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Lealholm cycle ride
THE humble gooseberry bush will give you heavy crops of fruit which can be used in many different ways.
When ripe they can be eaten raw leaving a delicious tang in your mouth. They can be used for making jam, wine, puddings, pies and tarts, usually with a generous helping of sugar, or they can be bottled or frozen to use at a later date. Easy to grow and propagate the gooseberry is a favourite with gardeners.
Varieties can be red, yellow, white or the more common green. Berries vary in size, some being quite small others are magnificently large. But how big is large?
To find out you should go the Egton Gooseberry Show on the first Tuesday in August. It is held at Egton Bridge in St Hedda’s Schoolroom next door to St Hedda’s Church.
It is there you will possibly find the largest gooseberry by weight in the world, as in 2009 a new record was set at exactly 35 drams, (equal to 62 grams). It has since been recognised as the largest gooseberry in the world – a world record for Egton and the grower of this magnificent berry, Bryan Nellist.
So why not have a grand day out and cycle along through glorious scenery and drop in at the Egton Bridge Gooseberry Show as you pass. See who has grown the heaviest gooseberry this year, you never know it just might be a world record beater.
Leave the car park at Lealholm turning left downhill signed to Glaisdale. Cross the bridge over the River Esk and cycle past the Board Inn and the bakery before starting a long ascent.
Keep straight ahead at all times now, following signs for Rosedale, then, as the road narrows, head off across the moor over a cattle grid. Still climbing, go straight ahead at the crossroads signed to Rosedale.
Enjoy the views on the right across to the Esk Valley and a little further along into Great Fryup Dale.
Eventually you cross the end of Glaisdale Rigg still heading off across the moor and still climbing with Glaisdale on you left. Keep straight ahead over this high ridge road, then descend to a T-junction. Go left here signed to Egton Bridge.
Start to ascend again, then in a couple of miles, start a very steep descent with the mother of all hairpin bends to catch you out.
If you survived the descent, there is just the ford to negotiate before you arrive at a T-junction and the Horse Shoe Inn. Go left here signed to toilets, Egton and Whitby to cycle into Egton Bridge.
Cross the bridge and continue along, the toilets are along the road on the left. Keep straight ahead, then just before the church and the Gooseberry Show, turn right through the estate gateway, which gives access to cyclists.
At the end of the estate road, turn left to start a long, severe climb which will test your muscles to their full extent. At the top of the hill, you arrive at Egton. Turn right here and you will find two pubs for some well-earned refreshment.
Just past the pubs, turn left signed to Guisborough. This is quite a good road but watch out for the scary double bends. Keep straight ahead at all times to the A171. Go left onto the busy A171, then immediately turn left signed to Lealholm and Glaisdale. Look out for cattle grids along here.
Enjoy the views over the ridge road and soon you start a steep, twisty descent to an attractive bridge and a grand waterfall.
Steeply uphill again now passing through the little hamlet of Stonegate, then back along the ridge with stunning scenery before descending steeply into Lealholm village. Halfway down the hill, look out on your left for the school and prepare to turn into the car park on the left to finish your ride.
Distance – 20miles/32km
Terrain – Very steep ascents and descents, outstanding views
Best map – OS Outdoor Leisure 27
Start/grid ref – Lealholm free car park near the school, grid ref 763076
Refreshments – Pub and tearooms at Lealholm, two pubs at Egton
The Horse Shoe Inn at Egton Bridge
Public toilets – Lealholm car park, Egton Bridge slightly off route