Lake District GB august 2004.

Sunday august 8

Time for yet another week on the Transalp, this time with Eugenie and having the Lake District as main target. We are aiming for days of relaxed riding on the smallest roads possible and maybe less relaxed hikes in the hills. I was satisfied to begin with, as this is my second motorbike trip this year.

We left home late afternoon, as IJmuiden is nearby. Considering that, we took the road along the coast to get there. Not a bad idea in itself, except is was darn hot and stopping at the traffic lights was a bit of a nightmare. In IJmuiden we had to line up behind the waiting cars, pushing the bike now and again as the queue progressed. Not nice in the heat. After receiving the boarding tickets we had to wait some more, this time in the shade and in the good company of lots of bikers.
Transalp waiting for the ferry in IJmuiden.

Not the Hilton type of accomodation...
Once aboard we fixated the bike and started looking for our beds. We had booked the cheapest accomodation, which turned out to be a small 'room' with these type of beds. As usual it was clean which was good enough. We cleaned up our noses and went looking for the restaurant as we had bought vouchers beforehand. At the reception we found out that everybody else had been there before, so our window of opportunity would come at 21.00, a long time to wait! Time for Guinness in the local pub!

Then it was time for dinner: a great Danish buffet. Lots of fish, salads, cheeses and cakes. We ordered a bottle of white wine and had several runs to the dishes. It was delicious, but as we started out quite hungry, I somewhat overestimated the volume of my stomach... This meant that I spent the midnight hour in the loo, trying to empty my stomach, all without success. Fortunately the rest of the evening had been pleasant, walking on the decks and enjoying the sunset.
Eugenie enjoying the sunset.

Waiting to get off the boat.
Monday august 9

Another buffet to start with! Lots and lots of food, but I preferred a light breakfast as I wasn't yet fully recovered. Eugenie enjoyed it much more than I did! We walked on the decks for a while and enjoyed the warmth of the rising sun. After a while we caught our first glimpse of GB, went to our cabin and picked up our stuff. Down (or rather up as we slept right above the engines) on the cardeck it was extremely hot, but after some waiting we set foor on British soil. At first we tried to navigate to the west by sun, but we ended in front of the tunnel heading south. After consulting a local officer we got better directions (avoiding Newcastle by going north, then west, south and west again), the traffic was stopped and we made our turn back. Shortly after that it started to rain, but even so after Hexham when we hit the smaller roads the riding was great. To escape from the rain we had coffee somewhere in a lovely Inn, sitting in the lounge on old fashioned sofas. Our destination was the George hotel in Keswick; we found Keswick easy but had more trouble locating the hotel. After switching from rooms due to a broken lock we headed into town where we visited the tourist office and bought a Lake District map. Later that night we had dinner in an Indian restaurant where the food was good and the wine too much...

Tuesday august 10

After getting up and dressed we realized our new digital camera wasn't there anymore. Thinking back we decided we left it at the Indian restaurant. Of course that would still be closed, so we packed our things and left the bags at the reception. Then we headed off for a short walk, which became even a shorter walk as it started to rain heavily. Back to the hotel for coffee and newspaper, checking the status of the restaurant every once in a while. When it opened for lunch we found out that fortunately our camera was there. Packed the bike and headed for Buttermere, taking the smallest roads possible despite the rain. Made a mistake riding up and coming to a fork: I found out a bit too late I should have taken the right hand of the fork, so braked and steered right. By then all speed was gone and as I didn't dare slipping the clutch too much on this steep and slippery slope we came to a stop and then started to slide back. Phew.. Found the youth hostel in Buttermere, dumped the gear in the kitchen and made coffee and tea. Then we took a 3 hour walk around Lake Buttermere which included a picnic in the rain. Despite the rain it was a very entertaining walk. After dinner at the hostel we enjoyed an nice evening watching slides with comments of a local ranger.

Wim making coffee and tea.

South end of Lake Buttermere.
Wet picnic in company of chicken.


