Great Langdale 2004
Boltman & Catabolt
The Oop norf ride (
or oh my god its further than Belgium)
The day started well, left work at 08:30 for the first rendezvous on the M4 at Newbury services, I arrived to
find Wolfie ( who was going to be the last one there) already filling up at the petrol pump.
This already had the makings of an upside down sort of day, the postings on the web site gave some rough timings
to the meeting points DaverMax arrived quickly followed by Iceman, a quick coffee, photo and a chat before heading
off on the great adventure.
Our first schedule meet was
at Stafford where we hoped to meet VmaxPete. The journey was pretty
past the first services at 16 miles, second at 55, with me leading, I thought “I’m sure the next services on the way
must be within Vmax range”
How wrong can you be?
We were arriving at the M6
toll road when Iceman pointed out his petrol light had been on for two miles
and the next services 18 miles away ! Told the guys to have a fag and got the trusty GPS out of the bag, GPS tells
us there’s a shell petrol station 5 miles away, GPS gets cable tied to the handlebars and off we go, took the boys the
scenic route through the leafy town of ( alright I got lost ) Back to the roundabout and eventually found the garage
everybody breathes a sigh of relief and fills up, another fag for the addicts and off we go again “ I muttered
something about 60 miles in thirty minutes, easy”
Shame I never considered that M6 permanent feature…. Traffic. The four of us were practising for a bit part in our
favourite movie Mad Max, bike appearing and disappearing from my rear view mirror appearing beside me in front and
eventually behind again, Stafford services arrived in no time, well forty minutes to be exact, we arrived to find Pete
sitting on the grass enjoying a coffee and a fag. We all filled up and joined him, another quick photo set the trusty
GPS to show Lancaster.
97 miles from Stafford I
tells them hour and a half should do it, we won’t be too late, Hmmm
Forton services is only 86 miles from Stafford so when we arrived after Wolfie and I had showed the guys just what
loud pipes are useful for, if you don’t move over for us we’ll deafen you type of thing, cos we didn’t want to keep Stu
waiting. There were a few moments when our braking and language techniques were tested to their limits but we did
arrive in one piece, and what a nice surprise was waiting for us.
At the pumps we met no less
than Stu, DelVmax, STMP, Carlos, Dave Brez, Satyr and Beefy along with Elaine,
Jackie and Ruth.
“Good thing you arrived when you did said” STMP “they were about to charge me rent” ! I’m sure he wasn’t indicating we were
late just that he had arrived far too early. The Weather here was scorching, Everyone commenting “if it stays like this….”
Famous last words
Greeting’s to everyone, more fags and a concerned look from Dave Brez, he had oil on left side of his rear wheel, it looked as if it
were coming out of the shock, some fervent bouncing up and down, we came to the conclusion that all the oil would be gone by now anyway,
Hmm wrong again.
It would seem Dave had
changed his rear wheel and was just after “the most troubled journey award”
Stu led off three more junctions up the M6 and then off to the A690, travelling at a brisk pace, my nominee for outrider of the year
Wolfie, spots that we are a bit light on numbers and slows us down to a stop about 30 miles from Ambleside, he explains that we are
losing the back markers and a quick count up reveals that we are missing Dave Brez and Carlos.
Stu turns round and heads
back to find, that its diff oil that Dave is losing and when he reaches Vboost
speed the oil starts spraying
out, after a few frantic phone calls ( and plenty of fags for the addicts ) Stu returns and its agreed that Carlos will cruise with Dave
to try to preserve what little oil is left in the Diff.
Off we go again Scorching
weather turning into clouds as we approach our goal. Thundering through
Ambleside Waking the dead and
annoying the living we arrived at the new old dungeon ghyll to be greeted by a staggering sight.
It was GTB staggering about muttering “been here since 12” with nothing much better to do than drink, he well got drunk
Decisions were taken the
camper folk decided to visit the National trust Camp site and pitch tent then
come back for beers. This was
where our fun was about to start in the shape of an impersonator, Basil Fawlty had nothing on Campsite Colin Wolfie, Iceman, STMP,
Daver, VMtrike and yours truly were able to set up camp, annoy Campsite Colin three times and be told in no uncertain terms to F**k off of his site.
Some gentle words from
Wolfie and I (and a few choice ones from Iceman) got our status changed from
homeless to Colin’s Campsite cohabiters.
It wasn’t to stay that way
Still, back to the old new
Dungeon and the watering hole known as the Sticklebarn Inn. When we arrived it
was time to start the merriment
GTB was even worse for wear so lots of hairdresser, rubber band, where’s the engine jokes about Geoff’s MR2, sorry VR6, sorry MX5
( if MX still stands for Mazda Experimental does that mean they’re still trying to get it right) or is it a strange way of saying one thousand and fifteen ?
All Geoff kept telling us “ just you wait until tomorrow, when it’s pi**ing down I’ll still be dry…..
There was plenty of drinking and laughing and drinking and eating, you get the picture, the beer was excellent, the food was too, there were
more arrivals during the evening. The highlight of this evening was decided by Wolfie and Iceman deciding that the Sticklebarn staff were
being so nice it would be a good idea if they were asked if we could collect our tents and belongings and set up home in the field at the front of the pub.
