HedgehogCycling.co.uk

Yorkshire cycling website

Bicycles

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire, Middlesbrough to Scarborough

Middlesbrough transporter bridge

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge 6, by Charlie Nettle, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016, on Sunday 1st May 2016, starts in Middlesbrough. The départ fictif, or ceremonial start, is in Centre Square, Middlesbrough, then the racing begins on the outskirts of Nunthorpe. The riders will go through Northallerton and Thirsk, before heading up Sutton Bank into the North York Moors. They take in Helmsley and Kirbymoorside, then Danby, Glaisdale, and Grosmont, before getting to the east coast at Whitby. The race route goes to Robin Hood's Bay and East Ayton, before a seafront finish in Scarborough. This is the stage 3 route map.

The route length is 198km. There are six classified climbs during the stage. The Yorkshire Post accompanied JLT Condor on a recce of the second half of Stage 3, and their video shows some of the roads through the beautiful North York Moors. Riders Tom Moses and Graham Briggs described the stage as 'brutal'. 'It's a lot tougher than the same stages last year,' said Moses. Briggs added, 'The roads are just real dead, and you can't get any real rhythm. It means it's going to be a painful finish.'

Read the Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016 race report.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: the start in Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough Centre Square

Centre Square Middlesbrough, by John Lord, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 3 begins in Middlesbrough, in Centre Square. Centre Square is by the Town Hall, and the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; it is described by the local council as the largest civic space in Europe (19,000 square metres). This is the départ fictif, or ceremonial start, of the stage. 

The riders will parade down Albert Road, turn left on Borough Road, right on Woodlands Road, right again on Southfield Road, then go left on the B1272 along the west side of Teeside University. They turn left into Albert Park by the Dorman Museum, take a right in the centre of the park, and a left along Park Road South, to reach the A172. Here, they head south east, before making a detour to Marton, on Ladgate Lane and The Grove, around then through Stewart Park, to pass right in front of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

The race route comes back to the A172, and the racing begins at Nunthorpe.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Middlesbrough to Thirsk

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum

Stewart Park Middlesbrough - Captain Cook Birthplace Museum and Totem Poles, by Yaffa Phillips, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The A172 takes the riders past Nunthorpe Hall, then they turn left on the B1292 to Great Ayton. In Great Ayton, they join the A173, which takes them the short distance alongside the river Leven to Stokesley. (Stokesley is a small market town, first granted a Royal Charter in 1223. The market square is called the Plain, and the weekly market is on a Friday. Stokesley has the C17th Pack Horse Bridge over the river. It is the home of Quorn, produced by Marlow Foods).

Great Ayton sunset

Great Ayton Sunset, by James Jin, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

From Stokesley, the race continues on flat terrain near the river Leven, through Tame Bridge, and past Rudby Hall, to Rudby and Hutton Rudby. It then goes over the A19, and to the hamlet of East Rounton, on the river Wiske. A few miles further south, the riders pass through East Harlsey, a village of 281 inhabitants (including Roy 'Chubby' Brown), which has a pub called the Cat & Bagpipes. They then continue south to meet the A684.

Church Green, Brompton, Northallerton

Brompton Church Green in winter, by Wipeout Dave, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race goes west on the A684 to Brompton. (Brompton is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Bruntone, meaning 'broom farm'. The site of the Battle of the Standard (1138) between England and Scotland is just north west of Brompton. Brompton was an important linen making and weaving centre in the 1800s, with eight mills in 1820. The mills used water from Brompton Beck. Brompton has three pubs - the Green Tree, the Crown Inn, and the Village Inn. The church, St Thomas's, dates from the C12th. It has a lot of 'Hogback' sculptures marking graves).

Northallerton High Street

Northallerton High Street, by James West, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The riders continue on the A684 to Northallerton.

The race leaves Northallerton on the A168, which heads SSE on undulating terrain past Thornton-le-Beans (a village with its name derived from a farm with thorn bushes, where beans where grown; in Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson said he wanted to be buried here), Thornton-le-Moor, and Thornton-le-Street (meaning thorn bush farm on a Roman road). It takes the B1448, on the west side of Cod Beck, into Thirsk, where there's an intermediate sprint.

