Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

Home Travel StoriesSolo To Richmondshire

A Slow Pace Northbound

Ride Date 3 July 2021

By Ren Withnell

It is raining. The forecast not too subtly hints the rain will be torrential and yet I meander along the motorway in light rain that comes and goes. This isn't so bad, in fact I'm at risk of enjoying myself and we can't be having that.

I get on the A59 at Preston then turn off to Ribbleton then Jeffrey Hill. It is bleak up here, the gates to the big house bring to mind "Skyfall" from the Bond movie. It's nowhere near as grand but please, let me imagine. There it is again, somewhere deep inside of me is, regrettably, some joy. 

Looking over the bike and the hill it's cloudy, rainy and also quite impressive
The edge of Bowland is both grim and beautiful

It's around 1300. I don't want to be at the campsite too early as I expect there'll be little to do there. I expect I'll be sat uncomfortably in the tent and the rain, unable to even get online as there'll be no signal. Heaven forbid, I might have to listen to my own thoughts. Ahhh good, I've depressed myself once more.

Without the pressure of time I saunter. I take the lane from Dunsop Bridge to Quernmore. I recall the last time I was here was the first time Sharon and I met up and rode out after the first lockdown. The weather was better then but I've already forgotten what a pretty lane this is. Out of Dunsop Bridge a brook babbles in a valley and then the road meanders up hill and down dale, sheep wander and farmers farm. 

A stream cuts through the wet and misty valley just outside Dunsop Bridge
A lovely route through the small valley. Is there a risk of sun?

Quernmore to Caton and a brief stop at the layby where the bikers hang out. There's only one other rider today, a chap aboard a CB300R. He tells me he's recently completed a 1,000 mile ride around the UK, mostly wild camping. I'm not ready to question how he managed this in the non Scottish bits, it's non of my business. 

Onwards past Devil's Bridge onto the Sedburgh road. The weather has improved and while the skies are still heavy the warm temperatures mean the roads are drying well. I give the throttle a little squirt and the 500 responds playfully. It's like a puppy this thing, you know it's not as strong as a 700 or 1000 but it's willing and enthusiastic. I carve and swing around a little, whizzing past a sign for Dent.

Dent? Ain't that where one of the BATties suggested we could hold BATfest? BATfest, who the hell came up with that? Blooming readers, pffffft. Still, be a shame not to go and have a look wouldn't it. I turn around in a field entrance and follow the sign. 

Steeper hills and deeper valleys and a single track lane en route to Dent
Heavy skies but a drying road in the Yorkshire Dales en route to Dent.

As I approach the town (village... hamlet) there's a campsite. I thought it was only a caravan site but there before me are 5 or 6 adventure bikes parked beside their tents as well as several other family sized tents between the caravans. I later learn this is High Laning  Caravan and Camping site. The town is small and pretty with a pub and a tiny shop, very narrow lanes too. There is much merit in this suggestion.

I carry on through more narrow single track, keeping the pace down to avoid oncoming traffic some of which is not keeping their pace down. Save for odd very light random showers the weather is fine if a little grey. 

We Brits like to complain. We don't have the vast expanses of open space that Australia, America or Russia has. We don't have the biggest mountains or frozen tundra. There's no deserts nor any jungles. We many millions live on but a small island in a moderate climate. In spite of all this my lord there are some achingly beautiful places up and down this land. 

Hawes is familiar to me. I intend to stop at the Spar shop to grab a triangle butty but as I park behind I spy the cafe upstairs is open. Hmmm. Triangle butty and a bottle of pop leaning against the bike or sitting down on a real chair, a real bite of something and a brew? It's not like me to spend money but I'ma gunna treat mesen. A bacon and salad baguette, a brew and a real inside experience all for under a fiver. That'll do.

Metal steps lead to an open door where the cafe looks inviting
Inside, or outside? Oooh I am tempted.

I need to "nav-up" now as finding this remote campsite won't be easy. I put the phone in a clear plastic sandwich bag to keep any rain off. This works but it makes reading the thing difficult. 

Some fast open roads into Bainbridge then onto the narrow single track once more. It's quieter here, it feels ever more remote. I've no idea at all where I am as the digital direction finder seems to be leading me a merry dance. Steep junctions, gravel-strewn lanes and irregular clumps of stone built cottages come and go. I ramble along gently, trusting in Google and Motorola to get me there. The surroundings remain delightful but now with a growing sensation of feeling even more remote.

