Tattie Wine rally
Are you sitting comfortably? This just may take a while. Me being an idle sort of a git, I've decided to combine the rally report along with the fun and frolics of the weeks before and following the rally.
Now, cast your mind back to this time last year. The infamous Tiger Coloured Trike ( TCT ) managed to finally wear out it's gearbox, which meant I had to use two wheels for a change. Well, the TCT is all back up and running following a gearbox rebuild. The full horror can be found HERE. Now the plan was to use the TCT and head for Porlock for a few days. All went according to plan up until I went to start the TCT. Oh dear - it seems as though the battery is dead, which was a bit odd for a good quality battery less than three years old. I'd got fed up of buying cheap batteries that only last about eighteen months so I'd spent that bit extra and bought a decent one with a three year guarantee - and yes, I still had the receipt for it. Rather than mess about taking it back to the shop, I bunged a spare battery ( the original one from off the Ford trike ) on and loaded up the trailer ready for the off.
My 'partner in crime' on this trip was Andy, a fellow Moonshiner, aboard his rather jolly black and yellow 650 Ducati.
As per normal, we decided to take the scenic route, rather than the boring motorway. The motorway is all well and good for getting out of the 'urban sprawl', but tends to be a bit monotonous after a while. It was during one of these monotonous moments ( around junction 4 on the M5, if you must know ) that a sudden thought struck me.
" I don't remember packing the stove " -- " Hmm - do I turn back, it's only about ten miles or so - or do I carry on ? " There again, I remembered taking all my stoves into the garage earlier in the year and giving them all a good clean and service. Did I put my petrol stove back in the panniers ? Ah bugger it . . . . carry on, if the worse comes to the worse I'll have to buy another stove. As it turned out, the worse did come to the worse, and I'm now the proud owner of at least five bloody camping stoves. That'll teach me to be more careful when loading up. I blame it all on the flat battery fiasco, what with all that flapping about changing batteries I clean forgot just what it was that I went into the garage for.
Having left the motorway, we crossed the river Severn at Holt Fleet and headed up and over the Malvern hills, then followed the river Wye past Tintern Abbey before crossing the Severn again on the rather unimaginatively named "Severn Bridge". There again, the 'new' bridge has the even more unimaginative name of the "Second Severn Crossing". Who thinks of these ? A few more miles of motorway, and a fair bit of A 39 later and we arrived at Porlock, just in time pop into Porlock Hardware and purchase a stove, which was duly put to good use in the making of a curry, which is one of the things that I didn't forget, unlike the 12 volt extension lead for my camping light which was still sitting in the garage some 150 miles away. Ah well, I can manage without it . . . let's head for the pub. Whilst wandering pub-wards we happened to notice four bikes parked outside one of the village's other pubs. Must be staying bed and breakfast there, we thought. Dare say we'll see 'em out and about over the next few days.
Now if there's one thing that Porlock is famous for it's the hill. "Porlock Hill" it's called, probably named by the same person who thought up "Severn Bridge". Like it says, it's a hill, and it's in Porlock, and if there's one thing that just has to be done with a hill, it's ride up it. So we did, and stopped somewhere on the top to take in the view.
The view in this case being that of a tiger coloured trike parked up there, besides, it was still too misty down by the coast for any decent sort of landscape picture.
Now it happened that on the road that leads away from ( or towards, if you're going the other way ) the hill there was a fellow pointing a camera at a couple of bikers who were covering more ground on one wheel than they were covering on two.
"Probably journalists for some bike magazine" said Andy - and indeed that's just what they were. Performance Bike, or something similar, if my memory serves me right. Never having a bike that was endowed with anything like performance, the significance of such a magazine was lost on me.
Whilst standing admiring the view, we were accosted by a young lady with a somewhat bright pink hairstyle. It seems the bike journos had omitted one item from their itinerary. They had four bikes, which was useful seeing as there were four of them. They had one cameraman and one car for said cameraman. Now the difficult bit as far as the cameraman was concerned, was how to both drive the car and take photographs from out of the boot of the car at the same time.
" Would one of you volunteer to drive for us ? " asked the young lass. . . . which is how Andy came to end up driving back and forth along the road for a while.
