Twelve of us on eleven bikes met at Stork Lodge Tea Rooms for our much awaited Tan Hill rideout. In addition to Steve, Justine, Gordon, Toby, Daz, Mark, Lorna and Allen, we were very happy to welcome along Lee, Richard, Neil & Gill from our buddy branch Barnsley. Sunshine and showers was the weather forecast for the day (and it wasn't wrong).
We set off at our planned time of 10:00 and rather than heading through Bradford on the A650, we decided to take the longer scenic route so headed out of Wakefield on the A642, picking up the A6120 Leeds Ring Road at Cross Gates. North of Leeds we took the A660 towards Otley and Ilkley, stopping in Ilkley for a smoke and toilet break, before picking up the A65 at Addingham.
Rather than stay on the A65, we decided to take the 'very' scenic route so headed towards Harrogate on the A59 prior to taking the B6160 towards Bolton Abbey and Grassington. This road has stunning scenery but as it was Autumn and large collections of fallen wet leaves and mud from farm traffic abounded, it was wise to keep the speed down and watch the road.
We stopped in Grassington to check out the route, then in true Wakefield MAG fashion, set off in the wrong direction (we don't have the nickname 'Lost Riders' for nothing !!!). It wasn't until we passed Stump Cross Caverns that we realised we were going in totally the wrong direction, but it was quickly remedied by an about turn in Greenhow Hill (Oh, how we laughed). Back into Grassington (again) then the correct (B6160) road this time to Kilnsey, Kettlewell, Starbotton and Bucken.
Again stunning scenery but the prior heavy rains had left the road flooded in a number of places. You quickly learned to NOT leave your feet on the footpegs when riding through the fords !!!
Whilst on this road we were also treated to a sheep dog herding display as a whole flock of sheep were being moved by the farmer from one field to another, along the B6160. The two sheep dogs were certainly earning their keep in dog biscuits that day.
Further along, we picked up the A684 towards Aysgarth and Hawes. By the time we hit Hawes it was nearly 14:00 and as the clocks had gone back to GMT on the Saturday night, we didn't have a huge amount of daylight remaining. We therefore decided to stay in Hawes and visit Tan Hill on another rideout (at a time of year when it wouldn't get dark quite so fast). In Hawes, we hit the famous Penny Garth bikers cafe for hot drinks and lunch (Lorna can highly recommend the Sausage and Yorkshire Pudding !!).
Purchases of the particularly splendid local Wensleydale cheese were thwarted by the cheese shop being shut.
Following our watering and nosebag stop in Hawes, we headed back on the extremely scenic B6255 & B6479, right through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, passing through Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Settle. The scenery here is stunning and a bike is one of the best ways of experiencing it. Past Settle we took the A65 back through Ilkley and Guiseley. Just near Leeds Bradford Airport, Lee's chain came off and jammed the rear wheel. Fortunately, this happened when setting off from temporary traffic lights at road works, so he was able to pull the bike off the road. Had this happened at speed, the consequences dont bear thinking about. Lorna made a quick call to Pingy, who, with Mo, came out in his Transit van to pick up Lee and his bike and transport him safely back to Barnsley. Pingy and Mo are absolute heroes for this act (lots of free beer coming your way on our forthcoming Christmas pub crawl !!!!). It later transpires that the chain on Lee's bike hadn't snapped, as originally thought, but had jumped off the back sprocket, exactly how still to be determined by Lee, but at least he has the bike home and safely in his garage.
Following our unscheduled stop, we made our way back to Wakefield on the A6120 Leeds outer ring road, past Pudsey and the White Rose Centre, arriving home at 19:30, after covering over 180 miles.
A cracking rideout, albeit, very cold and some of the showers were of monsoon proportions. We will be heading back to the Tan Hill Inn as we didn't quite make it on this occasion, but we might just wait until the Summer !!!!