Thornton-le-Moor

Thornton-le-Moor High Street, by James West, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

In advance of the Tour de Yorkshire in Thirsk, the town has been 'yarnbombed'. The Yorkshire Post reports that about 300 people have been involved in a project to cover Thirsk in a range of knitted and crocheted designs. The decorations appeared on Sunday 24th April, put up by yarnbombers wearing black masks, or black face paint, and pom-poms. This video shows the Thirsk after the yarnbombing:

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Thirsk to Whitby

Thirsk

Thirsk, DSC_1525, by Paul Massey, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

From Thirsk, the riders will take the A170 east. After passing through Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe (the longest hyphenated place name in England), they'll take on the climb of Sutton Bank (first King of the Mountains points of the day). On the steepest part, the gradient is 25%.

Sutton Bank and Gormire Lake

Sutton Bank Gormire Lake, by Allan Harris, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

They continue east on an undulating section of the A170, via Tom Smith's Cross to Sproxton. Here, the entrance to Duncombe Park is marked by Nelson Gate, a triumphal arch built in 1806, the year after Nelson's death, to commemorate his victory at the battle of Trafalgar. From Sproxton, the A170 heads north, over the river Rye into Helmsley.

Helmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle, by Nick Wise, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Continuing east on the A170, the riders pass the remains of a C4th Roman villa just after crossing the little river Riccal, and pass through the joined villages of Beadlam and Nawton. (Nawton is known for the gardens of Nawton Tower, created in the 1700s by Sir John Vanbrugh).

Hutton-le-Hole

Hutton-le-Hole, by Milo Bostock, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race crosses Hodge Beck on Tilehouse Bridge, and comes into Kirbymoorside. A very short distance further on, at Kirkby Mills, it crosses the river Dove, and leaves the A170, now going north on Gray Lane towards Hutton-le-Hole. The particularity of Hutton-le-Hole is that sheep roam where they please; the Ryedale Folk Museum has thirteen rescued and reconstructed historic buildings, from the Iron Age to the 1950s. This is the Tour de Yorkshire road closure information for Hutton-le-Hole.

The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge 

The Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge, by Andrew Bowden, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

From Hutton-le-Hole (altitude approx. 90m), the road goes up onto the moorland of Blakey Ridge (approx. 418m at the top; so 328m difference in height bottom to top). This is the second categorised climb of the day, the Cote de Blakey Ridge. Just before the top of the climb is the C16th Lion Inn.

The riders continue north to Rosedale Head, by the Ralph Crosses, and descend to Castleton with Castleton Rigg to the left and Danby Dale to the right. (Castleton is a village on the river Esk, which has a station (Castleton Moor) on the Esk Valley Line. The Esk Valley Walk runs through the village. The two pubs are the Downe Arms and the Eskdale. In one of the photos on the Downe Arms website, there's a jar of pickled eggs behind the bar).

Danby Beacon

Danby Beacon, by deargdoom57, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race crosses the river Esk and the Esk Valley railway, to get to Danby. (Danby is a village in the North York Moors National Park, which features the remains of Danby Castle, on the slopes of Danby Rigg. Catherine Parr married John Neville, who was the 3rd Baron Latimer and owner of Danby Castle, and she lived at Danby; she later became Henry VIII's sixth wife. Danby's pub is called the Duke of Wellington. Danby Beacon, a hill overlooking the village, was a Bronze Age burial mound. It was also part of a line of beacons twenty miles apart set up in the 1600s as a warning system when there was a threat of invasion from France. There has been a replacement steel beacon since 2008).

