Pictures by Mike Scorer & Others, Report by Stuart
a fabulous Crankdown weekend in the Yorkshire Dales last year, it was
decided to repeat the idea but this time in the Yorkshire Moors and up
into The Cleveland Hills – what a lucky lot we are around here.
So our intrepid leader, Brian Slingsby
and his support troops in the guise of Simon Roberts and Gary Docherty
armed themselves with maps and Simon’s Rangerover and went ferreting
about to find us a worthy route, and find it they did!
number of hardy souls met at Harrogate for a Friday night camp, some rendezvous’d at the Royal Oak Inn the
next morning, but as the route came pretty close to my place later in
the morning, I wimped out and joined them as they passed my lay-by on
the Ripon Bypass nr Sharrow. It was a fine sight, as usual, to see the
convoy approaching, flanked by our 3 matchless despatch riders/
traffic managers on their Matchless motorbikes.
forecast was not too good and there was some promise of rain and cold
winds, so everyone had their hoods up and many had their side screens
and doors on too. Why didn’t I? cos I feel claustrophobic if I do,
and so I risked it ‘al fresco’.
off from Sharow, following various signs to Dishforth, Dalton and Sessay, on towards Hutton Sessay, Carlton Husthwaite and heading
for Coxwold. Quaint names for quaint villages, but only a means really
to get us up into the small roads and green lanes in the hills. It
always amazes me that you can put some vintage green army vehicles
into a little changed village setting and – hey presto, instant
wartime views, as though nothing had ever changed.
we were approaching Coxwold, we were up into the beautiful countryside
of the North Yorks Moors with its winding lanes and priceless views
and here we turned off the tarmac, through a couple of gates and onto
a track close to Newburgh Priory – as was. Because we in the MVT are
such an unusual sight, we never fail to get waves and smiles from
people we pass and so it was here, walkers and horse riders were all
in the best of humour and many waves and hearty hellos were exchanged.
was how the day progressed, through towns like Helmsley and Sproxton,
on roads, lanes and tracks to our lunch stop at The Royal Oak at
Gilamoor. Which is where we met up with some of the guys from the
North East MV Club, such as Phil Web and Tom Cunningham, who had come out to
dining on a communal spread of sandwiches and chips, we were off again
to Fadmoor and then onto an extensive green lane signed to
Sleightholme Dale. This tested our little green machines, but it
tested our intrepid trio on their two wheeled beasts more. Our route
planners had to admit with collective grins that the lane was a lot
drier when they had recc’ed it in Simon's Rangerover, but rain had
changed all that and the steep inclines and the ruts made by farm
vehicles and us, gave our bikers something to think about.
had to give and Colin Dixon’s bike slid from under him, pinning one
leg to the ground, his son Craig came to assist on his Matchless and
proceeded to pull the leg until Colin said something like ‘ no you
daft b….r, it’s the one UNDER the bike that’s the problem’.
Anyway, no harm done and with a little help, laughter and assistance
in lifting the bike from Mick Edmundson, the third biker, everyone was
envious of these guys on bikes, as they have the ‘brass neck’ to
ride out into the middle of road junctions, station themselves in
commanding positions and stop the ‘civilian’ traffic so that our
convoy can get through – how cheeky is that! And the ‘civvies’
usually go along with it in good humour because we’re such an odd
this time, we were up in the Cleveland Hills and despite a pathetic
try once or twice, the rain had held off. We were up in the Stokesley
area and headed off onto a little road at Chop Gate towards Carlton in Cleveland
. Along this lane was our stop for the night at ‘Lordstones’, a
camp site set almost as high up and as exposed as you can get around
here, just when that rain was starting to threaten properly and the
wind was thinking about getting up too. The views were pretty
it was out with the tents for nearly everyone, but there were some
that had other ideas and I for one had made other arrangements with my
caring and lovely wife. Whilst others were erecting tents in the most
advantageous positions as they saw it, I dumped my load of firewood
(for the common good) and parked up my jeep, hooked the hood onto the
windscreen and tied down the rest over the seats, securely as
that wind was threatening a little more.
done, I checked to see if I could be of any help elsewhere and was
extremely relieved to find that nobody wanted me – so I headed for
the bar/canteen on site, where everyone was headed. I just managed a
pint before my charming chauffeuse arrived and whisked me off for a
pub meal an open fire and a warm bed at home. I did have mixed
feelings about leaving the guys to their fate, but hey, we are talking
about a pub meal, an open fire and a warm bed!
back next morning, everyone was busy striking their damp tents and
packing up. I could tell by the pool of water lying on my roof/seat
cover that it had not been a dry night and my hardy colleagues
reinforced that observation, but they are a tough breed and were not
fazed or dispirited.
think the fixed menu of mincemeat pie, chips & peas together with
copious quantities of hand pulled beer in the canteen had helped the
night along, together with the bonfire that hey had managed to get
going despite the wet weather. I removed my jeep covering and folded
it into the back seat, a little choke and a push on the starter and we
were back in business. Falling naturally back into convoy, we left
Lordstones and headed off for the day.
our steps towards Chop Gate, we headed off towards Helmsley but turned
off on a narrow track towards Hawnby and some steep lanes upwards
eventually took us past Arden Hall and across Moor Top which was a
rutted track with gates – you never know how deep those puddles are
until you see the guy in front!
high up, the views were again spectacular before we started heading
down again through Kepwick village and on to Kirby Knowle. Pushing on
through the narrow lanes to Felixkirk and Sutton under
Whitestonecliff, our target was The Bagby Inn at, yes, Bagby for a spot of lunch. But, as they say, the best laid
plans – and all that, there was no room at the inn!
Inn it seems is a popular spot for Sunday Lunch and the car park was
full with little chance that the pub could accommodate a dozen or so
of us on spec. Most of the campers were not hungry anyway, such was
the quality and quantity of the breakfast meted out at the Lordstones
canteen and so it was decided to press on to Whixley and find
we were back once more in my territory and relatively close to my
home, I declined the drive south through the lanes and Aldwark bridge
to Whixley and instead bid my farewells and headed off towards Ripon.
by mixed feelings of leaving early and not seeing the trip to its
natural conclusion, I learned later, with a little sigh of relief that
the pub at Whixley was likewise too full to take our merry band and so
the trip broke up there. So I had not missed out on a final bite and
drink in company with my cohorts, and let that be a lesson to us all,
next year we’ll have to find that quiet pub as a final destination
– mind you, if it will welcome and accommodate us lot, will it be