We met Ian and Denise at the Shell Service Station at Sutton Maddock, they together with Dennis and Christine, Terry and Josie, Glen and Kris, and Rob and Colleen, had spent the morning travelling through several “shires” to reach us.
We jumped onto the back of the procession and wound our way through the beautiful Shropshire Countryside to the next coffee stop which was Ray’s Farm. Here amongst the chickens and cutest baby goats (just the right size to fit between two pieces of bread Roy said much to Denise’s horror) were Richard and Christine patiently awaiting our arrival. After a quick comfort stop, coffee and cake and lots of cooing over the baby goats, we were once more on our way. The sky was beginning to look threatening with dark clouds building on both the left and right of us, but Ian skilfully thread the course between them and we stayed dry.
At the lunch stop (more food) we met up with Joe and Izzy, at first we thought they had travelled on a pink scooter, as they were sitting by this colourful machine but their wing was hidden away around the back.
After lunch we head off south and the clouds were gathering, while we were on the M5 the heavens opened so we ploughed on through the rain until the Sainsbury’s Petrol stop in Exeter, here very wet, we stopped for fuel, lottery and a drink. Unbeknown to us, Jim and Ally had also stopped for fuel but decided to head on to their B & B as they were also wet.
The rain had eased by the time we left Sainsbury’s so we head through winding Devon lanes, with quaint cottages by the side of the road, up over the moors where we were amazed to see tiny foals snuggling close to their mothers, right beside the road. They appeared unfazed at a line of Goldwings crawling passed. The sheep grazing by the road were also used to traffic and again did not even bother to look up from their grazing.
By the time we reached the hotel we were more or less dry, here we met Edit and Rodger and Alan and Gill, who had arrived very wet earlier but were now catching up with a drink in the bar.
After a quick shower we were all in the Bar, including Jim and Ally, who were staying at a local B& B but joining us for meals, catching up on events.
After an excellent meal, Roy introduced the Poker Run, which we would be playing all weekend, so clutching our first card; we all toddled off to bed.
After a quick study of the local weather forecast (Sunday was going to be very wet) we decided that it would be prudent to swap the days around so we did the Sunday run which was a route into Cornwall. Ian’s route leads us through some very narrow, grass down the middle; steep hilly lanes with “interesting” sharp bend hill starts, a real test for the riders and passengers alike. Our first stop was Mevagissy, where the car park attendant, kindly allowed us to park together in the coach park and charged each bike a princely £1.00 for the pleasure. I felt sorry for the residents of the town as they had a boat fest on but there were very few people around as the weather was quite changeable. Sunny one moment wet the next. After a coffee stop, where some people despite the excellent breakfast had pasties and ice creams!!! We were then back on the bikes and rode through the winding streets of Mevagissy up a very steep hill and on across the Cornish moors, the weather was improving the sun was out and roads dry. We passed quaintly named Cornish villages e.g. Chip Shop!! On our way to Port Isaac, (where Doc Martin is filmed) as we neared the town, Ian and Denise, went ahead to investigate the lane which stated “no access to Port Isaac” this left the lead bike with no CB, so after a few minutes we all followed Ian down the lane, Roy was hoping it would go through as turning 11 Wings would be very interesting as the lane was so narrow. As luck would have it the lane did lead to Port Isaac, straight through the middle of the little fishing village, so as the procession of Wings went through the people scattered and waved, I think they thought we were an organised parade.
The car park was at the top of the hill, bikes were free, so after parking up we all walked back down into the town, along the cliff top path/ What fantastic views over the brilliant sapphire sea with white sea gulls soaring and wheeling above, there were small caves in the cliffs inviting the images of pirates and treasure The whole town was lovely and we noted the important places Docs House, the school etc from the series. It was refreshing to see that they had not turned it into a Doc Martin theme; the town was very much as original.
After lunch we climbed back up the hill to the bikes, by now the temperature had risen and the skies had cleared, what a beautiful day. Even Roy managed to make the climb without too much fuss; he was clutching a pasty to eat later although he had had a decent lunch.
Now we were off to Boscastle, the site of the fearful flood in 2004. Again the weather as warm and sunny so we were surprised to see hail stones along the side of the road?? We must have just missed that down pour. The roads were quiet and views spectacular.
