Music, motorbikes and mayhem sums up our second outing to Clennell Hall! The finest Northumbrian scenery and landscape provided a green and pleasant backdrop, with about forty chapter members making their way there over the weekend. We had a combination of people in the Hall itself, some in the bunk rooms, and a wide selection of tents and motorhomes.
The trip up on Friday was reasonably uneventful, but the promise of some rain somewhere meant the clouds were grey rather than white. A bit better than last year though, when it tipped down on the way up. We got there about four, and the GC faithful already occupied the bar.
Drinks orders and food orders came and went over the next hour or so and, after checking in, we installed ourselves next to the Charlton and Kent party at the long table in the middle. Rocky kept the beer chilled for us all, and after our own food, we settled down to some music from a local band, and general tomfoolery, GC-style.
The band was good, playing a varied selection of tunes, and they kept everything swinging along nicely until the wee hours.
Breakfast came and went in the morning, and we shared a table with Ron and Lyn. We covered all the finer points of GC merchandise during our brief time together!
James, Bill, Mandy and Paul then arrived from Newcastle to join our ride-out, scheduled for an 11.00 am departure. Peter was up front and Paul at the back. Peter delivered the briefing, and revealed our lunch stop – the Lavender Tea Rooms, at Etal.
And we were off! We took a quick left-turn out of Clennell Hall, and then navigated through some great roads, heading for Alnwick. There were nineteen bikes and two trikes on the day. The sun popped in and out from behind the clouds, and the day was getting much warmer as we landed into Alnwick, past the lovely Edlingham Castle. We also played second-man-drop-off which is always good fun!
We arrived at a very familiar petrol station, got some fuel in the Sportys, then had a slow meander back through Alnwick, fighting against some Saturday morning traffic. Alnwick must be very used to having the GC through its street: we had a great pit-stop there last weekend as part of our ABC ride.
Peter’s route then kicked up a gear, as we headed north through Eglingham and Chillingham. At times, it felt like we were on the waltzer at The Hoppings but the plan slotted beautifully together and, after a small about-turn at the castle in Etal, we landed en masse at the Lavender Tea Rooms. What a glorious spot! A few of our gang who weren’t on bikes had also made their way up there, so we all sat for an hour and drank up the sunshine and some lovely tea and coffee from the café. They were so excited about it, they even filmed our departure!
Barry now took the back-marker spot and we whizzed back down the A697 for some more fuel at Powburn. Peter wasn’t finished with us yet, so we went into Glanton, Callaly and some other lovely villages back to Clennell Hall. There was a great collection of narrow roads, potholes, green tufts and gravel to keep us all on our toes, and we were in and out of our seats bouncing through it all.
And that was that! Eighty miles later, we were back at Clennell Hall, debating the day’s ride with a cold beer outside in the sunshine. The place overflowed with more of the GC gang, in additional tents and motorhomes. As a small reward for his superb efforts, Jasper the dog then took a tinkle in Peter’s lid.
NB: this is NOT Jasper!
We fought the temptation to stay out right through, so showered and changed and landed back in the bar at seven.
More tea, more music and more beer, that’s how it went from there. Our Les, followed by Stu, accompanied at times by Mark, then kept our toes a-tapping though another fantastic evening.
What a great time! Great folk, great patter and some great riding! Let’s get it sorted again for 2018.
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