Monday, 17 October 2016

Hadrians Wall Weekend, hosted by Northumbria TRF

Another fab weekend of playing on bikes and meeting great people...

Northumbria TRF organised their annual Hadrian's Wall adventure for this year, and although there were a few problems in the lead up to the weekend, all things seemed to go really well over the weekend itself...

Lucy & I led a team of lads who had travelled from Devon, (Fabrice & Neil) and Oxfordshire, (Wayne & Marcus) on both days and we picked up a stray from Northumbria for the Sunday, Ben... Bikes were a good old eclectic mix again, a shiny new Husqvarna FE350, a Honda CRF 450, A Yamaha 240 & Honda CR 250. Both of the later bikes were older design bikes but really capable never the less.

Saturday morning dawned grey and misty over the moors, Lucy & I planned to get to the kick off area on the Friday night to meet folk and have a gossip, but things got in the way at home, so we set off nice and early of the Saturday morning, getting into the start point for 7.45am. We parked up and unloaded the bikes, all the time chatting to the guys around us, some known faces and some new faces... A nice atmosphere of expectation buzzing quietly in the back ground as machines and people were got ready for a day of playing!

Groups were sorted and leaders/backmarkers assigned and in no time the next thing was briefing and we were off!

For me I chose two classics for the area, Saturday was the Alston run, some of the best lanes in the country and also fairly guaranteed to stay dry as not so many river crossing s to do! It's one of my favourite rides and I love showing people around it, plus so long as you go up Tynehead, Lucy is always smiling, so a winner all round!! :-) Sunday, the Bellingham run which always has the potential for wetness and drowned bikes, but hey everyone was going home after so didn't matter!

The team were all pretty capable riders and the pace was really good, not to quick and not to slow... opening gates became a breeze as the usual second man/third man process took over, although to be fair I kept cocking it up by opening some as the leader, which always left some confusion in the moment! ;-)

The Alston run is a long day for most, long rocky lanes, a couple of river crossings and as we were moving on well, I added in several lanes down into the Eden Valley and a couple near Hexham to make sure we had a full day... So come the night time, a couple of beers, a big dinner and everyone was dozing off!!

The Sunday dawned beautifully, but became wetter later before the sun came back out, a proper northern day of mixed weather... Same process, albeit a little slower this time! ;-)

Today was the day we acquired Ben on his KTM 400 EXC 2006, a lovely clean bike with lots of good little mods to it... Ben lacked a bit of experience but rode well all day and the day went fairly well, with a few small hiccups!

I decided to do the route in reverse to my normal, mainly as the Ash was pretty deep and I didn't want everyone getting soaked at the start of the day, trouble with this way is there is more tarmac work, hey ho... To warm up we did a few of the lanes we'd finished on the previous day, fast and easy, then it was time to head north of the wall and pick up the lanes heading to Bellingham. The lanes get longer as you ride this route, there are loads of gates, but the scenery was great.

We ended up in a cafe in Bellingham where we crossed with a couple of the other groups, the unexpected groups had emptied the cafe of food almost and the staff looked a little harassed, but as always the food was great!

After lunch it was off to Simonburn and the Ash for a play.

Simonburn saw a few of the guys go over the handlebars and into the bog, everybody got muddy and had a great laugh, all helping each other out when needed!

The crossing of the Ash saw three bikes all clean and washed, but the rest wimped out and walked their bikes over the footbridge.

Our final lane of the weekend was a fast one through the forest and then the short road ride back to meeting point...

We swapped contact details, had a piss taking session of each other and then it was time to go our separate ways... hopefully we'll keep in touch and get out and about in the areras of some of the others or just meet up for another ride sometime!!

Great fun, great people, well done to Tony Huntrod, Greg Villalobos and the rest of the Northumbria TRF group for sorting the event out and welcoming so many folk to their lovely area.

Now, next year....