"The Three Peaks"
UK Drifter Owners Group
8th - 10th August.. 2008
Time, once again, to meet up with those jolly Drifter riders. This time I ventured to the Yorkshire Dales. Horton in Ribblesdale to be precise. Now seeing as my Drifter is now sporting a single seat, it means I can't carry all that much in the way of camping equipment, plus I was also taking a tow bar up with me( long story ). Time for plan "B". This involved a little green Moto Guzzi, which despite it's size has an amazing luggage carrying capacity. Having loaded the Nuovo Falcone up with all the necessary bits and bobs, I set off North. I took the scenic route through Lichfield, then on to Ashbourne, then past the Bull I'th' Thorn Inn - the venue for the "Three Amigo's Rally" - on past Buxton and into Glossop. The sky in front had now turned a rather nasty shade of "rain". Time to stop and put on as much waterproof gear as I could manage. Gore-Tex is a mighty fine invention - that and the Wellington Boot. I had to do a bit of motorway work to get past Manchester - on the Guzzi motorways are not much fun, couple that with not being able to see the signs clearly due to the rain on my goggles, add to this the fact that I couldn't read the map in the pocket of my tank bag due to water droplets, and as you can imagine those motorway miles were not without their moments. Having survived the motorway, I carried on . . . and so did the bloody rain. It never stopped at all. By the time I got to Horton the world was looking decidedly damper. I set up camp on what was now a rapidly flooding field. Some folks were well and truly waterlogged - they promptly upped sticks and left, and to be truthful, I can't blame them. Luckily ( or should that be "because of past experience" ? ) my camping gear is more than capable of standing a bit of water - so I found a spot that wasn't quite so pond-like and set up camp.
The only thing to do in this situation is to find somewhere dry and sit it out. As luck had it, there was a nearby pub - how fortunate. This pub also did a fine line in local ales. A pint of Black Sheep, anyone ? Most of the afternoon was spent inside the pub waiting for the rain to stop - the rain had more patience than us and carried on unabated. The poor washed out gazebo was moved to higher and dryer ground, and the site owner ( a truly amazing gentleman ) also allowed us to encroach into his "party tent". As with previous Drifter gatherings, Gino turned his hand to cooking - and before long a veritable mountain of food was prepared. . . . . Gino, you're a star.
Even after feeding, the rain continued. This left us no option but to return to the pub. Well, I can think of worse ways to spend an evening. As per normal, I had a Ukulele about my person - so the customers had a terrible choice. Sit and listen, in the warm and dry - or get away from the noise and get wet ? The third option, which involved the insertion of a small, guitar-shaped object, was never mentioned.
The rain did eventually stop - only to be replaced by very strong wind. Some poor souls had their tents completely waterlogged, then had to suffer the things blowing down on top of 'em. Due to the extreme weather, people were up and about well before five in the morning - just wanting to get packed up and get somewhere warm and dry. Once again, I can't say that I blame 'em. I packed things away by around half past eight and once more the little green Guzzi was fully laden. I called in at Settle to fill up with petrol - knowing that with such a large tank I wouldn't have to stop again. Just as I pulled up, I felt the clutch cable "snag". Oops - seems the thing is fraying at the handlebar end. Now I always carry spare cables, so I though I'd just carry on until the thing actually snapped and then fix it. That cable held all the way back home on just three strands. Of course, the first thing I did when I got home was change it. . . and promptly put another spare in the toolbox of the bike.
What can I say ? The weather well and truly put a damper on things, literally. There were things I wanted to see in that neck of the woods - the Ribblehead Viaduct, for one, but, alas it was not to be. Even the group run was cut short due to the rain. I dare say more folks would have turned up had the sun have been out - who can tell ? To the folks that organized this event, may I offer my belated thanks. I had forgotten just how beautiful that part of Yorkshire is - I can see me heading back there before too long, and who knows, there may be Drifters involved.