News feed, 2.7.17

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.

News feed, 4.7.16

All roads led to Clennell Hall last Friday for our Chapter weekend away. People had taken a variety of routes to get there and tent pitching and checking in was underway throughout the afternoon. There was a mix of weather too, with some people getting soaked and some missing it altogether. As expected, everyone had a tale to tell as we landed in the bar to swap travelling stories.

We had a very circuitous route there via Morpeth, Bolam Lake, Otterburn, Otterburn Ranges, Blindburn and Shillmoor before landing into Alwinton. A great trip!

Clennell Hall, July 2016 1

Clennell Hall, July 2016 2

Clennell Hall is a fantastic place, previously a historic manor house, much extended by the Clennell family during their stewardship. There was plenty of room to park the H-Ds but some of the little tweety birds did their best to poop all over them.

Clennell Hall, July 2016 3

Clennell Hall, July 2016 4

People came and went during the evening, for some beers and some tea. Some had more of the former than the latter and were looking a bit shaky on Saturday morning at breakfast. Rocky kept the beer flowing and we were never thirsty. Olwyn and John B shared the spoils with the domino cards. John kindly donated his to the Blood Bikes, who were the recipients of all the proceeds from the games.

The hot water tank at Clennell Hall was knackered on Saturday, so many decided against a freezing shower before breakfast. But breakfast itself was piping hot, so we filled our boots then got ready for our ride-out. Shaun led this and Badger looked after things at the back. There were ten bikes and one trike on the ride-out.

Clennell Hall, July 2016 5

Berwick-upon-Tweed was the destination and we had some impressive roads, dodging rain clouds all the way there. There was a lot of gravel and potholes on some of those roads, so we all took extra care. Powburn was the first stop for some fuel for the Sportys, then we headed north, past Chillingham Castle, then back to Wooler, Milfield and towards Coldstream before following the A698 and the River Tweed into Berwick. We got some fuel for the non-Sportys, and then headed into town to Castlegate car park. It was a fairly busy car park to start with but we managed to bring it to a standstill as we all found a place for our iron horses. A very friendly man from the Council told us that parking is free for bikes throughout Northumberland. A wise idea.

We spent a great hour or so in Berwick – the sun shone all the time we were there. Peter even enjoyed a fruit scone with clotted cream and jam at Caffe Nero!

Clennell Hall, July 2016 6

Time to get moving again and we were soon back on the A1, heading south towards Alnwick, via Bamburgh and Seahouses. You never really tire of riding these great Northumbrian roads with such beautiful scenery and amazing coastal landscapes. The rain caught up with us a couple of times but we shrugged it off as we chased the sun back to Alwinton.

Clennell Hall, July 2016 7

In and out of Alnwick, we hit the B6341 and retraced some of our steps, in the opposite direction, from the ABC ride last week, past Edlingham Castle again and crossing the A697 towards Cragside and Rothbury. There was a particularly vicious pothole that caught many of us just outside Alwinton but we all landed back safe and sound. A superb 110 miles, about five hours all told.

Clennell Hall, July 2016 8

Some of our Saturday guests had already arrived, so we got back into beer and tea mode in Rocky’s Bar. Thankfully, the hot water tank was firing on all cylinders so we could all have a wash!

Clennell Hall, July 2016 9

Clennell Hall, July 2016 10

Simon and Stuart warmed up their strings and very soon we’d been through The Wagon Wheel and Copperhead Road. Steve helped where he could on either guitar or harmonica. Mark even managed a few chords for one song. A rousing quartet! We had a few Bob Dylan moments too, with Knocking on Heaven’s Door and All Along the Watchtower.

Clennell Hall, July 2016 11

Clennell Hall, July 2016 12

Everyone had a fantastic time: songs were sung, guitars were strummed, fiddles were fiddled and an amazing amount of beer was consumed. Phil even dazzled us with some foxy dance moves at one point too. The best thing though? It’s always the people that make it so great. There’s no doubt Geordie Chapter are a very friendly bunch.

Clennell Hall, July 2016 13

All too soon, Sunday morning arrived and with more breakfasts eaten, we made our way home. We travelled down with Paul and Donna, a lovely ride back after a great weekend away at Clennell Hall. Roll on next year!

You can find our flickr album of photos here.

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