Beggar's Bridge, Glaisdale

Beggar's Bridge, Glaisdale, by deargdoom57, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The riders will pass the Moors National Park Centre, and leave Danby, taking Lawns Road by the river Esk, then crossing to the south side of the river and following the hilly road to Glaisdale. (Glaisdale has a station on the Esk Valley Line, and is on the Esk Valley Walk. Beggar's Bridge is close to the station. It is a packhorse bridge built by Thomas Ferris in 1619. He hoped to marry the local squire's daughter, but first planned to set sail from Whitby to make his fortune. The night before he left, rainfall had swollen the river Esk, and he was unable to cross it to visit his intended. He came back from his voyage rich, and duly married the young lady, then built Beggar's Bridge, so no other lovers would be separated by the river as he and his future wife had been). 

Grosmont railway station

Tornado at Grosmont, by James West, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The race crosses the river Esk and the railway again, and there's a short, steep climb away from the river to Limber Hill Farm. The race route continues to Egton, which has a pub - the Wheatsheaf Inn - and an annual charity fun run which is sometimes called the Gooseberry Run, after the Gooseberry Show at neighbouring Egton Bridge. From Egton, there's a steep descent to Grosmont.

Sleights Moor

Sheep in the Heat Haze, Sleights Moor, by Thomas Tolkien, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The next categorised climb is the Cote de Grosmont, very steep at first, then easing as it reaches the top of Sleights Moor. Grosmont is at about 40m above sea level, and the top of Sleights Moor is about 280m, so the height gained is 240m.

View of Whitby from the A169

North Yorkshire Moors, view of Whitby Abbey from the A169, by Karen Roe, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The descent of Sleights Moor on the A169 is gradual at first, then steep down Blue Bank (25% gradient) to Sleights. (Sleights is on the river Esk, and has a 'salmon leap' weir; it has a stop on the Esk Valley Line, and is on the Esk Valley Walk). 

Esk Valley Line at Ruswarp

Esk Valley Line bridge over the river Esk at Ruswarp, by Matt Buck, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The riders cross the river Esk to the Briggswath side, and immediately turn right on the B1410, which follows the river to Ruswarp, on the outskirts of Whitby. (Ruswarp is on the river Esk, and has a stop on the Esk Valley Line. It used to be called Risewarp (in the C12th), meaning 'silted land overgrown with brushwood'. Just downstream of Ruswarp is an impressive viaduct, which carried the Scarborough-Whitby railway line, now converted into the Cinder Track walking and cycling route. Attractions in Ruswarp include Esk Leisure, and Ruswarp Pleasure Boats. The pub is the Bridge Inn).

Whitby Harbour

Whitby, by Chris, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Stage 3 takes the B1416 up a short, steep hill out of Ruswarp, then turns right on the A171 into Whitby, left on the A174, and right down Bagdale/Victoria Square/New Quay Road to Whitby harbour. The race crosses the river Esk by the harbour on Whitby swing bridge (Bridge Street), just below Whitby Abbey. 

Whitby swing bridge

Boat going through Whitby Swing Bridge, Whitby, North Yorkshire, by Glen Bowman, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Whitby to Scarborough

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey, by Martyn Wright, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

There's an intermediate sprint in Whitby. The race heads away from the Whitby harbour on Church Street, and climbs Green Lane. At the top of Green Lane, the riders turn right on Hawsker Lane, and they join the A171 just before Hawsker. (Hawsker has a topless windmill, and a pub called the Hare & Hounds).

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood's Bay, by Ben Pugh, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

In Hawsker, the race takes the B1447 to Robin Hood's Bay. When they get there, the riders turn right on Thorpe Lane, heading away from the sea, and towards Fylingthorpe (location of the Fylingdales Inn). They go up Thorpe Bank and Sled Gates, and this is the categorised Cote de Robin Hood's Bay climb. The altitude at the junction in Robin Hood's Bay is 50m, and at the top, shortly before the junction with the A171, it is 220m. The height climbed is therefore 170m.

