LAST month I covered part of the third stage of the Tour de Yorkshire professional cycle race, which took place on Sunday.

I picked up the route at around the halfway point, in Kirkbymoorside, where the riders took on additional food from team helpers at the roadside. I took on a cooked breakfast instead, before following the route north up Blakey Ridge, to Castleton in Esk Dale and then east following the Esk to the sea at Whitby. I finished at one of the sprint points for the day, on the Abbey Headland.

Today, I’ll pick up where I left off in Whitby, and then follow the route to the final climb of the day, at Olivers Mount, Scarborough. From there, the professional riders finish with a high speed sprint along the seafront at Scarborough’s North Bay. Very much a case of don’t try this at home kids, so I’ll leave you with a choice of finishing at Olivers Mount, as I did, or to make your way cautiously to the sea through the crowds.

Starting from the car park on the Abbey Headland, turn right, away from the Abbey, then keep left at the first junction, to avoid dropping back into town. You should be heading south east with the sea off your left shoulder, and allotments on your right side.

The road climbs gently past several caravan sites. Entering the outskirts of Hawsker, pass the village school on the left and meet the main A171 at a T-junction.

Facing you here is Trailways, a bike hire and refreshment stop, occupying the old railway station and disused carriage. Turn left onto the A171 (direction Scarborough) but quickly off again to the left on the B1447 towards Robin Hood's Bay, and through the main part of Hawsker village.

After about a mile, you’ll spot a strange, small brick building with substantial stone roof, immediately by the road on the left. This was once the source of the water supply for Whitby Abbey and the east half of the town. While the explanatory plaque is prosaic, the OS map describes it more colourfully in Yorkshire dialect as T’Awd Abba Well.

As the road starts to fall towards the coast, watch for the church of St Stephens in front of you, just past a right turn to Fylingthorpe. There’s no longer an active congregation and indeed it has been replaced by the new St Stephens, down in Robin Hood's Bay. Some interesting gravestones remember lives lost at sea.

Down into the village now and passing the Grosvenor pub and then Post Office, both on the left, before taking a right for Fylngthorpe onto Thorpe Lane.

Before heading for Fylingthorpe however, you may fancy a break at the Victoria Hotel, which overlooks the bay. This purpose-built Victorian hotel is quite imposing, but the first room on the left through the main entrance is a tea room, welcoming travellers of all kinds. Though still March, it was fine enough to sit in the garden and enjoy the view across the bay to Ravenscar beyond.

Depart Robin Hood's Bay in Thorpe Lane, noting the signs for Cinder Track, on a right hand bend, as you climb out of the village. The old Whitby to Scarborough railway line crossed here. We won’t follow it today, but it’s a route for future reference.

Through Fylingthorpe (another pub and shop) the road starts to kick up in earnest. This is named on the official race route as the Cote de Robin Hood's Bay. A little unfairly I think, as really it is climbing out of Fylingthorpe. A 25 per cent gradient makes for a nice walk in the sunshine. The route curves right and eases a little, but there’s another sting in the tail as you approach the actual summit. Just as you reach the top, glance right for a final sight of Whitby Abbey. Once the road starts to fall it disappears from view.

We now reach the main A171 again. There’s no easy alternative, so we’ll have to follow the actual race route for over four miles on the main road. The traffic wasn’t too heavy for my ride, but beware of lorries and buses passing on the short sharp climbs, of which they are a few.

Pass the Flask Inn, and under a mile later, the route will be poignant for those who have attempted the long distance Lyke Wake Walk as it crosses here. None too soon we arrive at the turning for Harwood Dale.

Cross the main road with care to take this right turn. The contrasting quiet makes it all worthwhile as we descend now through Harwood Dale Forest. Continue ahead, watching for the Mill Inn (weekends only) on the right. Keep right at the next junction, signed Scarborough.

You’ll have noticed we are deep in a valley and there’s a ridge ahead, so guess what happens next? The next race categorised climb is the Cote de Harwood Dale. About a mile in length. Nice views out to the left though if you fancy a walk.

The road now runs straight and level for two and a half miles. Ignore turn off for Silpho, but where the road bends right, watch for the finger post to our next destination of Hackness. Just along here you can spot Scarborough castle on left (in the far distance) through the trees.

The road bends right again and you pass through the small hamlet of Suffield, before descending into a glaciated valley, and arriving at Hackness. Note the hall on the left, and the private bridge from the hall to access the woodland opposite. Take next left in the village, signed for East Ayton.

Across the valley floor and a short climb brings you into the final wooded Forge Valley, before joining the main A170 at E Ayton (direction Scarborough).

At mini-roundabout on edge of village bear right, signed Cayton and Filey. This is the B1261, and in a mile pass Irton village to the right. Then bear left at the next main junction on the outskirts of Seamer, now signed for Scarborough.

In 300 yards bear left again onto Stoney Haggs Road, meeting the main A64 after a mile, where left. It’s very busy here, so I crossed to the shared path on the far side, passing a retail park on the right, until reaching the brown tourist sign for The Mere and Olivers Mount, after half a mile. Right here (still on the path) and over the railway for first right again to a cafe by the lakeside.

From here, the race continues along the lake, before hairpin left, to climb the west side of Olivers Mount, then keeping left to join the A165 into town and the seafront.


Date of ride: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The map: Ordnance Survey Landranger, number 94 Whitby & Esk Dale covers most of the route, but you’ll also need something for the last four miles or so into Scarborough, so O.S. Landranger No. 101. Alternatively, OS Explorer map OL27 covers the whole route in more detail

The pub: Victoria Hotel, Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby, YO22 4RL. Tel. 01947 880205

The bike: Classic 1976 Jack Taylor, Tour of Britain model

Distance: 29 miles

Car parking: Whitby: follow sign for Abbey Headland YO22 4EY. Scarborough: The Mere (& cafe) YO11 2YN, or Olivers on the Mount YO11 2UG