IT was mid-summer and I was looking forward to coverage of the Tour de France starting on TV. Apart from the racing, I enjoy the aerial shots of various French chateaux. I resolved to create my own Grand Depart, from a suitably picturesque location.

We booked a room at the Grade II-listed Hackness Grange Hotel. The next morning, the plan was for my wife to go off shopping in Scarborough, while I had a circular ride to Ravenscar, near Robin Hood’s Bay.

Before going our separate ways, however, I hitched a lift in the team car to Scalby, on the northern outskirts of Scarborough. Sticking with the theme of grand houses, we shared a pre-ride coffee at Scalby Manor. Leaving Scalby Manor, I turned left onto Burniston Road (A165) and headed quickly north, to the outskirts of Burniston.

Just beyond the village sign, go over the road at a pelican crossing to pick up the route of the old railway, commonly known as the Cinder Track. With only a little care, the route is ridable even on narrow tyres, with the exception of three places, which I’ll mention specifically when we get there.

It’s traffic free but do watch out for dog walkers and joggers, especially in the first two miles. In less than a mile, you arrive at a disused station on the outskirts of Cloughton.

A cafe is open on the old platform, from 10.30am, Saturday to Wednesday. I arrived on a Thursday, but worry not, I had a cunning plan. Continue with the station building on your right, then at a Tarmac road, jink right, then left, to rejoin the cinder track.

About two miles further on, watch for an isolated house on the right of the line, called Northend House.

This is your early indicator for another coffee stop. Half a mile further on, look for a Tarmac drive crossing the line at right angles. There are no obvious signs, but if you go down the drive to the right, you’ll arrive at Hayburn Wyke Hotel. Coffee sorted.

Rejoin the cinder track and continue north as before. Pass under a bridge just north of the hotel, then pay attention to either side of the track as you cross a high embankment. You may miss this in summer due to the trees and undergrowth.

You’ll then come to the first loose gravel section, which goes on as far as a second bridge over the line. Then it’s Staintondale Station, now a private house. We’ll visit Staintondale village later in the ride.

Soon after the station, some oncoming hikers told me, “It’s rough up there” nodding over their shoulders, and indeed it was. I had a little stroll; no rush after all. There was actually a little warning sign about the surface at the far end of this section (as I was leaving it).

Back on firm cinders, it was through some woods and emerging at a farm crossing, you can glimpse your first view of the Ravenscar mast, half left. This was always a welcoming indication for Lyke Wake Walkers (Osmotherley to Ravenscar, 42 miles) that the end was in sight.

From here, the track broadens and the surface improves for the last section to Ravenscar station. Leave the track here and descent to the grass square on the right hand side.

There’s another tearoom here, otherwise turn left onto the roadway, continuing north, as before, until arriving at the gateway to the Raven Hall Hotel.

This entrance is on the right, just where the road turns sharp left, so beware of unseen traffic when crossing.

Raven Hall was originally built as a private house in the 18th century by a Captain William Childs of the King’s Regiment, Light Dragoons.

This is now a proper country house hotel with uniformed staff. Meals aren’t cheap, but you can still get a sandwich and pint of real ale for about £10. The views are priceless, however. I enjoyed some Caledonian Golden XPA (4.3% abv) with my ham and mustard sandwich.

After lunch, you can simply retrace all the way on the old railway, but I went by road, and it was nearly as quiet. It added about two miles overall. So straight ahead out of Raven Hall, and climb gently west (inland) to leave Ravenscar.

At Beacon Windmill, turn left, signed Staintondale. Descend, then climb again, to pass the isolated church of St John the Baptist. Through the dispersed village of Staintondale, the road descends gently and about here, you’ll be level with the old Staintondale station, now away to your left and out of sight. Drop down into the valley of Hayburn Beck, then climb a small hill (but the biggest of the return journey). A little walk here gave me the chance to spot another grand house, this time, Moor Lodge, a half timbered house, set back in woodland to the right. Next, on the left, pass the road access for Hayburn Wyke Hotel.

Approaching Cloughton, pass Flossies farm shop and cafe on your left. Into Cloughton, and turn left onto the A171, but only for half a mile, before turning off left onto Station Lane.

Back at the old station, turn right (south) onto the cinder track, to retrace to Burniston. This time, I crossed at the pelican, to pick up the final section of cinder track back to Scalby. If you look half left, you’ll see Scarborough Castle on the skyline. Don’t stare too hard, though, as, just beyond, you’ll find another stretch of very loose gravel. On reaching Tarmac, and modern housing at Scalby, go left twice in succession at T-junctions. Over a mini-roundabout, this brings you back to the A165, where right, to arrive back at Scalby Manor.

Cycle ride facts

Date of ride: Thursday, July 5, 2018

The map: Ordnance Survey Explorer No. OL27 North York Moors Eastern

The accommodation: Hackness Grange Hotel, Hackness, Scarborough, YO13 0JW,

The cafe: Scalby Manor, Burniston Road, Scalby, YO13 0DA,

The pub: Raven Hall Hotel, Ravenscar, Scarborough, YO13 0ET, 01723 870353,

The bike: Classic 1971 Jack Taylor, Super Track model, built in Stockton-on-Tees. 23mm Continental Gatorskin tyres.

Distance: 18 miles

Car parking: Various pay and display in Scarborough. Do not leave a car at Scalby Manor