Fylingdales Moor

Purple heather, Fylingdales Moor, by Ben Sutherland, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race takes the A171 across Fylingdales Moor and Kirk Moor, past the Flask Inn, then between Stony Marl Moor to the left and Jugger Howe Moor to the right. At the edge of Harwood Dale Forest, the riders turn right on Helwath Road. After passing the turn for the village of Harwood Dale, the race takes Gatela Road, then Reasty Road which climbs into Broxa Forest. This is a categorised climb, the Cote de Harwood Dale: it ascends from about 80m to 200m, so a climb of 120m.

The road (Swang Road) now travels along the top of a wooded escarpment to reach the hamlet of Suffield, and descends to Hackness. (A monastery at Hackness was mentioned by Bede in the C8th. The church of St Peter has sections dating from the C11th. Hackness Hall, with landscaped gardens, was built around 1795. Hackness tennis club has grass and hard courts). The race passes a little lake called Back Race, then takes Mowthorp Road alongside the river Derwent. The road becomes Seavegate, and follows the river through Scarwell Wood and Forge Valley Wood to Ayton Castle, and the junction between West and East Ayton.

Scarborough from Oliver's Mount

Scarborough from Oliver's Mount, by Ian Roberts, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Now the race takes the B1261 to Irton and Seamer. (Seamer has been inhabited for many centuries, with a Mesolithic settlement at nearby Starr Carr, and likely Roman habitation from 70AD. It is referred to as Semaer in the Domesday Book, the name probably meaning 'lake by the sea'). In Seamer, the riders make a left turn on Stoney Haggs Road. 

Scarborough Mere

Scarborough Mere, by Roy, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The race route joins the A64 briefly, then there's a right at The Mere towards Oliver's Mount (Queen Margaret's Road/Mere Lane/Weaponness Lane/Oliver's Mount Road). (Oliver's Mount is named after Oliver Cromwell, who may have placed guns here during the English Civil War. It is used for motorbike races). This is the final categorised climb, Cote d'Oliver's Mount. The altitude is approximately 40m leaving Seamer, and 110m near the top of Oliver's Mount, so there's 70m of climbing. It could mean that the King of the Mountains competition stays competitive until 6km before the end of the final stage of the race.

Scarborough South Sands and Harbour

Scarborough, North Yorkshire, by Thomas Tolkien, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Mountside takes the riders to the A165, which they follow for a short distance until a right turn on Ramshill Road, taking them under Spa Bridge and to Foreshore Road. Here, they are on the seafront at Scarborough, by South Sands. They go past the Old Harbour on Sandside, before continuing round the little headland of Castle Cliff on Marine Drive, and racing to the seafront finish on Royal Albert Drive (North Bay).

Scarborough North Bay

Scarborough North Bay, by Mike Dobson, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: official route video

This is the official route video (26 seconds), showing the route of Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016, and the stage profile:

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: timings

The timings for Stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016 have been published by Welcome to Yorkshire. There are three scenarios, based on different average speeds (41, 39, or 37kmh). These are the timings at some of the main points along the route:

Distance Place on the route 41kmh 39kmh 37kmh
Ceremonial start Middlesbrough 1110 1110 1110
0 A172 Middlesbrough 1135 1135 1135
4 Great Ayton 1140 1141 1141
9.5 Stokesley 1149 1150 1150
17 Hutton Rudby 1159 1201 1202
37 Northallerton 1229 1232 1235
52 Thirsk (sprint) 1251 1255 1259
62.5 Cote de Sutton Bank (KOM) 1306 1311 1316
74.5 Helmsley 1324 1329 1335
83.5 Kirkbymoorside 1337 1343 1350
95.5 Cote de Blakey Ridge (KOM) 1354 1402 1410
131 Cote de Grosmont (KOM) 1446 1456 1507
144.5 Whitby (sprint) 1506 1517 1529
155.5 Cote de Robin Hood's Bay (KOM) 1540 1551 1603
170 Cote de Harwood Dale (KOM) 1544 1556 1611
183.5 East Ayton 1603 1617 1632
192 Cote d'Oliver's Mount (KOM) 1616 1630 1646
198 Scarborough (finish line) 1625 1639 1656

Tour de Yorkshire 2016 October announcement

The towns hosting the start and finish of the three Tour de Yorkshire 2016 stages were announced in October

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough transporter bridge

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge 6, by Charlie Nettle, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Middlesbrough is an industrial town on the south bank of the river Tees. It has a population of 138,412 (2011 census). Amongst the people who grew up in Middlesbrough are Chris Rea, Brian Clough, and Bob Mortimer. Middlesbrough is twinned with Dunkirk.

