Chasing the Sun – East Coast to West Coast Ride Report

It was part titled ‘Chasing the Sun ‘ … and we did, most definitely! PLEASE NOTE  – The weather was great throughout this four-day Bank Holiday ride out.

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Who was involved I hear you say? John and Wendy Ottaway, Zenon Krafft and June West, Steve Moxey and Geoff Clough. The Bikes, GSA LC, GS LC ,GSA air cooled and RT air cooled.

It all started with a meet point at North Oxford services for the run to Skegness
(with the chance to bluetooth routes between the various BMW Navigator V GPS). The chosen route gave us the ideal opportunity to visit two sites from this years BMW Club Photo Competition.

First stop:  Queen Eleanor’s Cross at Geddington, timing was luckily just prior to the local school children tipping out. N.B. We gave the immediate Ford crossing a miss here … best saved for another time.

John photographing the Eleanor Cross!
John photographing the Eleanor Cross!
Bikes at the Welland Viaduct
Bikes at the Welland Viaduct

Second stop: The Welland Viaduct. Finding a good photo spot took a few attempts. The ride from the south though showed the viaduct in all it’s glory, a very impressive structure.

Arriving at ‘Skeggy’ there was a bracing wind to accompany our later short beach walk. We then did what all holidaymakers do: Fish and chips followed by a few pints of the local ale,  a grand start to the trip!

Having a good time in Skeggy!
Having a good time in Skeggy!

We had a later off than planned the next morning for the main ride. Leaving the Fens, with a long view of historic Lincoln, before stopping for coffee at a handy McDonalds. Here June, obviously still suffering from the previous nights shenanigans, had a stumble which resulted in two half -turns and a pike, before crashing into a metal surround railing. Think ‘man size’ cheese grater vs back of the head. After we had awarded points for style and technical excellence there was a delay for first aid, and a sneaky photo! Fortunately June was OK to continue. Immediately following this a wrong turn separated the group into two halves.
Geoff had taken Wendy for ‘pillion practise’ (Kidnapped more like!)

Crooked Spire, Chesterfield
Crooked Spire, Chesterfield

A phone message was made to rendezvous at the next via point in Chesterfield’s ‘crooked spire’ church. We managed to park very close by near true Rutland Inn. It was simply stunning close to the church in the sunshine.

Into the Peak District National Park and a short stop at Eyam the Historic Plague village, Wendy was in the olde ‘stocks’ at one point. Hummmm chance lost.

Wendy in the Stocks at Eyam
Wendy in the Stocks at Eyam
Plague Cottage Eyam
Plague Cottage Eyam

After this we stopped for lunch at the famous ‘Cat and Fiddle’ PH … plenty of bikers about.

Cat & Fiddle Pub
Cat & Fiddle Pub

Pushing on some, past Chester and to the ‘Ponderosa Cafe’ on the Horseshoe Pass, arriving just as it closes! Doh ……..still back up plan was coffee in Llangollen (Wendy remember to buy John a new watch for his birthday…please!).

Then into Snowdonia National Park passing the twisties alongside Bala Lake and down into Barmouth itself. Some were staying in a beachfront B+B whilst the others were up the hill in what locals call the ‘cardboard castle’. Both very pleasing. Steak and wine in celebration that evening. Overall a fantastic variable ride , and the achievement of doing this East to West coast in the day (note from participants John’s leading and guiding was excellent!).

The next day we made a visit to Portmeiron, another historic village, and famous set location for ‘The Prisoner’ TV series filmed in the sixties starring Patrick McGoohan. Some good coastal riding as well.

The ride home was scenic and occasionally narrow and winding. Into Rhyader for our coffee and swooping A roads to Abergavenny Bus Station for the local biker meeting point which was very busy on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday.
Here we discovered Steve had a ‘screw loose’ ( …. his GS I mean had a small oil leak) it was part fixed with a torx key.

Finally, through the Forest of Dean and then home.

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Author: John Ottaway

GSA rider.

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