Saturday 27th May 2017
A Ride to Alston by Mick Birchall
Quite suprising what can be had for a 50 minute trip up the M6. So it was that myself and 8 others set off from a layby just East of Penrith. Not exactly sure of the parcour we were all suprised at how quiet and flowing the roads turned out to be. With a bit of a helping wind, taking the B road heading North East, we breezed through many small villages, Great Salkeld, Lazonby, Kirkoswald, Croglin, Castle Carrock finally cutting East just shy of Brampton through an oddly named hamlet of Talkin, eventually meeting the A689. We then headed further Eastward where upon meeting the South Tyne river, proceeded South along the peaceful undulating valley toward Alston and lunch. Practicing some strange acronymic (made up word) for an order system, the waitress' procceeded to get the beans order mixed up, also thinking the D.C written on ordering was a decaf coffee rather than the diet coke requested. However all was eventually resolved without loosing too much humour and with Paul Whaley finally making an appearance and Adam and Glenn cutting back over Hartside we set off one down, heading further South on the B road over Burnhope Moor. Note to self here, don't forget your gloves at the brew stop, the catch up into a head wind on an exposed moor will eventually kill you. Fortunately, for me, Nev had pity and came back to drag the lost soul back to the flock. With sky's looking moody it was more head down and share the load eventually dropping down into Middleton In Teesdale. From here another B road took us up and over Lune Moor with fine views of Selset resevoir and the valley below. A regroup at the top and we flew down the fantastic 8 km descent down into Brough. With a quick refill of fluids at the local shop we continued on the final leg of the journey and a relatively flat return to Penrith. It was around about here the heavens opened and the final 20 miles through Warcop, Appleby, Cliburn were done head down and without too much chat. I think we all agreed it was a memerable days riding on some fantastic, quiet, rarely trodden roads. Thankyou Northern M6 for making this so accessable.