Other than an early religious community, and a small farm, Middlesbrough didn't exist before the 1800s. In 1828, the Quaker banker and businessman Joseph Pease looked for a new site for coal staithes (wharves for loading coal onto ships) on the Tees, and bought the farm at Middlesbrough. He established the Middlesbrough Estate Company, and a new coal port was built, with the associated town being developed for workers. 

From 1841, there was an iron foundry and rolling mill in Middlesbrough. Ironstone was discovered locally (in the Eston Hills), and Middlesbrough became the global centre of iron and steel production. Steel from Middlesbrough was used for Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the New Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. 

Another industry which developed was shipbuilding, and there were several large shipyards along the Tees. 

Middlesbrough was bombed by the Luftwaffe during World War II, a target because of its heavy industry and railways.

Today, the main industry in Middlesbrough is chemicals. The former ICI business is now broken up into several smaller units. Teesport is the third largest port in the UK. Middlesbrough also has a burgeoning digital economy, including digital animation (a spin-out from Teeside University). 

Middlesbrough is a unitary authority, and has a directly elected mayor. The town falls within North Yorkshire for ceremonial purposes only.

Exhibit at MIMA Middlesbrough

Jannis Kounnellis (exhibit at MIMA), by John Lord, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Attractions in Middlesbrough include the Transporter Bridge (built in 1911), which has its own Visitor Centre. The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art features work by Tracey Emin. Middlesbrough FC are near the top of the Championship at the time of writing. 

Middlesbrough has featured in film: the opening scene of local boy Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is shot at the old ICI Wilton Works, and the Transporter Bridge appears in Billy Elliot.

A local cullinary speciality is parmo. Similar to schnitzel, it is deep-fried breaded chicken or pork, with béchamel sauce and cheese.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Great Ayton

Great Ayton sunset

Great Ayton Sunset, by James Jin, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Great Ayton is a village in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire. The name Ayton comes from Old English - ea (river), ton, farm. It is on the river Leven.

In the C18th and C19th, the main economic activities were weaving, tanning, brewing, and tile-making. Great Ayton had a Quaker school from 1841 until 1997.

Roseberry Topping

Roseberry Topping (The topping), by Iain Farrell, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Great Ayton is at the foot of the Cleveland Hills (part of the North York Moors). Roseberry Topping is a distinctive shaped peak just above the village. 

Captain Cook's cottage, Melbourne

Cook's Cottage, Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Australia, by Rexness, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The village was the boyhood home of Captain James Cook, from age 8 to 16. A granite obelisk marks the site of the cottage where he lived. A cottage in Great Ayton built later by Cook's parents (in 1755), which Cook may have lived in, and almost certainly visited, was dismantled and shipped to Melbourne, Australia, in 1934, where it is a tourist attraction. 

Captain Cook's Monument, Easby Moor

Capt Cook's Monument, by Colin Gregory, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

The Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum is at 101 High Street, Great Ayton. There's also a 16m high obelisk called Captain Cook's Monument on nearby Easby Moor.

Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook

James Cook, by Tonynetone, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was born in Marton, and lived in Great Ayton from age 8 to 16. He liked to climb Roseberry Topping. He was initially apprenticed as a shop boy, then moved to Whitby, where he was taken on by John & Henry Walker to work on their coal ships as a merchant navy apprentice. Here, he studied algebra, geometry, trigonometry, navigation, and astronomy. He then transferred to the Royal Navy.

Cook served in North America during the Seven Years War, participating in the Seige of Quebec City, and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. At this time, he mapped the entrance to the St Lawrence river. In the 1760s, he surveyed and mapped the coast of Newfoundland.