Why didn't I volunteer ? Simple - the temptation to hit the brakes would have been far too great, mind you, it would have made for some 'interesting' photographs if nothing else < evil grin >. The one thing I did learn from all this - never buy a bike that's been used as a 'press demo'.
We left the performance bike lads and lasses to carry on in peace, whilst we carried on to Lynmouth, then on to Coombe Martin, via the Valley of the Rocks. We got back to Porlock by early evening, and the intrepid performance bikers were still up there having their photographs taken.
We rounded the day off with a leisurely walk around the village.
One thing did strike me as odd. Why is there a beaver painted on the church gate ? Maybe there's more to Porlock than meets the eye.
Of course, the evening saw us in the pub once more. The performance bike crew were there so we spent an hour or so looking at the photographs. I take my hat off to the cameraman, there were some splendid shots there. I think I'd best stick to beaver shots ( Ooer Missus ).
Thursday morning, and time to head back and get prepared for a journey in the opposite direction. Once again we decided to use more "A" road than motorway. The weather was nice and kind to us, which is more than can be said for my throttle cable. I thought it felt a bit 'notchy' and I was correct. Right in the centre of Bridgwater it decided to break. Luckily the TCT will still pull along even at tickover, so I just pulled off the road and fitted my spare cable. There are some things that you never forget to pack ( famous last words ), and spare throttle cable, clutch cable and fan belt are amongst them. Twenty minutes later and we were back on the road again. This time we used the A46, rather than the A38. This road runs more or less parallel to the motorway, and gives some splendid views over the Vale of Gloucester. The one way system in Cheltenham proved to be interesting, but for all the wrong reasons. Still, we managed to escape, then used the motorway for the last 25 miles or so back home.
That was the first 400 miles done and dusted - at least we would have one night at home before setting off again on Friday.
Tattie Wine Rally
At least nine Moonshiners had booked to do the Tattie Wine rally.
Pete and Ollie had been involved in a car accident, with Ollie still in hospital with a broken pelvis - so they were unable to make it.
Ade and Di had to drop out too, due to Ade catching some kind of kidney infection.
"CX" Dave had buried his bike underneath all the rubble and rubbish of house renovation, he decided the bike couldn't be dug out so he too dropped out.
That left Kella,(1500 Gold Wing) Andy,(650 Ducati) Roy, (Metro trike) and myself.( Ford trike ).
Now Roy had started a new job the week before, so he was unable to get the Friday off work.
That left three of us to make a move on Friday, with Roy joining us on the Saturday.
I had changed vehicle and was now using the Ford trike, which seems to have been christened "DOT", on account of the registration number being D 183 DOT. Maybe I'm starting to think like the person who named the Severn Bridge ?
Once again the plan was to take the more scenic route and avoid motorways as much as possible. We headed out towards Lichfield, then along the A515 up to Ashbourne, where we encountered a slight delay due to road works. Petrol was the order of the day next, and would you believe it, we didn't pass any petrol stations. This was getting serious. There's no way I would make it much further. As luck had it, we managed to find the local supermarket and petrol station in Chapel-en-le-Frith. DOT had literally run out of petrol just as I pulled up, that was too close for comfort. We decided to stop for dinner.
It seems there are far too many petrol stations closing down these days, they just can't compete with the lower prices that the big supermarkets can offer. This is useful thing to remember - better to fill up fifteen miles early, than run out half a mile too late. One of the drawbacks with not using the motorways I suppose.
Having filled up, both in the food and the petrol sense, we carried on North. Well, sort of North. North-ish.
Sheffield was the next large town we hit - and we hit it just as the Mosques were turning out. Traffic chaos ensued, and, just to make it even more pleasant the sun came out and promptly roasted us. Boring or not, I made for the motorway - anything to get us out of there and moving again. An uneventful few miles along the M1, then along the M62 saw us heading for Selby along the A19. The sunshine that had roasted us earlier had now turned to ominous black clouds, and just as we left the M62 it started to rain. We pulled in to the side of the road and dug out our waterproofs. Luckily, the rain only continued for the next ten minutes or so.
The next little niggle was the ring road around York which we hit at around the rush hour.
