We all met up at Bradbury Services on Sunday for the first monthly Chapter ride of 2017, led by Duncan. A few arrived early, having gone straight there, then the Washington posse landed en masse just before ten. It was great to see so many people taking advantage of the good weather, and also so many new chapter members. We chatted to John, Gill and Tony in the car park beforehand.
The Road Crew huddled together to get their game faces on, then Duncan delivered the all-important ride briefing. Barry announced that James would be celebrating his sixtieth birthday on Monday, so we raised our voices for a quick burst of Happy Birthday for him.
Once we’d completed the formalities, everyone got kitted up, started up and ready for the off about half ten. A kindly Stobart’s lorry gave us all a free pass straight out of the service station, then we crossed the A1, heading west up Weardale towards the A68 and Wolsingham. The roads were fantastic and we tucked in behind John B on his Dyna and Ian on his Breakout. Ron and Lyn were close behind us.
The Road Crew got us quickly through the relatively straight route to St John’s Chapel, then a quick left, heading south towards the B167, High Force waterfall and Teesdale. We used part of this route on our first ride from last year when we raced from Alston down to Durham Tees Valley Airport to see the Great North Air Ambulance.
Right onto the B6276 took us onto the North Pennines AONB and the moors. The weather turned distinctly chilly as we soldiered on, and a bit of mist managed to dampen our shiny chrome. Thankfully, the sheep kept out of our way and in no time, we landed at Brough, crossing under the A66. It was a bit bumpy on the roads on the moors and it was good to ride some better roads for a change.
Kirkby Stephen was very busy but everyone stopped and stared, open-mouthed, as we navigated the traffic lights through the village. Up and out again as we headed for Nateby and Outhgill towards Aisgill, next to the very remote Hell Gill Beck. Once on the A684, we landed at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes.
Things have changed at the creamery recently, including a new car park. We all managed to find a space, then headed for lunch. It’s such a great place, and Lyn took full advantage of the cheese-related merchandise on offer.
We left about an hour or so later and we rode through Hawes itself. It was rammed with tourists and fellow bikers yet we still managed to cause a stir as we went by. There’s something cool about riding in such a big group, and watching everyone watching us! This time, we were following John L, Trish and John B, with Ian tucked in behind. There’s always something entertaining watching John B whacking the throttle grip on his ride, but he kept the hammer down and we made a good pace!
Pretty soon, we dropped down a very steep bank and crossed the lovely Aysgarth Falls. Unfortunately, Kevin Costner was nowhere to be seen! The roads were again magnificent and kept us on our toes, although we nearly ran out of Road Crew at one point. Everyone was doing a good job in letting them through but there were a lot of junctions to cover.
We dropped out of the Yorkshire Dales National Park at Richmond and headed north, crossing the River Tees again, west of the A1 at Darlington. Finally, we had a short stretch of A1 to travel before we landed at Newton Park Services. Everyone was full of smiles for a job well done, all credit to Duncan and the Men in Orange for a superb day!