We were quite late with deciding what we want do with the four day weekend Easter gave us this year so travelling out of country was out of the question; I did not want to spend 200+ quid on flights for both of us for not even four full days. So we went to plan B – travelling within the UK. We picked Newcastle and Lake District. We have friends just north of the city on Tyne, I have never been to Lake District and four days should be plenty time for a run up there and back.
Bike – Yamaha XJR 1300 aka The Beast
Period – Easter weekend 2019
Duration – 4 days
Distance covered – cca 1500 km, 932 miles (the odometer is not working so this is an approximation done by Google maps and our own judgement of how many times we had to circle round due to missed turns)
Issues with the bike – on day 2 the back suspension crapped out. I said it was my fat arse but the husband diplomatically maintains it was already old and needed replacing. This was fixed once we got back home
Number of roadkill – high; there were deer, badgers, rabbits, you name it
Favourite part of the trip – Kirkstone pass
Stage 1 – Chelmsford to Wolverhampton
This was a fairly straightforward run, no nice roads or views. It has been decided that we go visit one of the club members in Wolverhampton who would then join us with his wife on the scenic way up north to see his brother. We were joined by two prospects who also rode from Chelmsford but separately from us. Once again, our weekend was turning into a bike club thing. Club meet ups are more or less always the same; long rides with not many stops to enjoy the scenery (thus photos only from the last two day of this trip) and then getting back to someone’s place, sitting in the garden in front of the fire (no matter how cold it is outside) and barbecuing. I am also not a fan of “pack riding” – they are always trying to one up each other and there are many take overs on blind bends as being the last one means you’ll be mocked through out the weekend.
The two of us did decide we wanted to visit Birmingham. However, the luck was not on our side; many close knit roads and tunnels going through the town made it surprisingly easy to get lost. The clear skies and sunshine made the bike start to overheat in the city’s traffic so we had to get out of the centre as soon as possible. Completely deflated, we continued towards our destination. Booze and food awaited ❤
Stage 2 – Wolverhampton to Seaton
After a leisurely morning and breakfast, we left around midday (much later than expected) to meet up with the club president and “his riding horde” up in Hawes, the middle of Yorkshire Dales. We took the M6 towards Preston, then switched to A59 towards Skipton/Settle. After that, we entered the Dales; small hills, meadows and sheep, big and small, everywhere you look and all fenced in with cute little rock walls. Young lambs were running away from the road as the bikes roared by, seeking comfort behind their mothers. The sun was shinning but it was not too hot on the bike. Roads were winding, dry and not too packed with cars. We passed the Ribblehead Viaduct, but there was no stopping, we were running late to the rendezvous point.
Our first stop was Hawes. It was full of bikers and the sun was hitting the chrome in its full splendour. After coffee and some butt/leg stretches we hit the road again towards Richmond where the next petrol stop was scheduled. We were told not to refuel in Hawes as the petrol prices were ridiculously high, but I think the president downplayed the distance to Richmond; we arrived there riding on petrol fumes. I was already running the scenarios of me tanning in the sun somewhere by the road, keeping an eye on the bike while the husband trotted to the petrol station on foot. Luckily, the Beast got us to the station without needing a push. One thing to mention, keep an eye out for the police; long weekend, nice weather and a lot of people equals lots of possibilities for accidents so the police are keeping an eye out for speeders.
We did some good five hours in the saddle that day. When we got to Seaton I was in a desperate need of a shower to feel human again as my hair was pissing me off to no end. Even two hair ties did not help saving it from getting all tangled up in the wind. All brushed and clean, I was ready for another evening around the fire with the BBQ going. One of our friends helped us plan the road for the next day, the main day of our trip, the day I would finally see the Lake District and the weather was supposed to be sunny with not a cloud in the sky.