Eugenie having a break after a hard climb.
Wednesday august 11

Sunshine ! Hurrah! We rode back to Keswick crossing the Honisterpass and after a short stop there to phone home rode east (direction Penrith) and then south the A5091 to Patterdale. We found the YH at the end of town, checked in, dropped our stuff and started on a tough walk across the mountains high above the Lake (Ullswater). It was very hot indeed and we needed the occasional break to regain our breath. On the top of our climb we stopped for coffee and tea and noticed the town of Penrith in the far distance. Amazing view. As we heard some thunder approaching we decided to descend, yet another major task. After a long walk down by the Lake we stopped for refreshments, see picture below. We were quite tired, not used to walking in the hills. Back in the YH we had a chat with a couple of Brits and a Dutch-Danish couple. It's amazing how may old goats like ourselves occupy the Youth Hostels; we seem to be surprised when we actually meet people under 25!

Looking north to Penrith.
Gathering new energy.


Thursday august 12

Rain... Today we left the Lake District and headed for the Yorkshire Dales. It was a beautiful ride and after a while fortunately the weather improved. As we again rode the smallest roads possible we had to splash through the water now and then as a result of the heavy rains, but that was fun as we were wet to begin with. Found the YH in Kettlewell, then walked along the river Dwarfe to Starbotton, but not before meeting new friends (scarecrow festival). We managed to get some drinks at the 'Fox & Hounds' in Starbotton just before closing time, enjoyed the sun and walked back to Kettlewell on the other side of the river. Coffee and applepie, dinner and bed...

Making new friends.

Wim leaving new girlfriends.
Again: collecting new energy.


Hawnby hotel, luxury at last!
Friday august 13

Cloudy but dry, so no need for raingear. First to Grassington to find some cash, but the banks equipment was out of service. So onward to Ripon where we finally picked up some more pounds. By then rain had started again, so we stopped in a small town for a beer and a cigar (SIX pounds! And that was the cheapest.) The B1363 took us to Helmsley where we took in some fuel, and then yet more nice small roads to Hawnby, the location of my favorite GB hotel. We got a very nice room at the 'stables', where we used the bathroom to warm up our shivering bodies. (Well, it wasn't too bad really). Made coffee and tea, had a drink and then went to the other side of the road for Guinness, wine and dinner in the posh dining room. Back in our room Eugenie was disappointed as the TV refused to show her the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, but later that night after some more drinks she cheered up again... p.s. of course we had a small hike today, shortly after arriving at the hotel. We couldn't live without them!

Saturday august 14

Nice breakfast and sunshine, so even though the week was coming to an end we left the hotel in good spirit. Crossed the nice North York Moors, beautiful area. Nothallerton to Richmond, where we stopped for icecream on the central square. The cancer fund was selling coffee and cookies in the City Hall, so there we had another stop. Had a nice chat with a nice gentleman, as many Brits well aware of his countries history. Then back on the roads north, Barnard Castle, Middleton in Teesdale. Found yet another YH in Langdon Beck, it's owner being a environmental freak. You couldn't take a leak without being reminded where the toiletpaper came from. Of course it was walking time again, this time we followed part of the Pennine Way along the Tee river. Very very pleasant indeed. We even saw the highest (or was it biggest) waterfall of England. On our way back we stopped at a kite festival for a while and had an icecream. Back in the YH we chatted with the only other guests present, a couple walking the entire Pennine Way. Dinner and bed.

Icecream in Richmond.

Nice little waterfall.
View over river Tee.
Contemplating last day before trip back.


Almost on top using adventure roads!
Sunday august 15

We didn't take any notes after saturday, yet this was another pleasant riding day. After leaving the YH we came onto what we thought was yet another small road, but it turned out to be a path that as we got higher up the mountain gradually changed it's surface from turmac to pebbles to rocks. Stubborn as I was (and still am) we pushed on, a daunting task for a heavily loaden 50hp bike. When we almost finished the track we hit a rock, and for one moment I was afraid the engine cases might have been broken, what a BANG it was. The last 300 yards were ridden solo, Eugenie disappearing in my rear mirrors. We had been riding for an hour or so but ended up no more than 3 miles from the YH!! Apparently the wrong way, but fun nevertheless. The rest of the ride was uneventful, good roads and good weather. Found the ferry quickly, and when dinnertime came didn't make the same mistake as last sunday... Holland welcomed us with rain when monday came, but by now we got used to that. A week to be repeated it had been. The combination of riding and hiking does suit our tastes well.