Finally I’ve put together a short summary of the first part of this trip I took in the summer. The second part will come along soon.
I think this has to be a holiday of two parts. Things have opened out. It was good to get away from my last site. It was fine but it was austere in a way that was partly to do with the wild almost constantly wet weather but also to do with the atmosphere on the site. The owners were friendly enough and a young very hard working couple but there was some thing tough and minimal about the way the place was run and about the anecdotes they told about previous campers who underestimated the harshness of the environment.
My Bluetooth stopped working yesterday – it suddenly spat out some instructions in European languages and then died. But riding away this morning in cool and brightening skies felt liberating. The weather definitely helped. It seeps into the spirit – whether good or bad. And then the route I chose through the North Yorkshire Dales was amazing (see the GPX file below), first south and then to the east. It was almost the best I have ever ridden. Up there with the road alongside the Mosel. There were sheep on the road, at one point a great flock of them driven from one field to another by a farmer. And when you see a sign saying that 22 motorcyclists have been killed on that stretch of road you know it must be good. And the bike rode so well today. Movable across the road and into corners so easily just by shifting the weight of my thighs on the seat.
The route became lass spectacular as it got closer to the dividing line of the A1, but still enjoyable and by the time I reached Tesco in Thirsk, about 10 miles from the campsite I was staying at, it was warm, very warm. But morale raising treat number three (1 was the lovely route; 2 was the change of weather and 3…) is arriving at Baxby hideaway campsite. It is everything that the last two were not. So what were the other two like? The first was municipal, part of a national park, run by young employees; the second was a small family run business and campsites like this always reflect the personality of the owner – relaxed or fastidious or points in between. Baxby Manor was, I suppose a corporate run site, a well-invested business. But with very clear values about the environment and, on this occasion, about Covid-safeness. Using the washing space has a specific protocol involving changing into indoor shoes, hand washing and carrying around a piece of tissue to wipe down anything you touch. The reception person clearly shared those values and seemed genuinely welcoming. Its a large site divided up by thick (beautifully planted) borders and bushes into amazing spaces.
I had booked ‘The Sanctuary’ which was reached by a footpath around a small field, then through a gate into a dark wood of silver birches and another walk to my own small field, surrounded also by trees so that the nearest other tents are just about invisible.
Oh and one side of the space is made up by a babbling brook. So there are fantastic private spaces. I have a whole stream side clearing in a wood to myself. Camping is usually exposing but here there is privacy. The facilities, as I mention before, are also amazingly clean and newly refurbished I would say large too, in fact a pleasure to use unlike first site where I often kept my eyes closed while using them.
I have hung my huge jacket and helmet on a tree feeling confident about the weather for the first time on this trip. It’s just gone six in the evening and there is no cloud in the sky. I have a log to sit on by a fire pit with flat rocks to prop up my gas stove.
What would make it perfect would be having my bike here by the tent to admire and tinker with.
They even have a kiosk that serves pizza and breakfast.
Just for completeness, here are the last stages of the journey home, to be fleshed out later:
I slept poorly on the boat,
in fact I slept badly for the whole trip! Gathering down on the very lowest deck as the boat came in to Portsmouth was a nice opportunity to chat to the others with bikes.
They were a pleasantly friendly and interesting group which restored my positive feelings towards bikers. There were at least 4 other 1200gs bikes there including the new water cooled model which its owner was very pleased with though the electric suspension turfed him off the bike when his pillion got off for the first time, he said. We made it up the very steep ramp and then I sped out of the port and up onto the motorway and up the A3 to the M25 at a really good pace. The bike’s fuel gauge has not been its strongest feature and it is on its third one since I’ve owned it. Telling me I had 66 miles left, then 68 then 72 miles should have made me stop for petrol but I thought I could make the next stop apparently 25 miles away. But of course I ground to a halt by the exit to the M40 and had to be rescued and re-fuelled by the RAC – the first time I have called them out.
I also learnt that 40 minutes of leaving the ignition on to keep the hazard lights flashing drains the battery to a point where it needs an on-hand RAC person’s charger to get the engine going.
When riding in the rain in Spain, water leaked into the tiny hole in the GPS screen (caused by me dropping it a couple of years back). So the route only starts from after I filled up with petrol near Uxbridge and is inaccurate.
Coming home at EveryTrail
Eventually, after stopping for something to eat at South Mimms on the A1 – which seems more like a business meeting centre than a motorway service station, I got home by 4pm.