At Boscastle, after parking the bikes people scattered to have a look round, there were few reminders of the flood, and to have the promised Cornish cream tea. Rodger and Edit beat everyone to it and were soon demolishing their tea. quickly followed by Ian, Denise and Roy. Glen and Kris were busy looking at the Witches Museum, while Joe lay down by Izzy, doing a bit of planking and look for all the world as though he had passed on (see picture).
After cream teas, more ice creams, we mounted the bikes and wound our way back to the hotel, ready for another meal, drinks, more cards for the Poker hand, chatter and bed.
SUNDAY- WETTER THAN WET
We had really made the right choice to go to Cornwall on the Saturday, Sunday was WET, the rain was pouring down. After breakfast some of us decided to carryon with the planned ride out (fools!!) Rodger and Edit chose to stay at the hotel and use the spa treatments on offer, Jim and Ally decided to call it a day and leave for home instead of on Monday. Alan and Gill decided that the Eden Project may be drier than Torbay and headed off to see.
As the rest of us mounted on the bikes, it was noticed that Glen’s rear tyre was flat!!, Thank goodness we were not on the top of Dartmoor in the rain, so once more the puncture repair team clicked into action. A hotel large table umbrella was utilised as a shelter, Roy started to work on the puncture and Ian finished it off (Roy’s strength was fading, that’s the second time Ian has beaten Roy in a strength activity!!!). Soon the puncture was repaired and we were all on our way.
The rain was lashing down as we head up over the moor, we could hardly see anything, luckily the sheep and ponies had more sense and were not over the road. We passed by the grey menacing Princetown prison and even that looked quite welcoming in the torrential rain. Our first stop was Badgers Holt for a welcoming coffee etc. We were all soaked. Luckily the venue was almost empty as we draped dripping clothing over chairs, well away from the dripping ceiling which seemed to be a problem for the building. It was horrible putting the wet jackets and helmets on again, especially as some of us were wet through to our undies!!!. Wet knickers are not my favourite articles of clothing!.
We headed on towards Torquay, the rain had not eased at all, as we descended into Buckfast, Ian warned us all over the CB of a very flooded road, just past the Axminister Carpet Factory. Not everyone heard, as Dennis and Christine ploughed through the flood, the water soared above them, like a log flume ride and then proceeded to run back over and cover the both, Roy and I riding behind them had never seen anything like it nor had Rob and Colleen who were in front of them and witnessed it in the rear-view mirrors, Dennis (new nickname Neptune) and Christine were drenched!!! Laugh we could not stop, even Christine was shaking with laughter or was it because the cold rains gushing down her neck?
The rain was still heavy by the time we reached Torquay, not the best place in the wet. Luckily we found a multi-storey car park, which was free for bikes with a very helpful attendant who lifted the barriers for us.
Cold and wet, wringing out clothes we all scattered to find food and warmth. Colleen went in search of dry clothes, and bought new jeans and waterproof trousers, there was no mention of undies, so did she go commando?
The Pound Shop did a roaring trade in latex gloves, to wear inside the sodden riding gloves. Once more onto the bikes, at least it was dry in the car park and back to the hotel, the weather was easing but we were still very wet on arrival. Even though the weather had been miserable we all had a great laugh and a great day out.
At least the rooms had radiators so the wet clothing was draped around to dry and after a hot bath, life was rosy once more.
Alan and Gill had also found the Eden Project very wet, but well worth a visit, Rodger and Edit were very relaxed after massage and pilates all day.
After dinner Roy completed the Poker Run, with Ian holding the winning hand. He was presented with the winning prize a bottle of whiskey, but as he and Denise was off to Portugal the next day he kindly shared the bottle with everyone else. Dennis ( Neptune) and Christine were presented with blue and pink , his and hers swimming goggles ready for their next trip through a flooded road.
After another excellent breakfast, we set off home; some following the planned route some making their own way.
It was a really lovely weekend; the hotel was up to it’s usual high standard, excellent food and accommodation. Ian’s trips, although he did not know the area, were delightful, and of course as ever the company of fellow Elite members was priceless.
Roll on Scotland!