Cook is famous for his voyages of exploration. On the first voyage (1768-71) on HMS Endeavour, he mapped the coastline of New Zealand, and reached the south east coast of Australia, landing at a place he called Botany Bay. On his second voyage (1772-75), Cook commanded HMS Resolution, and crossed the Antarctic Circle, but without encountering the mainland of Antarctica. On his third voyage (1776-1779), again on HMS Resolution, Cook charted most of the North American north west coastline. He went to Hawaii, and landed on the largest island. While Resolution was being repaired, there was a quarrel with the Hawaiians. Cook attempted to kidnap and ransom the King of Hawaii, but was hit on the head by villagers, then stabbed to death.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Northallerton

Northallerton High Street

Northallerton High Street, by James West, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Northallerton is the county town of North Yorkshire, and has a population of 16,832 (2011 census).

The earliest settlement at Northallerton was a Roman military camp. After the Romans, Saxons lived at Northallerton, and built a wooden church in the 600s, and a stone church in 855. In the 900s, Danes settled in the area. In the Domesday Book, the settlement was described as Alvertune. The name may mean Aelfere's or Alfred's farm, or it may refer to Alder trees.

In the 1100s, Northallerton was given to the Bishop of Durham, and became an important religious centre.

Northallerton became a market town, with cattle, sheep, and horses sold. It had four coaching inns, serving passengers on routes between London and Edinburgh. In 1841, the railway came to Northallerton (London to Edinburgh line). There was also a line to Ripon, closed in 1969 following the Beeching report.

Today, Northallerton still hosts livestock auctions. It is the HQ of North Yorkshire County Council, and Hambleton District Council. There is some light industry and commerce.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Thirsk

Thirsk

Thirsk, DSC_1525, by Paul Massey, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Thirsk is a market town with a population of 4,998 (2011 census). It is on Cod Beck, with Old Thirsk to the east of the river, and the rest of the town, plus Sowerby, to the west.

There was a settlement in this location from 500-600BC. The name derives from the Old Norse presk, meaning fen or lake. In the Domesday Book, Thirsk is referred to as Tresche. Soon after the Norman invasion, most of the manor here was granted to Robert de Mowbray, and it remained in the Mowbray family for a long time, before passing to the Berkeley family, then the Bell family into the C20th.

Thirsk was home to veterinary surgeon James Alred Wight, who wrote under the name James Herriot. In his books, Thirsk becomes Darrowby. Wight worked from 23 Kirkgate, and the premises are not the World of James Herriot Museum. There's also a Thirsk Museum, which is in the house where Thomas Lord (after whom Lord's Cricket Ground is named) was born.

Thirsk racecourse is a venue for flat racing in spring and summer.

World of James Herriot, Thirsk

The World of James Herriot, by Patrick Gruban, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank and Gormire Lake

Sutton Bank Gormire Lake, by Allan Harris, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Sutton Bank is a steep hill in the North York Moors National Park, adjacent to Roulston Scar (site of an Iron Age hillfort from 400BC) and the White Horse of Kilburn. The White Horse was created in November 1857, on the initiative of Thomas Taylor, possibly by schoolmaster John Hodgson and his pupils.

The A170 climbs Sutton Bank, with a maximum gradient of 25%, and one hairpin bend - 20 fewer than Alpe d'Huez. From the top, there are views over the Vale of York. There's paying parking at the Sutton Bank National Park Centre, which has an exhibition on the glacial geography of the area (Lime & Ice), a tea shop, a gift shop, a viewing platform, an adventure play area, walking paths, and three mountain bike trails (three different lengths and levels of difficulty) plus a skills area. There's a bike hire shop, Sutton Bank Bikes

The National Park Centre has organised family-friendly events for the day of the Tour de Yorkshire 2016, including big-screen coverage of the whole race, and kids' time trials. They suggest that you can ride up Sutton Bank yourself, if you arrive in good time. (The road is likely to be closed to traffic from about 10am).