Once again those black clouds seemed to be in front of us, and sure enough, about five miles from Thirsk down came the rain. Serious rain. Rain with attitude. The sort of rain that floods the road and causes cars to stop with drowned ignition systems. Considering DOT has got exposed ignition I was quite surprised that it never missed a beat. Now due to the rain, and the amount of surface water, we were down to less than thirty miles per hour, which was a rather fortunate, because the next thing I knew was someone had tipped a few hundred gallons of water down my neck. It seems I didn't see the flood, or to be more accurate, I didn't take into account the trike's rear wheels. The wheels threw the water up and forwards, and what goes up must come down, and come down it did - straight on the back of my neck. I thought me poor old ticker was going to stop. Talk about a shock. The rest of the journey was uneventful, I'm glad to say, and we finally arrived at the rally site . . . some eight hours and 240 miles from when we started. I still don't think Kella has got over the ride - Gold Wings are much happier on motorways.
We set up camp, and I started preparing something to eat. Now I couldn't forget the stove this time seeing as it's built into the 'dog kennel' - so I did the next best thing. I forgot to pack the curry. Now to me, curry is as important as throttle cables and the like, so I always carry a spare. One beef curry, albeit Chinese style, later, and all was well with the world.
We wandered over to the barn, where most of the rally activity was taking place. Beer at a quid a tin, and one-thirty for Newcastle Brown seemed reasonable. The food was admirably taken care of by "Nibble's MCC" - who had a converted double decker bus as a mobile kitchen. Very impressive, and very reasonable prices too.
Ah - seems they have a website --> ( Did have a website - not there now - link removed )
One rather nice Triumph chop caught my eye - very minimalistic, even to the point of no noticeable front brake,
but nicely 'sorted' non the less. I did have a look for the same bike in daylight, but never found it.
Saturday morning. Andy and myself decided to head into Durham for a nose around, Kella decided to stay on site and wait for Roy to arrive.
Now Durham is only about eight miles from the rally site, even I couldn't find a tortuous route there. I've never been fond of cities, as such, but I found Durham to be a most enjoyable place. Decent architecture, a most excellent market, real cafes selling real food, and even a statue of a bloke on a horse. I have a theory that it isn't a cathedral that determines a city, it's a statue of a bloke on a horse.
Having done the 'tourist bit', we made our way back to rally site - just in time to meet Roy. He missed all the joys of flooded roads and such. ( Oh if only he knew what lay in the future ).
Back to the rally - the silly games were just ending, pillow fighting on a plank. For some reason it seemed to end up in a free for all water-bomb fight. That's how I like to see rallies - folks playing silly buggers in the name of enjoyment.
True to their word, the Moonshiners had improved on last year's toilet facilities, and around mid-afternoon a strange looking machine arrived, and by means of some device which resembled and elephant's trunk, sucked the contents of the toilets into a large tank. We sat there pondering on what 'other' uses we could find for such a machine - believe me, you don't want to know. Shall we just say that if the machine can suck to fill the tank, then surely it can blow to empty the tank - the possibilities are endless. Moonshiners talking crap again - nothing new there then.
Once again the lure of the bar proved too strong to resist, and we spent a few hours sitting outside and talking with the fellow who owns the rally site. I've no idea what time the disco finished, or the beer stopped flowing, but I ran out of steam long before they did.
Sunday morning. Another Tattie Wine rally over. To me, it didn't seem to have the same atmosphere as the last two Tattie Wine's that I've done. There wasn't anything specific that you could put your finger on, but there seemed to be 'something' missing. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the rally, I even enjoyed ( in a perverse way ) the ride up there, despite the 'mishap' in the floods. Maybe I'm getting old ? To the lads and lasses of the Moonshiners - thanks, it was a most entertaining weekend. Here endeth the rally.
The rest of the week.
It didn't take long to pack up and take the road across the Yorkshire Moors to Whitby, stopping for the obligatory cuppa somewhere along the way. I can see why the police are getting a bit over zealous in this area, those roads are ideal for biking - sadly they are also ideal for getting killed on. Still, I don't think they'll have much success pointing a radar gun in my direction - not today anyway. I can't see me approaching 'eeek' miles per hour whilst towing the 'dog kennel'.
We managed to find ourselves a nice little corner of the campsite, set up camp, then headed down into Whitby and the local supermarket. It will come as no surprise to learn that I had curry for tea.
