The Push Hog Diaries: Stage 14 – The Devil’s A**e Hole

I will begin with a word of advice, if somebody tells you to take a ride out to Brantingham to climb Spout Hill, ignore them, they either

(a) Enjoy climbing (not necessarily on a bike though)

or

(b) Don’t like you very much.

So it was with wide eyed naivety that, on Thursday 12th July, I set off on my lonesome towards Brantingham, a small picturesque village not far from Kingston upon Hull.

My journey, as usual, began on the outskirts of Beverley and would take in Consistution Hill at Molescroft, before moving on towards Walkington, followed by Little Weighton, taking in the undulating roads along the way.

The ride begins in earnest when I reach Little Weighton and head up Rowley Road, a long shallow climb towards the village of Rowley, which reaches a crest before dropping down towards a t-junction with Riplingham Road.

It’s another quiet night on the road, I’ve spotted a few mountain bikers, but my first glance of a road bike comes in the form of a fast moving peloton made up of Velo Club Beverley riders climbing in the opposite direction, looking far too serious for their own good.

At the junction I turn right on to Riplingham Road and begin the short sharp climb up to the cross roads with Westoby Lane and Lambwell Hill. I’m struggling to keep my pace up and also physically hurting already, maybe I shouldn’t have had that extra doughnut at lunch, but I ride on looking for the infamous Brantingham Dale.

I have to admit I’m now breaking new ground and slightly lost, but before long I see a sign for Dale Road and take a left turn to join the narrow country lane. Nursing a right sided stitch I stop to take a swig of my drink, a chunk of chocolate covered Cumbrian EPO and take a photo of the nice view over the Humber.

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So feeling refreshed I climb on-board my bike and head down Dale Road toward Brantingham. Now, if I were to be asked to use one word to describe my descent of this narrow country lane it would have to be “Frightening”. Being new to road bikes it has taken me some time to come to terms with the fact that essentially the brakes don’t work. Don’t get me wrong, on the flat or up hill they work fine, but as soon as the road tips south, well, you’re in trouble.

So feathering my brakes, I ride the roller coaster that is Dale Road, it’s essentially a s**t or bust ride and once you’ve started going down there is very little chance of stopping until you reach the bottom, which is essentially what happened, the only time I felt in control of my bike was on the section of flat as you pass All Saints Church. It’s not for the feint hearted.

It’s almost two miles until I turn my peddles again, just as I enter the village of Brantingham, looking for today’s challenge. I’m told that the entrance to Spout Hill is in the centre of the village and at the foot of the road is a monument of some description.

True to form you cannot miss Spout Hill, it sticks out like an appendage in a Nunnery, and stands almost as tall. At first I must admit to fancying my chances, in fact I admit to cycling toward the village duck pond in order to give myself a decent run up.

So setting off at the junction of Burrill Lane and Dale Road I give it some beans and race toward Spout Hill, wearing my idiocy on my sleeve. Once past the monument It’s not long before I’m in my lowest gear and facing up to what can only be described as a wall of road. Spout Hill is obnoxious, as I drive my 17 stones of weight on to each peddle stroke I *very* slowly ease past the houses built at the bottom of the hill and enter the cool shade of the woods, which the hill runs through.

The hill is relentlessly steep, I daren’t look back in case I have a dizzy spell. I keep going until I reach a short plateau or less steep section, but before I get my breath back I am once again crawling forward. Alas, my efforts are in vain, I struggle to unclip as the inevitable happens and I have to dismount. At first I am disappointed, but when I look down the hill at what distance I have achieved, I’m pleased I gave it a go.

Before long I’m back on my bike and trying to get some momentum going, but it’s tough as the road isn’t exactly well maintained and before long I pull over, exhausted with my efforts. It happens again for a third time, but I’m determined to finish the climb, so I cycle the final section until I reach a small asphalt apron at the top.

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I’ve made it to the top of the hill, but I am absolutely shattered, my lungs are bursting out of my chest, my heart is racing and I feel like spewing. Although its taken three attempts, I made it to the top, but disappointment dawns as the road now becomes a track and is suitable only for mountain bikes, which brings its own little problem, how to get back down safely.

I get my breath back and position my hands on the drops, not to race down the hill, but to allow me greater control of the brakes. I begin to roll forward, before long I’m going too fast for comfort and the brakes are both at 50%, not that it makes any difference, it seems the only way down is to drop like a stone and hope for the best, so I did, it made the descent of Dale Road seem tame in comparison.

Spout Hill is a beast.

It makes Trundlegate seem almost routine.

It is also bonkers to think somebody actually built the road in the first place.

Worryingly it’s difficulty rating is the same as Nunburnholme Hill on the Big G, gulp.

I have to admit that on the climb up Spout Hill a little part of my enthusiasm for cycling disappeared, I detest dead ends at the best of times, but it was the hill itself that beat me and right now I don’t ever wish to climb it again.

Feeling tired and rather sorry for myself I set off for South Cave, needing to find the fastest and easiest route home. I ride across the bridge spanning the busy A63 and join the A1034 for the short journey in to the village. As I cycle past the locals supping ale outside the Fox and Coney Pub, I can’t help but feel they have the right idea, but I struggle on up the incline towards the top of the hill on Station Road.

Once on the outskirts of South Cave the road steadily falls towards Kettlethorpe Hill, but before long climbs once more to peak outside Drewtons Farm Shop. As the road levels I am starting to find my legs once more and head towards the next obstacle, which is the climb between Rudstone Walk and High Hunsley.

As I turn off the busy A1034 and join the B1230, it’s not long before the steep climb begins and my legs are turning back to jelly as I shift down the gears. This particular hill climbs to the same ridge as Trundlegate and Burgate to the north, so it’s not an easy ride. As I approach and pass Rudstone Walk the road kicks up again and I have to use all my remaining energy to keep going while at the same time hoping the drivers on this busy road can see me clearly in the fading day light.

The climb is roughly two miles and it is about 15 minutes before I approach the junction with Burgate Hill. My initial plan is to drop down the hill and join Littlewood Road for the ride home, but I’m too knackered to think straight so I miss the turn and continue up to High Hunsley on The Avenue. The road is busy, but it’s a fast ride and I cover the 2.5 miles into Walkington in just over seven minutes.

As I cycle from Walkington into Beverley via the Westwood, having covered around 29 miles, I reflect on the hardest ride of my Big G training. I figure that if Trundlegate has the nickname of ‘The Devil’s Chimney’, by definition that makes Spout Hill ‘The Devil’s A**e Hole’, because you don’t really want to go up it and once at the top the only way out is to go back from whence you came. Not a ride to be repeated any time soon.

Total Distance Covered: 225 miles

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