Fourteen of us, on eleven bikes met up at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Easter Monday, for our rideout to the Yorkshire Dales Falconry & Wildlife Conservation Centre.
Our rideout officials were Steve, leading the rideout, Justine acting as back marker and Toby & Mark being our floating marshals. We set off at 10:10, once everyone had enjoyed their coffee's and fried breakfast products. We took the A650 route out of Wakefield, picking up the A653 at Tingley Roundabout. We joined Leeds Outer Ringroad and picked up the A65 at Horsforth roundabout. We followed the A65 bypassing Otley and hitting heavy traffic on the outskirts of Ilkley. Roadsigns proclaimed that the traffic light sequence had been changed to better manage the traffic flow through Ilkley town centre ..... Mmmmm, not at all convinced the traffic light sequence is correct, as had we not been on bikes and able to filter, we would have still been there now.
Toby's first stop to take action photo's of all the bikes en-route ended up right next to all the queueing traffic heading into Ilkley by the time we had arrived. Ooops.
Next a quick fag and toilet stop in Ilkely. A parking attendant come rushing over but it was only to tell us that all Bradford Metropolitan District Council car parks are completely free to motorcycles ..... way to go Bradford MDC !!!!
We continued on the A65, passing the wind farm at Chelker reservoir, where Toby had positioned himself to take more action shots of the bikes. With Toby at the side of the road, in a hi-viz vest with a camera, it was most amusing watching all the cars hit their brakes thinking it was a mobile speed trap.
Staying on the A65, we bypassed Skipton and headed out towards Settle. The traffic was pretty busy and constant, anyone would have thought it was a bank holiday !!!
Once past the Settle roundabout, it was only a couple of miles to the Falconry Centre. We arrived at 13:00, in good time for the first bird display at 13:30. A quick look at the pens, then the live falconry display. The Falcons swoop at well over 100 MPH, and have a top speed of over 200 MPH, so as you can imagine, they are pretty impressive to watch. Has the Government not told them that they are to be restricted to 50 MPH when flying in the country !!!!
Time then for a cup of tea and a spot of lunch, then the next display at 15:00. Out came the huge vulture, seeing that in flight with it's gigantic 15 foot wingspan is truly awesome.
The Eagle Owl skirting the very top of your head en-route to it's trainer (and a tasty chicken morsel) was also most impressive.
A great rideout destination, not cheap at £5.90, but it's not that often you get so close to such magnificent birds of prey. Funnily enough, all the wild birds kept a pretty low profile when the owls, hawks and falcons were around !!!!
Time to head home and we came back on the A650 route heading towards Bradford, again heavy traffic, but it didn't bother us on the bikes. We took the old road through Crossflatts and Bingley to miss the traffic on the bypass (well, most of us did !!!). Skirting past Shipley, then trough Bradford, Tong, Morley and back home in Wakefield for 18:00.
A thoroughly cracking day out, the sun shone, and amazingly, for a Wakefield MAG ride-out, we didn't get lost.