Sutton Bank is steep, and faces the prevailing westerly winds, which makes it ideal for gliding. The Yorkshire Gliding Club is based on Roulston Scar.

Sutton Bank White Horse and Yorkshire Gliding Club

White Horse and Yorkshire Gliding Club Clubhouse, by Darren Clare, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Helmsley

Helmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle, by Nick Wise, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Helmsley is a market town on the river Rye, which is popular with tourists, and with bikers (who often ride the B1257 from Stokesley to Helmsley).

The Old English name of the settlement was Elmeslac, meaning Helm's forest clearing. Street names ending in 'gate' are an indication of later Viking presence here.

After the Norman Conquest, Helmsley was given to William's half-brother, the Count of Mortain. He built a castle (now ruined), and in Norman times the land to the west of the town (now Duncombe Park) was a royal deer park. 

Helmsley became a market town in 1191. Wool production and weaving were the main industries in the Middle Ages, in conjunction with nearby Rievaulx Abbey (until the Dissolution of the Monasteries).

Helmsley was acquired by Sir Charles Duncombe about 1689, and he developed Duncombe Park house and gardens to the south west of the town.

Today, the main employers in Helmsley are Duncombe Park Estate, Thomas's Bakery, and the North York Moors National Park Authority. There's a small industrial estate in the south east corner of Helmsley.

Visitor attractions include the castle visitor centre, and Helmsley Walled Garden. Helmsley Arts Centre has a 140-seat auditorium, and the town has an open-air swimming pool and recreation centre.

The Cleveland Way long distance path starts in Helmsley.

Hunter's, Helmsley

2014 05 06 Trip to Bransdale - Helmsley, by Keith Laverack, Flickr, Licence CC BY-ND 2.0

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Kirkbymoorside

Kirkbymoorside is a market town with a population of 2,751 (2011 census).

It was called Chirchebi in the Domesday Book. Kirkbymoorside is on an old coaching route between York and Scarborough, and two coaching inns dating from the 1200s remain - the Black Swan and the George and Dragon.

Kirkbymoorside is home to Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band and Kirkbymoorside Football Club.

There'll be a big screen showing the race, and activities and entertainment for children, on Sunday 1st May 2016.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Grosmont

Grosmont railway station

Tornado at Grosmont, by James West, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Grosmont is a village which was established in the 1830s when the Whitby to Pickering railway was built, and its economy was based on iron ore extraction from local ironstone. It is near the confluence of the Esk and the Murk Esk; it has a stop on the east-west Esk Valley Line, and is the northern terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, which runs south to Pickering.

In the early C13th, Grosmont Priory, a Grandmontine religious house, was established. It continued until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s.

The modern village began when a railway service between Whitby and the Tunnel Inn (Grosmont) commenced in 1835. The village was known initially as 'Tunnel', and subsequently as Grosmont. Ironstone found locally was transported by railway, and by the 1860s, there were three ironstone mines. In 1862, an ironworks with blast furnaces was built, and in 1870, a brickworks. Most of the industrial works were closed at the end of the C19th, although bricks were produced until 1957.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Whitby

Whitby Harbour

Whitby, by Chris, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

Whitby is a seaside town at the mouth of the river Esk.

The settlement here was called Streanoehealh in 657AD when a monastery was founded by King Oswy of Northumbria. It became known as Witebi, meaning 'the white settlement' in Old Norse, in the C12th.

The first Abbess of the monastery was St Hilda. Caedmon was transformed into an inspired poet at the Abbey. The Synod of Whitby (664) established the date of Easter in Northumbria, the Roman date being adopted in preference to the Celtic one.

The monastery was destroyed by Danish Vikings between 867 and 870, and only re-established under the Normans in 1078, when William de Percy gave the land to the Benedictine Order.

The town of Whitby grew after the Dissolution of the Monasteries, particularly due to trade in alum found locally, and used for medicine, curing leather, and fixing dyed cloths. There was also a local shipbuilding trade, and (from 1795) Whitby became a whaling port. A whalebone arch on West Cliff commemorates this period. There's also a statue of Captain James Cook there.

