‘Recovery’ day….58 miles
An invitation to dine with friends in York, coupled with my eagerness to visit a couple of places en route, led to what is euphemistically known in the world of cycling as a ‘recovery’ day. No, this is not a full day off the bike, but simply a shorter day, with fewer climbs.
I set off this morning with a ‘social’ group (gentler pace and more conversation) and broke off after some 30 miles to spend more time at Byland Abbey
…making use of my English Heritage membership (and I was even allowed in without my card) to discover the extraordinary past of this Cistercian Abbey
These places developed into grand palatial properties in medieval times, financed largely by the bequests of wealthy local families concerned about the salvation of their own souls.
Then on to Ampleforth Abbey and College
a Catholic Benedictine community with a private secondary school, set prominently in the Yorkshire countryside, with fine views over a valley. I particularly wanted to pay a visit because a great uncle of mine had been head groundsman early last century.
If what I was looking at was a legacy of his time there, he would have been proud. The grounds swept down the hillside and into the valley, revealing cricket fields and sports pitches that enjoyed prime locations.
And like my own school in Durham, they had a high wall that served as a court for playing racket-ball. I’ve never seen these anywhere else.
So tomorrow sees the end of the festival. Tents will be packed, bikes will be dismantled for transportation, and goodbyes will be said. Most will drive home, but a small number will climb back on their now loaded bikes to begin the journey home. And that includes me…….heading south for two days….which, I’m told by many, will be a downhill journey all the way…..
Oh would that it were true!