Thirteen of us met at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms on Sunday 14th June, for our monthly rideout. Our destination was the Tan Hill Inn, Britain's highest public house, in scenic Arkengarthdale, in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Avid followers of Wakefield MAG's exploits will note that this was our second attempt to visit Tan Hill, with our last (aborted) attempt in October 2008, getting no further than Hawes.
We were very pleased to welcome along Lee from York MAG, and Mark from Huddersfield MAG on our rideout. Toby (who had planned the route) was elected (if that is the right word ?!!?) to lead the rideout, Martin was back marker and Steve and Igor floating marshals, to mark junctions and make sure the group didn't get split up en-route.
We set off on schedule at 10:00, and took the A642 out of Wakefield, through Stanley, Oulton, Woddlesford, Swillington and to the Old George roundabout at Garforth, where we picked up the A6120 Leeds Ring Road. We continued on the A6120, skirting round the East side of Leeds, before picking up the A61 at Moortown. We followed the A61, through Harrogate and to our first scheduled stop at Ripley Castle, at 11:15, a distance of 30 miles. We were to meet Gordon here, who living in York, had decided to meet us en-route. Gordon was still moving house that morning and hadn't set off until 10:45, so it was with some spirited (Ed: yet LEGAL !!!) riding, he met us at 11:25.
We continued on our journey and promptly took a wrong turning at a roundabout onto a minor road instead of staying on the A61. One of those moments when as soon as you are committed you realise immediately you have taken the wrong turning .... DOH !!!! A quick U turn and we continued on the A61 (technically not getting lost of course, more a detour with style !!!).
We took the A6108 towards Leyburn and our second scheduled stop. The weather was sunny, warm and dry so the ice cream van in Leyburn market square did a brisk trade.
Following our ice creams, we took the B6270 from Leyburn towards Tan Hill, and through some quite stunning scenery. This really is a marvellous road, single track in places with a couple of hairpin bends to make life interesting. Also making life interesting were the numerous sheep at the road side, looking at any moment like they were going to sprint in front of moving bikes to commit suicide. As we headed nearer towards Tan Hill, the temperature was quite noticeably falling, and the sun disappeared behind dark clouds. We arrived at Tan Hill at 13:30 ...... cue rapturous applause, Wakefield MAG had finally managed to get there !!!!! Set in magnificent scenery, as well as being England's highest pub, it also must be one of the remotest with nothing for miles and miles around. Despite it's remoteness, it was packed with fellow bikers, hikers and families out for the day.
We enjoyed the facilities, drink, food and splendid panoramic views, eeee, it meks tha proud to be a Yorkshireman !!!!
We said hello to the friendly sheep (that obviously thought it was a dog),
and had our obligatory group photo.
It also started raining, and judging by the tracked snow mobile, the weather up there can get quite hairy at times.
Looking down the valley, you could see that only a mile away, it was still glorious and sunny.
Time to head back after an hour or so, and we retraced our route home, with the group getting split into two in the Harrogate one way system, with half heading back via Wetherby, and half via Leeds.
A thoroughly cracking rideout was had by all, we covered around 170 miles, and we had finally put the bogey destination to bed !!!!!
Although, not everyone was as excited as we were to finally get there ......