Tuesday 24th July 2007
Market Weighton to York
And so to York. A short stretch on a busy main road to begin with through the village of Skiptonthorpe - but here we find a new cycle track along the road still under construction. They have just about completed the track to the point on the road where we have to turn off to the village of Everingham - so we thank the workmen for doing such a great job and then continue on the minor roads westward. The cycling is very easy today - hardly a hill in sight - and we are soon through Melbourne and on to the B1228 just outside Sutton upon Derwent. The traffic from here on seems to gradually increase in level, so after passing Elvington and the York Air Museum we opt to turn off on a minor road to Dunnington. This route would add an extra couple of miles but would turn out to be much more pleasant. In Dunnington we pick up Cycle Route 66 which would take us, somewhat circuitously, into York. Soon after the village we cross over the A156 and find a cafe signed at the York Auction Centre - the tea isn't much cop but at 50p we can't complain. At least they provide us with toilets.
We then follow the cycle route signs into the city of York - or attempt to. There always seems to be a sign missing at a critical point so we miss the track and end up making a bee-line for the cathedral which we can see in the distance.
The arrival at York deserves an ice-cream - £1.40 for a cone - "One Extra Scoop Free". Does this gimmick actually sell more ice-cream than saying "Two scoops for £1.40"?! An American lady comes up to us to say how she wishes she could get her husband to do more cycling, and then spends a while chatting. We go off to find a bench to eat our lunch and sit near the west end of the cathedral under the tall statue which is the memorial to the soldiers who took part in the Boer War. We are entertained by a street musician playing pop classical music on a guitar - he is very good.
Lunch over, we lock the tandem at the west end of the cathedral and proceed inside. A tour is about to start in the next few minutes - this keeps us occupied for the nigh on the next two hours. I can't start to summarise what we were told but there is a very good virtual tour of the cathedral on their website if you are interested.
Leaving the Cathedral we go in search of the TIC to get a map of the centre of town and to get our bearings so we know how to get to the B&B later in the day. The TIC is very close to Minstergate, where there is also access to the City Walls and alternative views of the Cathedral, and also to the Art Gallery. We spend a while looking round the art gallery where the main attraction is an exhibition by Henri Fanti-Latour, best known for his paintings of flowers. There is also an interesting side exhibition with old drawings of the cathedral showing the damage that was done by a certain Jonathan Martin who set fire to the building in 1829 - the fire destroyed the east end of the church, the choir stalls, the organ loft and the roof timbers. He had sent four letters in the previous months warning of divine judgement on the clergy - he had not given his name - just his initials and an address! It was soon found that the suspect had once escaped from Gateshead Asylum where he had been confined after threatening to shoot the Bishop of Oxford. At his trial he was judged to be insane so he spent the rest of his life in Bedlam (the Bethlam Royal Hospital in Greater London).
Mileage today 25.3 miles Total mileage so far 471.7 miles