June 9th, 10th and 11th
I suppose I could have pulled a ‘sickie’ and joined in the spirit of the fun on the Friday, but I’m too honest so elected to ride up to St John’s Town of Dalry after work instead.
On arrival at work at around 8am I thought, my dip beam isn’t working. Damn, do I risk having no dipped beam all weekend, or should I be a good chap and find a new bulb? Again, honesty won me over, so my next debate was did I get one in York before I leave, or pick one up en route. The second choice won, so up to Leeming Bar services I went, of course they had no bulb. I rode towards Bedale and stopped at the garage just along the road, and bought a replacement, then set about fitting it. Well, BMW have excelled themselves at making fitting a new bulb a piece of cake for people with long, slim, flexible fingers. Mine unfortunately don’t fit into that category. I ended up enlisting the assistance of a young mechanic at the Mercedes franchise behind the filling station who did in 5 minutes what I had failed to do in the previous 20. I left there at 4.50, having spent about 50 minutes sorting the problem.
I realigned my route from there, aiming for Leyburn, Hawes, Sedburgh, and then the M6 to Gretna before taking the A75 via Dumfries. All went well until the viaduct west of Hawes at which there was a sign explaining there were road works in the way of my intended route so I had to divert to Kirby Stephen and then Brough. From there I would pick up the A66 and head west to Penrith for a brief halt and a refuel. Unfortunately unbeknown to me there had been a truck accident on the A66 which meant I had about 5 miles of filtering to do at a low speed which further held me up. So it took me almost 2 hours from Bedale to Penrith, and I left there at 6.50. A quick spurt up M6 for 30 miles or so in a little less than 30 minutes, and the A75 was relatively traffic free as well. I arrived in Dalry at around 8.15, checked in to the Clachan Inn, showered, and sat down to eat at around 8.45. Phew, what a rush.
The Saturday ride was scheduled to start at 9.30, and having had a disturbed sleep due to the oppressive heat the time was no problem. We set off to explore some lovely twisty little roads to Kirkcudbright for morning coffee where I was tempted by a piece of lemon meringue pie as well. Lovely it was too! Then off via more twisties to Girvan for lunch at a little café by the harbour. Ian’s mum, Joan, elected to try battered black pudding. Yes really! We later admired the view out to sea of Ailsa Crag, and the Isle of Arran before resuming our search for more twists. It was perhaps fortunate that England’s opening World Cup game was on at the same time – it was possible that Scots were of course cheering for Paraguay! – because the roads were lovely and quiet. We returned to Dalry in plenty of time for our evening meal booked for 8.15.
We had arranged to set off for home at about 9.30 again on the Sunday via a 240 mile route taking in some lovely roads in excellent scenery. I checked with Ian before we set off how long it would be to morning coffee. A good hour and a half was the reply. So off we set northwards before turning east and heading across to the Tweed valley and Peebles for morning coffee. The hour and a half proved to be a slight under-estimation. It actually took around two and a half hours! Was it a lunch stop? No, that was to be at Corbridge. I was hungry, so I had a bowl of soup, as did Ian Gates. An hour later we headed off to the A68 to head southwards at last. The 55 miles we had to go saw us split up considerably by a combination of speed cameras, and spasmodic traffic density added to many sections of double white lines. These factors conspired to give vastly differing overtaking opportunities, hence the group split. We arrived at the garden centre on the A69 around 3.15 for lunch.
An hour or so later we began the run for home via a very unusual route for me round via Spennymoor, eventually ending up at the services on the A689 at Bradbury where we said our goodbyes and thanks to Ian Scott for arranging what had proved to be an excellent weekend.