13 people on 10 bikes assembled on a very sunny and promising morning to trough down enough of the Redbeck's finest in order to survive a stressful few miles of following me around some of the most boring bits of Pontefract, Mickle-somewhere and the outskirts of Leeds (that everyone more local than me had either all seen before or never wanted to). Mark had to come to the rescue and get us heading in some sort of straight line out of Leeds and eventually the shat-nav realised I dont actually give it Sunday's off and sprung to life after its lie-in. I think it'd been out with my head-cam the night before ... It's a good job everyone was in good spirits and Mark helped get me back on track but I am worried that this will become to me what the Alhambra is to Mick! Woe the jokes to come! We were sorry Mark had to zoom off early for work after setting us straight on the route - I promise the next I do will be better organised like they usually are!
After numerous wrong turns and not-so-scenic circular routes around pointless villages we finally started making progress out towards Barwick in Elmet, Wike, past Harewood House (resisting the urge to call in and have a look at the VW show) and on to our first tea-and-wee stop of the day at The Old Spring Well pub near Harrogate where a lovely lady not only made Bob a cup of tea he couldnt find fault with, but brought us all a whole tray of biscuits to share!
The weather was glorious and everyone was on fine form bantering, catching up and getting to know our new friend Michael (Darby) who was on his first MAG rideout - I so hope I didnt put him off coming on another! He's a pro at U- turns now though!
Once simultaneously drained and refilled we set off north and promptly got stuck in a load of traffic going to the Ripley Show, but it was nothing that a decent bit of filtering didnt sort and we were soon safely past and enjoying the B6165 that passes through Bedlam, Burnt Yates (past the amazing Birchfield Family Dairies. N.B. Dont try to get your bike down their gravel drive but do call in the car for passionfruit cheesecake icecream which I managed to have planning the ride the weekend before!) and soon we were stopping to feed Kane's new hungry bike at the petrol station at Pateley Bridge.
Onwards through the lush green valley trying to get a peek here and there at the sun shining on the Gouthwaite reservoir; the scenery had all the makings of a Bob Ross landscape, only dampened slightly by the fact that the moorland road between Lofthouse and Healy had since last week had 'very' fresh chippings laid and we had to make very careful progress for quite a few miles. The scenery up there with the acres and acres of purple heather is really a treat if you can bear to look up from concentrating on what you're skating on and the plinkety-plink of gravel chipping chrome has become ingrained in my brain as the soundtrack to a memorable ride out ...(sorry Bob, clean your bike AFTER the ride out not BEFORE! Or just do what Terry and I do and dont clean it at all LOL).
After kissing the corner of Masham we hung a north-west and wound our way on to Hawes. The road was reasonably steady going as loads of folks were out merry making on the roads (even a string of Morgan's giving way to us crossing the twee Castle-bridge-thing over the River Ure) and we passed through some lovely little villages and might I add, what look like a lot of nice pubs!
Loads of bikes were out and by the time we were passing through Aysgarth we were in a decent procession with a load of other bikes. Needless to say, the top end of Hawes was jam-packed with probably every make of bike there's ever been! Getting parked up was a bit tricky and we ended up fairly spread out. Getting seated at the Penny Garth cafe was the easy part despite how busy it was and we all refuelled tummies and bikes as necessary before setting off over the moors towards Oughtershaw and Kettlewell. From Grassington we headed up to Greenhow hill and down the highly recommended Redlish Road and took the last left before Blubberhouses to wait for those that had got trapped behind a massive combine harvester! While waiting, those that were there admired the Menwith Hill golfball blobs while pretending we didnt know Sharon had nipped into a field for a wild-wee and Terry tried to help further steal focus by loosing his footing in a ditch and nearly face planting a wall.
It was decided by committee vote that the best way to end the day was calling at the Sun Inn at Norwood for a swift pop before following the sat nav on another somewhat 'novelty' route back through Leeds where I suddenly mis-trusted it and almost knee-downed it into an industrial estate loosing all the crew except Kane and Sarah!
Despite the odd mishap/hold up/sods law invervention everyone had a nice day with some fantastic weather and company! I do believe we all got home in one piece and no one is still sat on some random industrial estate in Leeds!
Chas was excellent back marker as always and thanks to everyone that came!
Wakefield MAG rideout person No.3