Is the 50 Mile “Minster Way” Ultra really possible? Full Sutton to Givendale section explored…

A daft idea?  Maybe.  But ever since we ran a few miles of the Minster Way a couple of weeks ago, we have wondered if this could be a potential route for our first Ultra.   Any run over a distance of 30 miles is technically classed as an “Ultra”.   The distance on the Minster Way (a mixed terrain trail route between York Minster and Beverley Minster) is 50 miles according to the long distance walk website.

Minster Way

The route, starting at the York Minster, tracks the river Ouse, over the A64 at Fulford across to the Golf Course, up past Elvington airfield, to Kexby, along the river Derwent to Stamford Bridge, up to Full Sutton, then to Bishop Wilton, then up onto the Wolds at Givendale, to Millington, up through the series of chalk valleys eventually traversing across the Wolds to arrive at Beverley Minster.

If we start out at say 06.30 can we make it in around 10-12 hours?   Who knows, but what a challenge!     That said though, the Minster Way is difficult to follow.    We need to make sure we don’t lose the path, and therefore in between the Friskney Half Marathon (last week)and the next (2nd) leg of the Yorkshire Wolds Odyssey (planned for Saturday), I (alone) decided to try and navigate 5 miles of uncharted territory on the Minster Way; Full Sutton to Givendale..

I parked up at Full Sutton, and headed down Hatkill Lane.   I knew to lookout for a small entrance to the path in the hedge row, and for the first time ever (having past it many times before) I noticed it!

fullsutton
Full Sutton, the entrance  to Minster Way hidden in the hedge on the left.

I headed through the path into a small field, then through a tricky wooded section where the path was impeded by fallen branches out onto the second, large field.   A few intersecting public footpaths in this area, I stayed on the right track until I reached the Balk at Youlthorpe.   Turning right along the road, and looking out for my path again on the left.   Before hitting Youlthorpe, I headed left on my path again, behind a farm, and into a field containing cows.

Youlthorpe

I saw the two things I fear in these situations; horns and calves!   The former suggesting the presence of a bull, the latter suggesting the presence of a protective / malevolent attitude!    I “gingerly” tiptoed around the cattle (Galloways again!) to the next gate, through that gate, and as often happens following these paths, I was abandoned by the signs! Which direction?    Using my instinct, I headed left to the far end of the field.  As I reached it I noticed a gate and realised I had selected wisely.  Through the gate I turned right and followed the path until it merged with the road on my left; Awnhams Lane.   I followed this for 100 yards or so, until turning left again on the path.  Over a couple of becks the path was easy to follow here running between hedgerows and an electric fence, over a big field then back over a bridge and onto Awnhams Lane again.

A road section next, up Awnhams Lane, right onto Thorny Lane, left up Main Street and into Bishop Wilton.    Then right onto Pocklington Lane, and looking out again for my path to start somewhere on the left.

Bishop Wilton
Main Street, Bishop Wilton

A few hundred yards out and there it was!   Through the gate and left up a big steep grassy hill (basically Garroby Hill) up onto the Wolds!   After a very steep climb I turned right along the top and headed towards Givendale.   I was probably half a mile off the path exit at Givendale (the Givendale to Millington section we tackled a couple of weeks ago), but I had covered 5 miles and needed to head back home.

BishWilton
The view from the path near Givendale, looking down onto Bishop Wilton.

No need to reverse the commentary, apart from saying it was quicker being certain this time of the way I was going, and the cows had now been moved!    All in all a good little section of the path done, and I am now much more confident that this will work as a route for an Ultra!

Anyone care to join us?   Breath of fresh air!

Ultra

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