What a great start to the Geordie Chapter 2016 riding season! Led by John and Andy, we brought together an Air Ambulance Crusade Ride collecting money for the Great North Air Ambulance service.
The meeting point was Lumley Castle, just off the A1, and many arrived in Crusade outfits. We had a couple of new members with us for the ride-out, possibly not sure what to make of all the flags and banners. We also had James back into the Road Crew after a short spell on foreign shores. Mandy soon got the collection underway.
There were a few patches of mist about as we congregated but it soon cleared and sunshine prevailed for the rest of the day. John and Andy delivered the safety briefing and gave us an idea of where were going. Arthur was Pack Leader, Ray was Back Marker and Al made sure that everyone was where they should be and ready to go.
We had the first junction to ourselves coming out of Lumley Castle and then we formed an enormous V-Twin snake along the A167 towards Neville’s Cross. People just stopped and stared as we rumbled through some of the smaller villages, including Waterhouses, then we headed north up towards the A68 and Carterway Heads.
Junctions came at us thick and fast but our fantastic Road Crew had them all covered and we ploughed on now heading west, just to the south of Derwent Reservoir on the B6306. The scenery was majestic: the water shimmering blue and Blanchland basking in the sunshine.
Just after Baybridge, it was time to cross the moors and then drop down into Nenthead. It was just spectacular – we’ve travelled these roads many times before but it is such a fantastic place for a ride-out! There was very little traffic about and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
After about sixty miles and two hours in the sunshine, we were all ready for a stop at Alston – fuel for us and fuel for the bikes. We squeezed in tight onto a very small parking area and headed across the road to the Alston House, although some stayed in the car park with flasks and some sandwiches. Some of the Chapter had been down to the Cider Rally the previous weekend, so there was some good crack about their adventures, and the forthcoming Iron Horse Rally.
The Road Crew got us lined up again and we brought Alston to a standstill as we headed back up the cobbles on Front Street. There was an abundance of sports bikes in and around Alston and they all stopped and stared at the American Iron on show. However, once we got away on the B6277, many went whizzing past us. The road just seemed to go on forever, with lots of great twists and turns, dropping lower and lower towards Barnard Castle. We then headed due east towards Durham Tees Valley Airport.
When we arrived, the Great North Air Ambulance helicopter already had its blades spinning. We jumped off to get some quick shots before the crew boarded and it took off. All too quickly, it was gone. It wasn’t guaranteed that we would see the helicopter but we did and it just shows that they are on constant call, ready to help people in need.
We collected about £300.00 for the service and John handed this over to the team before we left. Everyone then headed their own separate way home.
It was a superb day, with some great scenery, weather and roads. The Road Crew did an amazing job keeping us together and making sure we landed safely.