Only six of us actually made the 'Weekend in a Camping Barn in the Lake District' trip this year, as a good few of the regulars from other years had other commitments, but what we lacked in numbers, we more than made up for in enthusiasm.
Clare was there first on the Friday having used the weekend as the end point of her Scotland touring trip. Lorna, Pete & Johnno travelled up on the Wednesday morning but unfortunately, Pete had a spill en-route, coming off on a badly resurfaced wet road fairly close to the barn. He survived with nothing broken, and not too badly bruised, although his bike handlebars took the brunt of the spill and from one side resembled the Triumph Scrambler it set off as, but the other side resembled a Triumph Thruxton with Cafe Racer style bars. Still, it was rideable and not too badly damaged. Steve and Justine arrived at tea time, thoroughly soaked as it had somewhat persisted it down solidly from Skipton all the way to Keswick.
The location of the Dinah Hoggus Camping Barn, on the outskirts of the village of Rosthwaite in the Borrowdale valley, is simply stunning, in a valley looking out to high peaks, that hold the mist, the only noise is a nearby waterfall and the bleating Hardwick sheep who were our nearest neighbours. The old farmer who we had rented the barn off for the weekend for the last couple of years had unfortuntaly passed away in the spring, but his wife had taken up the reins and dare we say it, was looking after it better - it sported a fresh lick of paint inside and new bunk beds (although it is still somewhat rustic).
Once we were all settled down (and changed into dry clothes), we headed off to the local pub (around 6:30) for pub grub and several pints of foaming ale. Then we were back to the camping barn for more liquid refreshment.
Saturday soon came round and Lorna did the honours of preparing breakfast for us all, prior to us all getting the double decker bus into Keswick. This trip is like a roller coaster on the open top deck along narrow winding country roads.
A bit of a shopping expedition in Keswick then into the Bank Tavern for lunch (both liquid and non-liquid - the Cumberland Pie is heartily recommended). A bit more shopping, then a rendevous back at the Bank Tavern, for you guessed it, more foaming ale (it's a great real ale pub with 7 hand pulled brews available, most hailing from Cumbria as you'd expect)
We then had a trip into the local Booths supermarket and marvelled (literally) at the fantastic selection of wines and spirits they had for sale - well, what could we do, we had to buy some, it would have been rude not to .... we had really only gone in purely for breadcakes for our barbecue and some firewood to burn ;-)
Our bus journey back was accompanied by 10 Huskies and their owners (from the Yorkshire Husky Club).
Back at base, we fired up the barbecue for our evening feast, accompanied by (you guessed it), several pints of foaming ale. We were slightly disappointed that the firepit from last year (an old washing machine drum) had been removed and camp fires were no longer allowed
However, we had our own metal barbecue, so we improvised and had a rather nice fire in that instead, accompanied by lots of banter and hilarity before we all bedded down for the night.
Sunday morning came and Lorna was on breakfast duty again. Following that we gave the barn a good clean and tidy before getting ready to set off. We were relatively late setting off as we weren't sure whether Clare would be fit to ride back (she had caught a stomach bug in Scotland and had not been well all weekend), plus Pete needed to take it steady after his heroics on the Friday. A few miles after setting off we stopped for petrol and then Pete took us on a cracking route back to the A65 (a bit of a surprise as we all thought he'd just hit the easy M6 for the route home). We all arrived home safely later in the day after a simply brilliant weekend, with the Wakefield MAG family. Bravo. Whilst we spend lots of weekends away together, we are invariably marshalling at some event or other so it's actually rare that we are all in the same place at the same time, with nowt to do other than drink and chew the fat. What a great way to finish off the 'season'. A huge thanks to Pete for organising the weekend.
Same time, same place next year !!!