Now seeing as the campsite is at the top of a hill, the getting to Whitby is fairly easy. You stroll along as far as the Abbey, then take either the 199 steps down to the town, or the less strenuous 'Caedmon's Trod'. Just who was Caedmon, and what had he trod in, will remain a mystery. Oh, all right then, he we are . . . . .
Caedmon:---> A cowherd at Hilda’s abbey, the shy Caedmon was always terrified when, in Anglo-Saxon style, the harp was passed around after dinner. Caedmon always fled back to his cow byre rather than be humiliated by his inability to sing. One night God asked him in a vision, “Will you not sing of me?” Caedmon broke forth in a beautiful song to the glory of his Creator. Hilda recognized the cowherd’s talent and encouraged him.
So, it seems that Caedmon was a bit of a musician who had a thing about cow sheds - I reckon I can guess what he trod in. In keeping with the Caedmon tradition, we just happened across a pub that had a few musician types playing there - in ending with the Caedmon tradition, I joined 'em. Hilda, it seemed, did not recognize my talent, but there again, she didn't discourage me either. Being fit, healthy, active, we opted out of the uphill walk and took a taxi. There's no point in being fit, healthy, active and stupid.
The next few days were spent exploring the various back roads that make up the North Yorkshire Moors - of course we just had to find the odd steam train.
Today's plan was to head South, well, sort of South-ish, until we came to the Haberdasher's Arms, a delightful little pub that we often use. This time we would be using mainly motorway, M62 and M6. Shall we say that the next 197 miles passed without any hassle, and by late afternoon we arrived at the Haberdasher's. The weather now had turned to that horrible humid heat that you get before a good storm. I opted to set up on the shady side of the field. The oppressive heat made things most uncomfortable to say the least. By now there were the ominous rumblings of approaching thunder - at least it would cool the air down I though.
Roy and myself decided to head into the town of Newport for some essential supplies ( i.e. curry and the like ) so off we went. It was still stiflingly hot, so we took the no jacket approach, which although stupid on a bike, ain't quite so bad on a trike. Newport is only about five miles away, and the closer we got, the blacker the sky became. Those clouds looked like they meant business, wet business. With the town centre less than half a mile away, the sky fell in on us. There was no warning, no gradual rain tuning heavier, this just descended in seconds. I managed to stop, grab my gore-tex jacket and throw it over my head, holding it out and looking for all the world like some kind of bizarre human bell tent - then just stood there unable to move without getting soaked. The rain came down even harder, the gutter turned into a stream, the stream turned into a river. Traffic stopped. Lumps of ice now came down mixed with the rain. Still I stood there, arms outstretched, trying to keep most of my lower body from getting soaked whilst the river that was once a gutter flowed merrily over my feet. 'Hmm - wonder how Roy's getting on' I thought. The rain abated a little - just about enough to climb into my waterproof trousers. Good job it was still a warm day - I wouldn't like to have encountered rain like this in November. Roy had done the same as myself - just pulled over as soon as the rain struck, the main difference being that he didn't have his waterproofs with him. He was wetter than an otter's pocket. Ah - the joys of biking.
We covered the last half a mile or so to the main supermarket in town only to be met by a security type official who pointed out that the shop was closed for major refurbishment work. Oh bugger - all that rain for nothing. Luckily there was a Quik-Save or something next door, so we wandered around the isles, or to be more precise, we squelched around the isles like a pair of human slugs leaving a wet trail behind us. Keep away from that salt counter.
The journey back to the pub proved most entertaining. A few sections of road were now under about a foot of water, so it was playtime. Let's see how big a bow wave a trike can produce. If nothing else, it gave the underside of my engine and gearbox a good clean. By the time we got back, the sun had once more resumed command of the sky.
It seemed as though half the club had decided to join us at the Haberdasher's - so the rest of the weekend was spent between the field and the pub. Three local musician types were playing in the back room, so once again I joined 'em, and taught 'em the true meaning of 'suffering for your music'.
On leaving the pub Saturday night, after drinking only one pint may I add, I failed to see the step leading up and promptly fell flat on my face. Luckily there was no one watching.
There we have it.
A nice few days spent down Somerset, on the TCT.
A splendid rally up in County Durham.
A few days by the sea at Whitby.
A relaxing weekend at the Haberdasher's.
Some 'interesting' weather.
Just over a thousand miles covered, with minimal breakdowns.
Yes - I'd call it a good time.