Chapter ride-out, 12.9.16

An early start on Sunday at Jennings Harley-Davidson Gateshead and everyone gathered together for this month’s Chapter ride, this time to Lake Bassenthwaite and The Lakes Distillery. The Great North Run closed large sections of Newcastle, but everyone found alternative routes to the shop. Twenty riders were present and about fifteen Road Crew, with Mark at the front, Dave at the back and Duncan, on his new Superlow 1200, as Pack Leader. Gary joined us too, on his Ultra Classic, with his membership application form in the post to Mandy.

The weather promised great things and we set off in sunshine, round the Metro Centre and up onto the A69, with a left onto the Military Road at Heddon-on-the Wall. The Military Road never fails to impress and we swept along through dips and corners. We split up slightly at Chollerford but soon found everyone again with Hadrian’s Wall whizzing past on the right hand side with loads of visitors and walkers at Sycamore Gap, even at that time in the morning.

Soon we were heading down the bank into Greenhead, with some temporary traffic lights to split us up again, and then back onto the A69, past Gilsland and Spadeadam. Warwick Bridge was further on, and just over the River Eden, we dropped onto Steele’s Bank and through Wetheral and Cumwhinton towards the Golden Fleece Services, just off the M6.

We paused here for ten minutes to recharge with everyone enjoying the sunshine. There was a beautiful sparkly green paint-job on a Breakout on the ride and the colours on John’s H-D always looks polished to within an inch of their life. John L was also on his new Limited, with its fine grey colour scheme.

We were soon away again, crossing the M6, through Durdar and across some spectacular moors heading down towards Uldale. Thankfully, most of the sheep remained stationary as we went by. Losing elevation now down into Bassenthwaite, past the famous Armathwaite Hall, and the distillery on the right. A great ride.

Lunch was next, with food, coffee and whisky-tasting on offer. Some went on the tour round the distillery too. We had a walk down to see the resident alpacas and the River Derwent, lazily meandering by. Apparently, they use the water from the River Derwent in the processes at the distillery. The alpacas looked completely bored, sitting in the sunshine in the far reaches of the field.

With everyone fully refreshed and distillery purchases safely stowed, we left by the same general route, then headed for Plumpton, and across the M6 again. The roads got narrower and narrower and very grassy in places but we soldiered on. We pulled out just after Plumpton, on the B6413. The group then carried on towards Melmerby, Hartside Café, before landing in Hexham, via Lowgate. Back onto the A69, then north at Corbridge to the Military Road again before ending the ride back at Heddon-on-the Wall.

It was a great day, with some lovely weather and a great place to visit. We haven’t been across to The Lakes during this year’s riding season but this ride was a great reminder of how nice it is on a sunny day. Once again, the Road Crew did a splendid job keeping everyone corralled together and thanks to Mark for a superb route.