The guys at the Northumbria TRF arranged a second camping weekend for TRF members. The venue chosen to stay was one of the members caravan and camp site just out side Haltwhistle, Herding Hill Farm.
This proved to be a great venue, accommodation was a choice of bunkhouse, camping or pitches for campers vans and with great heated toilets and showers, (music included). Best of all though it was right on the doorstep of loads of lanes in Northumbria.
Just over 50 people turned up for the event, causing a mini heart attack for Greg & Tony as loads more run leaders were needed... plenty of folk put their hands up though and so everybody seemed to get on the lanes with a local leader who showed off some of the 'classics' of the area.
|The Sunday group|
I rode a north loop and a south loop, one to Bellingham and the other to Alston... Both really different days, especially as the fog had rolled in for the Friday night as everyone was arriving and hung around for most of Saturday... this made the riding a bit of a mystery tour for folks as there were no views until later in the day.
Saturday dawned really foggy, almost zero viz, bugger... Hey ho, groups were organised and started to head out... I changed my original plan of the Alston loop to the Bellingham run as a lot of folk were heading to Alston... this turned out to be a good idea as we had the lanes virtually to ourselves... amazing considering there were so many people here to ride these lanes!
My group consisted of 6 today, 2 lads from Yorkshire, the Selby trio and a lad from way down south, Sussex I think??? a right good bunch... Bikes were 2 AJP's, 2 Yammy WR's and the rest were KTM's. An 80 mile loop was the plan, so here we go...
|Foggy and deep rivers...|
|Geoff - just about to drown his bike!!|
We made it through the ford at the Ash with just one casualty, and this was minor considering the bike was underwater... it didn't need to be drained at all!
Simonburn was a small epic... a bike bogged down, another one suffering the after effects of the Ash, with a water/fuel problem and a lot of tumbling down the steep bit... some of the lads got bogged down a few times and the mist made the whole place eerie... ace!
|Yep, your back wheel is in there somewhere!|
|Water in the fuel...|
|Carnage in the fog... best roll award goes too...|
|She's gonna blow Captain!|
|AJP Man rides again!|
|And he's over again!|
A few more lanes saw us in Bellingham, where we fuelled up and bumped into Davy's group. Davy recommended the cafe round the corner, so off we went... turned out to have two really cheeky ginger sisters, who provided good banter, a nice view & good food... bonus!
Bikes fueled, us fed, time to head out again... this time picking up several lanes heading toward Hexham including the Chollerford Steps... I don't think anybody 'cleaned' this, me especially, I was all over the place... still some pics and a laugh ensued!
A swift blast over Plenmeller Common saw us back by 4.30pm, ready for tea, then beer, then food!
The night was spent in the pub, the Milecastle Inn, good beer, average food and really good banter with the TRF boys before a dark walk/van ride back to the campsite.
Sunday dawned just as foggy as the previous day, but it soon cleared out as a breeze picked up... today was planned to be a longer day, a swift 120 miler... with some of my favourite lanes that I've ridden in the UK so far.
My group had changed a bit, I'd picked up another two, so we now had 9, a little bigger than I like but as it turned out, it was no problems as all were pretty capable and we rode a good pace all day getting back by 4.30 again. Another AJP, and a KTM Freeride...
We did all the usuals for the Alston run, Juniper, Slaley, Blanchland, the H, Coledale, Tynehead with a drop into Cumbria to do a couple of the lanes there too.
Lunch was at Hartside Cafe, there were loads of bikes out. It also seems that the local hot hatch and car clubs have cottoned onto how good Hartside is as there must have been about 40 cars there too today... A great atmosphere!
Lee had to fix his bike a couple of times to day, poor maintenance and he kept crashing! hee hee... that didn't stop the now 3 AJP boys comparing notes all day long, it was a bit like going to a convention!
|All three of 'em, note the 'posers'!|
We got back to Herding Hill to find the car park almost empty, with one group still to get back... so we chatted a bit, packed the bikes away and headed off after swapping email addresses and saying goodbyes...
On the whole another great weekend of trail riding, meeting some lovely people and getting out and about in the UK countryside. Fab!!
Now it's back home to wash the bikes, fix the side stands on almost all of the KTM's and get ready for the next session... mmm where next I wonder???