2 go wandering through the Yorkshire Dales

We had decided to have a day out together on the motorbikes, we had promised ourselves this a few times but things and people had gotten in the way time and time again! Finally today was going to be THE day. I was up at 06.00hrs to snaffle some breakfast and coffee. I took tea for Julie who was just waking up she would be out shortly with Lightening for a horsey day with friends, a kiss goodbye and off I went. It was cold and dark but I set off towards the motorway with a smile on my face.

The M62 is so busy and clogged with traffic at rush hour, the extra lane doesn’t seem to have made much difference! The traffic starts backing up around J31 at Normanton and is usually awful all the way to J26. It normally takes about an hour a half to get to Keighley during the rush hour period even with twenty miles of filtering up through the middle of the lanes.

Today was the worse I’ve ever seen, several broken down vehicles were causing mayhem, an accident  on the M62 happened at 07.00 hrs so they closed all three lanes of the eastbound side of the M62. I got to the scene at 09.00 it was in the middle of the lane restrictions, the hard shoulder was unavailable they had erected temp metal barriers, I presume they needed that for the workforce and to cap it all a concrete wall ran down the middle of the motorway as imposing as the old Berlin Wall, that has cost me and you millions! Its been like this for a couple of years now and its bloody awful. It took me nearly three hours to get to Keighley.

consequently me and Barry didn’t get going until 10.00hrs. The Skipton by-pass was soon traversed at our usual pace and the day began to get better all of a sudden.

At Gargrave we turned towards Malham and I took the lead to the cafe for our bacon sarni’s. It was a fun run all the way but the cafe was shut! “Sorry mate we are on winter opening hours” he says I thought OK so its winter lets open up then! He wasnt having it, he pointed us to a little shop behind the pub that sold walking kit and tea, he dont think she sold much in the way of food though. “Hello love, two large teas and two large bacon sarnis with brown sauce siv oo play” Tea and toasted tea cakes is what we had…Sadly the closed cafe man was correct.  

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Full of tea and toast we buzzed round to Malham Tarn for a look before carrying on to Gargrave, we decided against the dry river bed that went off to our left I looked back in the mirror at Barry, he was laughing at the thought too.

It seems Derek with a Y was here at the same time according to FB later that night…. luckily for the caravan fraternity he wasnt on his motorbike.

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We rode on up to Arnclife hooking a left out of the village up and onto the ridge away to the left. we bobbed up and down on the bumpy road to Halton Gill. turning again to ride along the edge.

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We stopped for a few minutes, I looked back at Halton Gill to catch a glimpse of sunshine as it shone on the village from a slash in the overcast. I was fortunate to capture it on film as you can see on the above photograph.

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Looking back the way one has come can be as nice as the way forward…just don’t do it whilst your riding! A few miles further on we stopped to set the camera up properly and “fettle” the tie wraps making sure it wasnt going to come loose.

                                           Barry doing some “fettling”

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After doing the intro for the short video..click on the following link to view if you haven’t already seen it! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8MUOxrehnE&feature=youtu.be

Next stop was at the base of Pen-Y-Ghent for another stop and stare moment, the wind was blowing cold up here but it was still nice to just stand and look around.

The rocks and the stone around these parts was distinct in its steely grey colour.

               Barry looks for a bit of petrol money..

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Actually he was putting the sign straight for me, I just wanted to get my own back and “fit him up” for him including my bit of swearing at the beginning of the video that he was supposed to have edited out!

The next stop was going to be Stainforth, which was nice because this place links in with a previous post of mine from a month or two earlier. Basically at a bridge back home in nearby Stainforth, damage wascaused by a careless farmer with his tractor (and his over sized trailer) It was going to take a week or two for the bridge to be patched up when out of nowhere English Heritage leaped in declaring it an important Grade II listed structure and demanded the knocked off stones be recovered from the river bed, they demanded the correct mortar be used, it was going to cost thousands of pounds, rightly so I suppose as we ought to do our best to protect our heritage right? The trouble is, the bridge that has been damaged and still hasn’t been repaired is in Stainforth South Yorkshire, the grade II structure they are talking about and is shown on their website is in Stainforth in North Yorkshire…over 90 miles away! Its obvious from their photograph that it’s not the correct bridge. I did my bit and explained carefully of their mistake, up to now I have not heard a thing from them.

 The Ye olde worlde bridge in Stainforth North Yorkshire….with Barry supporting the  local nature. The local postman stopped for a chat by the bikes and I told him the story. “Thats nowt” he says, “We get post every few weeks intended for Stainforth in South Yorkshire aye we even got one last week with Doncaster County Council South Yorkshire plastered over it, bloody barmy!” Aye mate bloody barmy is right. 

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We said bye to the postie and pushed on towards Horton in Ribblesdale. An 11 mile fast run to Hawes came next with well-remembered deviations and killer corners! We flashed past the huge Ribblehead Viaduct. Barry filmed this as it would be interesting…and it was, we remembered some exciting dips further up the road. I blipped the throttle and became momentarily airborne, quite a rush and much fun!A green tanker blocked any more fast progress so we settled down for the last mile before stopping at Hawes and finally getting our bacon sarni with brown sauce.

feeling fresh again we set of out of Hawes going left over the river and climbing up and right over the hill heading towards Askrigg riding at a sensible pace along the narrowest single track road of the day, it twisted and turned dipping down into swillies and twisting round the hills, I don’t think we had more that fifty yards of straight road but it was so beautiful. I would have loved to have stopped and took a photo or two but there was no place to stop, the road wasnt straight at all it either went up or it went down and had a tight bend at either side of it! It just wasnt safe to stop and have a look round to be honest. We encountered one of two farm vehicles and they thankfully drove into the ditch and shrubs to let us pass, thank you guys!

We were nearly at the end of this challenging scenic section, we had a spiral down to the left around a wooded hill, a farm-house was on the corner and a couple of locals were stood there, Barry suddenly locked up the front wheel and it slid away momentarily on the twigs and rubbish on the  corner, as quick as it slipped it straightened again. I was a couple of yards behind and still on a straight bit so managed to stop short of climbing into Barry’s top box! On the bend out of sight was a tractor with mechanical jaws gaping and sharp steel teeth pointing at us, it was a mere couple of yards from Barry. The locals just stood looking as we slipped slowly past. At the junction a hundred yards away we stopped for a minute and checked his bike, no damage to him or the bike. The rubbish he slipped on was in fact from the trees they were chopping down. It was  just another hairy moment in the life of a biker. It would be one of those many instances to talk about over a drink in the future only over time the tractor will have gotten a lot closer!

We turned onto a decent road now and picked up the pace until we reached The Old Tank Road and slowed again as it dropped again to a single track road, up it climbed to the crest of the hill, we rode along its edge into the ever-present wind. The red live fire flags whipped ands cracked in the wind, this is where the young recruits from nearby Catterick Garrison come to train in the deadly art of war.

Leyburn was our last tea stop in our adventure, we both really enjoyed the day, its what we used to do a lot of in the past and decided we would try harder to pick it up again. The “jaws of death” incident was long behind us now…the tractor was just inches away… Its only beingon a bike you can come away from the Yorkshire Dales with such feelings, Glen Coe is better and the European Alps is just out of this world!

 We parted company here, it was 15.30 hrs the light was fading and would be dark in another hour. Barry picked his way through to Ripon an onwards before landing home at Keighley. I rode over to Catterick and joined the A1 for a one hour ride south to the M62 onto the M18 then home to Hatfield….in South Yorkshire…not Hatfield in Hertfordshire! The clock said 18.00rs it was nearly twelve hours since I set off this morning. What a great way to spend an Autumn day

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