Whitby was a spa town in the late 1700s and early 1800s, with visitors drawn by three 'chalybeate' springs. More tourists arrived after the Whitby and Pickering railway was built in 1839.

In the Victorian period, jet was mined from the cliffs and moors, and Whitby Jet became well-known. (The Romans had already mined jet). Jet is a mineraloid which is the compressed remains of ancestors of the monkey-puzzle tree. It can be used to make jewelry and decorative items, and Queen Victoria liked it, especially after Albert's death. Fossils have also been found in Whitby's cliffs. 

Whitby swing bridge

Boat going through Whitby Swing Bridge, Whitby, North Yorkshire, by Glen Bowman, Flickr, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0

The main industries today are fishing and tourism. Amongst other things, visitors patronise the many local fish and chip shops, including the Magpie Café. Whitby is the closest port to a proposed offshore windfarm on Dogger Bank.

Whitby is associated with Dracula, because part of Bram Stoker's novel is set here.

Whitby is twinned with Anchorage, Alaska.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey, by Martyn Wright, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood's Bay

Robin Hood's Bay, by Ben Pugh, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Robin Hood's Bay is a small fishing village within the North York Moors National Park, which is picturesque, and popular with visitors. It is built in a fissure between two steep cliffs, and most of the houses are sandstone, with red-tiled roofs.

The origin of the name is uncertain, but a legend says that Robin Hood encountered French pirates, and made them surrender. He took their loot, and returned it to the poor people of the village which is now called Robin Hood's Bay.

There were settlements slightly inland (at Raw and Fylingthorpe) in the Viking and Norman eras, but it wasn't until the 1500s that Robin Hood's Bay itself was inhabited. In 1536, about twenty fishing boats were moored here.

Robin Hood's Bay has a tradition of smuggling. There may be underground passages linking the houses. In the late 1700s, contraband tea, gin, rum, brandy, and tobacco were smuggled from the Netherlands and France. There were battles between smugglers and excise men on at least two occasions.

Fishing reached its peak in the mid-1800s, with the fish carried over the moorland to Pickering or York. Tourism generates the most income today.

The Bay is on what is sometimes called the Dinosaur Coast, and many fossils have been discovered.

Robin Hood's Bay had a station until 1965, when the Scarborough and Whitby line was closed. The old railway line is now used for the Cinder Track foot and cycle path.

Stage 3, Tour de Yorkshire 2016: Scarborough

Scarborough South Sands and Harbour

Scarborough, North Yorkshire, by Thomas Tolkien, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

Scarborough is the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast. As well as tourism, Scarborians live from fishing, services, and the digital and creative industries. There's free wifi on the town's seafront and harbour.

The rocky promontory, with the ruins of Scarborough Castle on it, separates the sea front into North Bay and South Bay. South Bay is more popular and commercial, while North Bay is quieter, and has the Japanese-themed Peasholm Park. The miniature North Bay Railway runs from the park to Scalby Mills and the Sea Life Centre.

Scarborough may have been founded around 966AD as Skaroaborg by a Viking raider, but there was little left of any settlement by the time of the Domesday Book. 

Scarborough Castle was built under Henry II, and he granted charters for a market in 1155 and 1163. The royal charter for Scarborough Fair was granted in 1253. It was a 6-week trading festival, with merchants from all over Europe, and it continued for about 500 years. The castle and town suffered during the English Civil War of the 1640s, and they were badly damaged.

Scarborough's history as a spa town began when a spring was discovered in 1626, and more visitors came after it was publicised by Dr Wittie's book in 1660. The Scarborough to York railway (1845) meant further popularity.

Scarborough is associated with Alan Ayckbourn, and almost all his plays receive their first performance at the Stephen Joseph theatre.

The Rotunda museum is a national centre for geology - appropriate, as Scarborough is on Yorkshire's Jurassic Coast

Goremire Lake from Sutton BankGrosmont railway stationWhitby harbour

© 2015-16 ValThorensGuide
Template design by Andreas Viklund