British Bike Tours ran its first motorbike tour of the season last weekend. It was our long weekend tour through the Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Northumberland and North Yorkshire moors.
What a great tour it was. Fabulous customers and perfect weather for riding a bike. We only got a little wet on the last hours ride of the Saturday. The customers, however, really made it a great start to the season.
There were 10 bikes on the tour including Lorraine and I. I led and Lorraine was tail end Charlie - she did an awesome job. Everyone picked up the drop off system of marking corners and junctions very quickly and led to a trouble free tour with no major mishaps.
We travelled down to Harrogate on the Thursday evening and met up with Homer for a great Italian meal. Up relatively early to meet the group at 9.15am we set off into the Yorkshire Dales. We were soon getting to grips with the single track roads of the Dales and enjoying the absolutely stunning scenery. The sun was shining and we had a lovely mid morning stop in Grassington for tea and scones. Then it was up to Malham Cove. It was wonderful to see hundreds of lambs in the fields out Malham. Lunch was at the rather quirky Falcon Inn in Arncliffe - great food and hospitality.
After lunch it was onto the wider and faster roads with the first being Buttertubs Pass. This is only 8 miles long but it is a great bit of a road. The closest thing you get to an Alpine road in the Yorkshire Dales - flowing curves, sharp hairpins and steep drop-offs. Great fun.
From Buttertubs we enter Cumbria, the Lake District and the first nights hotel. A quick shower and then to dinner with entertainment provided by Mark and Dan. Much banter - hilarious for the rest of us.
A civilised 9.30am start and straight into the Lake District passes, starting with Kirkstone Pass. A nice fast flowing mountain pass which is the highest in the Lake District.
Then it is down into Keswick and onto the Honister Pass. This is my favourite of all the Lake District passes especially as you head down to the Buttermere Valley. Truly beautiful.
Homer enjoyed the view of Sellafield before the lovely lunch stop at Calder Bridge. From Calder bridge it is only a few miles to the notorious Hardknott Pass. This pass is not for the faint hearted, it is narrow and very, very steep. It is the steepest road in England. The gang did really well to get up and down it with only one minor mishap - I will mention no names. I have travelled all over the world on a bike and the Hardknott and Wrynose passes are in the top 5 of hardest asphalt roads that I have ridden. A real challenge - so well done to all.
A coffee stop to calm our nerves and then it is North to Carlisle. Carlisle is a lively border town with lots of pubs and restaurants - we settle for a few beers and a really good curry.
On the bikes at 9.30am and we head North crossing over into Scotland much to Scottish Marks delight. Then it is through Kielder forest before a coffee stop by the lake side. After coffee we head through beautiful Northumberland. This county is so unspoilt and has the lowest population in England. This means glorious empty roads!!
A fuel stop in Alston (the joint highest village in England) and then into beautiful Teesdale. We stop for a lovely lunch at the High Force Inn - beef, gavy and onion baps!
Our final run for the day is up Sutton Bank and then a great motorcycling road over the North Yorkshire moors from Pickering to Whitby.
A few dirty beers at our lovely guest house prior to showering and to the fish and chip shop for locally caught cod and chips. These are then eaten at the The Endeavour public house - what a great pub that allows you to take your fish and chips in. Why don't more pubs allow this?
A great tour with great customers. No mishaps, no problems, everyone looked after each other. So good that we are now organising a North Coast 500 trip for this group in October 2018.