There were e mails flying backwards and forwards as to whether the weather would be suitable for biking, but it being the coldest March for ages, with thick snow, heavy frosts the decision was taken to go in the cars!!! The first time in 12 years we have resorted to cars on a biking weekend.
Joe, Izzy (getting around well after her op) Mike, Netty, Rick, Françoise Roy and I had booked the Premier Inn in Rotherham for the Thursday night. We had a great gathering for dinner, where Terry (who had booked the table) Josie, Ian, Denise, Alan, Ann, Jim, Jill, Dennis and Christine all joined us for a meal and to help me celebrate my birthday
Next morning we met up at MaccyD’s with a view to following the planned routes. Spencer and Debbie had raced up from Redditch, that morning to join us on their first Elite Weekend, in a car!
We followed in convoy, but it was not so easy without CB but somehow we all managed to meet for lunch and coffee stops and arrived en masse at the hotel.
Graham and Jean had also arrived after doing battle up the M62 with 50mph speed limits and accidents making their trip very enjoyable?
The hotel had laid the dinner table out in a horseshoe shape which made it very business-like and I wanted to call order and run a meeting!! The food was excellent and there was lots of chatter as people caught up with old friends.
The weather was bitterly cold with a sharp north-easterly wind blowing straight across from Russia. After breakfast we decided to share cars, and Spencer and Debbie had the pleasure of Roy’s driving. Although Spencer did keep saying he wished he had come on the bike, I don’t think it was Roy’s driving I think it was because it was nice and warm behind the glass in the car, which gave a false impression of the outside temperature.
We again followed the planned routes and first stop was Berwick. Here Norman had travelled down (in his car) through snow storms to meet up. Ireen had taken the sensible option and was looking after their Grandson. We split up to explore the town of Berwick with its fortifications and sheltered harbour. Then it was back in the cars to visit the Holy Island. The timings were tight as the tide covers the causeway very quickly. Some of us decide to walk to the castle from the car park, three old men ( Roy, Ian And Mike) decide to re-enact a scene from “ last of the summer wine” by sitting on a bench, wrapped up to the nines and eating ice creams!! After a good look around we were back in the cars and off to Bamburgh, as we did not want to get marooned on the island until at least 8.30pm
At Bamburgh Castle we me up with Alan and Ann, who were doing their own thing that day. Ian negotiated a group rate, which was not easy with people wanting senior rates etc.!!. The castle was very impressive and we spent the afternoon looking around and enjoying welcome cuppa. Terry particularly liked the Museum which was full of engineering stuff, and could have cheerfully spent another couple of hours looking around,
It was then back to the hotel, for dinner and the evening quiz which was won by Rick and Françoise with Jo and Izzy coming in second!! Denise presented them with their Easter egg prizes. Joe and Izzy, and Josie was getting everyone prepared for the Poland trip by offering out Polish vodka, which did not suit everyone taste
Denise, as the Easter Bunny, welcomed everyone at breakfast with an Easter egg, which made some of the other guests stare!! Again it was dry but bitterly cold, so as people wanted to go to different places, we did not all car share. We went Alnwick, the home of Harry Potter. Spencer, Debbie, Graham, Jean, Rick and Françoise decided to stay for the day and look around the gardens and castle. Ian, Denise, Alan ,Ann, Mick, Netty, Roy and I decided after a quick coffee in the Tree house and a walk on the wooden suspension bridge to head off to Cragside House, the home of Lord Armstrong – Victorian inventor, innovator and landscape genius. I have to say it was warmer outside than inside the house, I felt really sorry for the poor ole NT guides standing in the freezing cold. Joe Izzy, Terry and Josie decide to explore the town of Alnwick and the famous bookshop with the toy railway running round the walls.
Once again it was back for a meal and again the quiz was won by Rick and Françoise with Joe and Izzy second, I shall have to try and find some questions they cannot answer!!
The Polish vodka made another appearance but once bitten, twice shy, some people decided to steer clear. I am not sure what is going to happen on the Polish Tour, wish I could be a fly on the wall and watch them!!
The weekend was over , time to go home. Roy and I were first down for breakfast ( I know a first for us) but we wanted to get home so Roy could play golf! Surprising how fast he can move when he wants to.
We had a lovely weekend, being the car did not cause a lot of problems. Ian had worked out some lovely routes, which we would like to do again on the bikes when the weather warms up a bit.
A big thanks to Ian and Denise for organising the weekend.