway line which forms part of the Trans Pennine Cycleway, and with a helpful breeze, we were stopping for breakfast on the village green at Elvington by 9:30, earlier than we would normally get away from the campsite. A quick run through the back roads and small villages saw us home in Market Weighton just in time to beat the rain which had threatened all weekend.
The trailer was great for carrying the camping gear without loading the weight onto the bike, although the Landescape is much more capable of carrying the weight than our old Dawes was. The Tandem behaved perfectly apart from the headset, which turned out to be a problem with the new ‘Star Doctor’ adjuster used by Hope. It was removed and replaced by a conventional star nut and the problem went away. The tandem owners behaved slightly less perfectly, needing rather more practise and probably rather less alcohol, but it was good fun, a great introduction to touring with the Landescape, next time we may get a few more miles in, although whether we’ll be able to control the alcohol level any better is open to question…
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