A steep single track lane rises up and wriggles up the side of a hill, grey skies all around
Where the devil am I? (www.google.com/maps/place/54°20'53.6"N+2°03'23.6"W)

Nun Cote Nook Campsite is as expected. A stone house with a field out back. Cut but unmanicured grass on an acceptably sloping gradient. 2 toilets, one shower, all functional but certainly not modern and fresh. A friendly greeting from the owner who takes my £7. A lady in a new large campervan expresses her disappointment to me but for £7 per person what do you expect? 

The teepee tent and the other campers in the field at Nun Cote Nook
My home for the evening. That'll do.

As I pitch the teepee a motorcycle arrives on site, an Enfield Himalayan. The owner tips me a friendly nod and after I've made my bed I walk over to say hello. David, or Dave, is thankfully intelligent, calm and welcoming. 

We talk. He's taking a course on meditation in Richmond. He's no new wave hippy with bangles or orange robes, he's a 57 year old professional photographer with an open mind. He gains much benefit from his meditation and non-religious spiritual learning. While I might not share all his beliefs it is delightful to be in the company of someone at ease and who's ego isn't running away from them.

I expected we'd talk for maybe half an hour. Yet the evening passes swiftly with talk of motorcycles and work, of our home towns Scarborough and Bolton and of much more besides. While this is going on random cheers and shouts come from other campers watching the football on projector TVs in gazebos. The rain comes and goes, light then sunny then mizzle.

I depart Dave's pleasant company around 2200, I try not to overstay my welcome and I hope I've not failed. Within the tent I find good 4G signal so settle in with a youtube video about quasars. Oh, I think I'll need my reading glasses as I can't read the diagram points on the little screen. Grrrr...

I expected to be sat uncomfortably in the tent in the pouring rain. I've had an interesting evening with an interesting new companion. I've enjoyed some countryside, ridden both fast and slow on the bike and now the sleeping bag is warm and dry. I regret to inform you dear reader, it's been quite a good day all in all.

Advertise here? Contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Escape From Ironman Facing a weekend of disruption Ren thinks it wise to be out of everyone's way. If only he could keep out the way more often the world would be a better place for all.
A Slow Pace Northbound It seems the weather and the solitude could make for a dull evening for Misery Guts. If we're lucky we can all enjoy Ren's suffering as he heads for Richmondshire.
A Slow Pace Southbound Everyone knows - including Ren - how Ren hates to be happy so this must have been another terrible day for our wandering plonker. He's even managed to not get lost - is there ANY hope?

Reader's Comments

Ross said :-
Thanks for that Ren, I could almost feel the rain and was wondering when to break-out my waterproofs! I 'clicked' your Google maps link to see where we were and, as I 'zoomed out' to get my bearings one of the first thing I see on the map, to the north, is Crackpot...quite so!! :)
26/07/2021 16:06:52 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
It all sounds lovely our Ed, even the trappist seemed tolerable.

26/07/2021 17:19:40 UTC
Bogger said :-
We can't be having you enjoying yourself. Somebody please upset Ren.

BTW I'm off to Dent camping this weekend. I'll be going on the old Beemer.

Not the posh site, the much better, cheaper site at t'other end of the village.

27/07/2021 08:21:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Ross - if you want to get the full effect you'll be needing a set of dirty oily waterproofs, don't have a bath or shower for a week or so, don't shave either. For a true immersive experience throw in some athlete's foot and saggy underpants and you'll be there. I've not been to Crackpot yet, not in the literal sense at least.

Salad Upt'. I'm afraid the bacon baguette thingy came with salad. Just because it comes with salad don't mean you gotta eat it. Hell no, my body would go into some kind of toxic shock if I accidentally imbibed some nutrients and minerals. Lard and sugars only for me thanks.

Bogger - I didn't pass the other campsite which is a shame. I'm guessing you've been before? Enjoy you're weekend squire, are you on your sweeney todd or with other reprobates?

Posted Image
27/07/2021 09:32:12 UTC
Bogger said :-
A few other reprobates M'lud.

28/07/2021 14:13:24 UTC
Andy Gray said :-
The road just to the east of that one (nearer Muker) is rather nice as well. It’s damn steep on the Muker side.
14/10/2021 22:59:20 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
They're all blummin steep and blummin nice around there Andy! I'll be seeing you in a few hours Mr Gray, bring some of your suvvern sunshine with you would you?
15/10/2021 07:41:55 UTC

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