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Round Britain Rally Part 9

Transformers and Gales

We are nearly up to gold standard now and one more big push will get us there, there are higher awards to go for but gold is our target, the plan is to do the most northern counties of England and then cross the border and do some of the Scottish ones, so a fortnights holiday is called for.
September 27th and we are heading north after a late start, at Kings Lynn, crossing the new bridge I notice that the wind is picking up and I know it’s going to be rough crossing the fens, at Sleaford we stop for a coffee and are told the Humber bridge is closed to high sided vehicles, it’s decision time go on or go back, on wins. Some time later I’m wondering if we’ve made the right choice as it’s now driving rain and I can hardly see for spray as we pass lorry after lorry, we’re into Yorkshire before the rain stops but once it does things dry out quickly in the wind, including us.
At Oliver’s Mount we have to find and photograph the memorial to the great Barry Sheen and once done we do a lap of the circuit, well you have to don’t you.
I’m still grinning when we arrive at our B&B, a hot shower was never more welcome and there’s a nice pub nearby for a meal and a relaxing drink by the log fire, Heaven!

  Next morning the weather is sunny and bright but very gusty, as we eat breakfast the weather guy on telly says it’s going to get worse with heavy rain and gales gulp!
It’s Ryhope engines today, Tyne and Ware and not hard to find but only open on Sundays so we have to be content with pictures of the outside of the pumping station and somehow ended up with this lovely picture of Anne and the Revere

Picture 10 here

The wind is a problem now and I’m finding it hard to hold a reasonable road position, we haven’t seen another bike for ages, I’m only glad we’re not on the old K75 we wouldn’t have got this far, the sky is dark with rain clouds and we decide to run for our next B&B in the hope we can book in early.
We find it OK out in the wilds off the Consett Road a huge old farmhouse of what is obviously a working farm, one of the farmhands tells us to park the bike in the barn and shows us to the red room, a huge bedroom with a real four poster bed and the smallest on suite we’ve ever seen but it all worked and they had turned on the central heating for us as well.
Turned out the farmhand was a biker who’d just been to Spain for his holiday on his Yamaha 900 so he couldn’t have been more helpful, we went for a meal at a pub he recommended and got some provisions as the room had a fridge and tea/coffee facilities and we were not aiming to go out anymore that day.
So we watched old movies, wrote cards, route planed and dozed the rest of the day away.

   Next morning the rain had passed but the man on the box says there’s more on the way and the wind  makes it hard to walk alone ride and we realise we are not going to make Scotland, our next landmark is the Old Transformers and our biking farmer knows where it is and draws us a map.

we take our time over breakfast, have you seen the size of a northern farmhouse breakfast no wonder those farmhands are so big, then with the bike loaded we say goodbye and continue with our quest, the map turns out trumps and we find the landmark with no trouble, two sculptures - The Ironmaster and The Miner - set side by side and facing towards Durham. The artworks reflect the iron making heritage of the area and an inscription reads.

"The men who lived here dug into the black stone.
In giant huts they burned earth turning it into iron.
They turned the sky red.
A river of steel ran down to the sea and transformed into locos,
ships and machines which transformed the world"

Makes you realize that this great country was indeed built on the sweat of the ordinary working man laboring to feed his family, these were the transformers.

On our way once more heading for Corbridge and Aydon Castle the marks are mounting up and we will do as much as the weather allows, the castle is signed from the main road so no problem there then, Anne wanders off to stretch her legs and take a look at the castle, I elect to stay with the bike as it is threatening to fall off it’s stand in the wind.; We can still talk to each other as we have been trying out a two way radio system this trip not bad at low speeds but not much good over 50mph, so I’m sitting there talking to my imaginary friend or at least that’s what a couple must have thought as they walked by but then he took pity on me and came to have a word about bikes, that’s right yet another biker who had just returned from Stornoway that morning on his Enfield and advised me not to go north as the weather was foul and the severe weather warnings were out. Anne returned about then and he caught on to the radios and appeared relieved that I was not the local loony so that’s alright then, a bit more chat and Anne and I decide to do one landmark in Cumbria and run for home, we wave goodbye to our couple and leaning against the wind start across country through the National Parks and over the tops with wonderful views on a lovely curvy smooth road pity it’s so windy but at least it’s staying dry.

We arrive at Aylston and take a picture of the market cross on a steep cobbled hill then after a cup of tea and a scone we set out for Scotch corner and the A1M we have some 250miles to cover and it looks like the rain is going to hound us all the way.We arrive home at 7.30pm and still dry we’ve only stopped twice once for petrol and once for sore bum syndrome, it’s cold and the rain is just behind us but we made it, later as Anne checks her paperwork I hear her say OH-OH, what says I, seems she had brain failure and at Cumbria took a picture of the wrong thing, the market cross should have been a light railway station, never mind dear I say sweetly but I’m not going back, (see I know where to place the blame).




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