The Sticklebarn manager, Mal told us Campsite Colin was always being an arse and invited us to go back and fetch our gear and that we
could use the field fee’s dependent on us getting our money back. A couple of taxi rides on the Trike of Martin ( still not too keen on
travelling backwards) and a hasty exit from Colin’s accompanied by a refund of all our money, then the best part a bunch of half cut
bikers trying to set up tent in a concrete car park painted green to give the appearance of a field. Reminder for next years event take a
jackhammer with us to drive in the tent pegs. Once the tents were all up it was back to the drinking.
Saturday, woke to the complaints of all the field dwellers complaining about the loudest snoring ever heard, think it was a competition
between Wolfie, STMP and Kay, I don’t know what they were on about I slept through it all.
The weather was playing into GTB’s hands alright, it was miserable. No one wanted to put a time on the rideout because it was still raining,
I think we finally decided at about eleven to make a move.
DaveBrez had called it a day and called in his trusty pick up truck to whisk him off home, suffering from a bad case of knackered Diff.
Dave was gone before most of us were fully awake. On the way back to the fuel stop in AmbleSide we met Wolfie and Iceman who had
been out shopping for a new tent, apparently Iceman was fed up with his bike getting wet and decided to purchase a vmax portable shelter.
Pretty soon we were all fuelled up and heading for Kirkstone pass, with the weather getting real bad, visibility down to about twenty feet at
times the pack of bikes started to get split up, I was following a yellow max which I had never seen before taking it real slow, I thought to
my self either this fellow knows exactly what’s ahead or……..
A couple of times, I and
some others thought about passing but backed down and continued to follow the
line, when we arrived at the car park
next to the kirkstone pub which fortunately for us had no alcohol license, (great !) I met a chap called Paul, who had owned his yellow max a
total of two weeks, and was found by complete chance at a petrol station in Ambleside.
Another story about Paul
There was a brave lad
standing in the mist and rain playing the bagpipes, I think his mum was showing
him what dedication was, “I’ll sit here with
my mac on, you stand there and play the pipes in ye kilt son.” The young lad was persuaded to stand with us for the group photo and many
contributions were made to his Wee bucket. It seemed a bit strange that when mum said “go on then play a tune” everybody was jumping
back on their bikes and making ready to leave, that is all except Jane. Everybody Buggered off to leave Jon searching high
and low. Being a real gentleman I decided to wait for Jon & Jane.
When we got going and started descending the weather started to clear, and within a few minutes we could see the tail enders of the group,
Hmm not bad I thought we’ve caught up quick, only to realise the majority of the group was stuck behind a bus (I’m sure Paul was happy for a
time ) By the time we were approaching Penrith the weather was clearing fast, a noisy approach left us all arriving at Martins pub being
greeted by Janet pointing the way to our special lock in area.
Yay Beer more food and more
people Rusty had arrived and was doing his impersonation of GTB “ been here
After lots more eating, drinking and talking, people were starting to sample the local delights of Penrith with almost everybody sampling the
shopping delights. Got to talking to Paul again and his bike was given a bit of a check over, tyre pressures and the like. I had decided that
I was going back across the Pass but I would be including a couple of roads I had encountered only a few weeks before, I invited several
people to join me in my quest for fun !
We bid Martin and Janet farewell and all went our own way. I met my trusty followers at the petrol station, Wolfie, Iceman, Moe and Kate
, Jon and Jane and bravest of them all Paul, “Hmm I did make myself clear didn’t I” “I did tell everybody we headed for a road called the
struggle” thought I.
Maybe Paul had new found faith after we had all told him that Vmaxes do go round corners. Well the weather cleared up quite nice and
there we were, six bikes backtracking across the pass, I indicated with plenty of time for the struggle, which on a bike should be
renamed the rollercoaster. As you turn the corner the road drops off just like the top of the rollercoaster and you can see this winding,
snaking, up down left right tunnel of fun. As we shot off I could hear the screams of delight from wolfie and Ice, quickly followed by
the thought “ Oh my god I bet Pauls shi**ing himself” About halfway down there was a bit of a traffic jam ( 2 cars couldn’t decide how to
get past ) so we all stopped for a breather. Paul got off the bike and thanked me for feeling bad for him, Wolfie and Ice behaving like
little kids can we go again, can we, can we ?
No say’s I we’ve not
finished yet. Off we go to another tiny village this one called grasmere to find
another peach of a road called Red Bank
, Red Bank is completely covered by trees and unlike the struggle was still very wet, this slowed our pace somewhat but we still had lots more
fun, when we reached the end of the road it was about five thirty and a poll was taken, shall we go again or Beer ?
Beer won by a short head.
And we all returned to the
watering hole. It was decided that we would have our “quiz” for quiz read
mental torture outside the New dungeon
Ghyll. If this had been an individual event I may have got one right, I was lucky to be in the team of Moe the quiz specialist, who new all the
answers to the pre war questions, and Kate with her super hearing, picking up the odd muttering from around the tables, with all this in our
favour we had a chance.
Yes NO CHANCE,
Winner of the esteemed
quizmaster of the Langdales went to team FGT.
Next year I want STU on my side,I’ll stand a real chance then !
Off to the Sticklebarn for yet more beer more people and more food.
The Raffle and auction in the hands of the Bolt Cousins was sure to be a winner.
Throughout the day people were arriving and I am sure I never got to speak to them all but there will be next year,