Out and about …

… in deepest Northumberland.  Another series of monos from recent walks and motorcycle journeys. The first set is from Colt Crag Reservoir – from Wiki – The reservoir was built at the end of the 19th century for the Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company. The reservoir forms part of a series of reservoirs along the A68 which are connected by tunnels and aqueducts from Catcleugh Reservoir to Whittle Dene from where drinking water is supplied to Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, and some surrounding areas.

In the image of the Boat House the bird in flight is a house martin – again from Wiki – One of Colt Crag’s main attractions are the great crested grebes, and there is also a colony of 20-30 pairs of house martins that return each year to nest under the eaves of the boathouse.

Three small figures in a landscape

The Boat House

The Dam

 

The second set is from Bewcastle, a place I last visited in March 2018.  On that occasion I was riding a Yamaha MT-09 Tracer.  This time I was on a BMW 1250 GS and there has been an F850 GS in between.  Do I possibly have a problem 😉

Bewcastle Cross

St Cuthbert’s Church

Free at last …

It was inevitable that my resolution to post once per week on WordPress would eventually come unstuck.  That was predictable, the last eight weeks less so.  Cooped up for so long, it was also inevitable that when a hint of freedom appeared, all other priorities would be thrown to the four winds.  On 13th May it was finally decreed safe to ride motorcycles again, although not over the border into Scotland where the restrictions remain.  I have lost no time in clocking plenty of miles, some menacingly close to Reiver country …

The GS at Crindledykes

To Bamburgh

In Bad Company

At the Air Museum (closed)

Do it again …

In the mornin’ you go gunnin’ for the man who stole your water
And you fire till he is done in but they catch you at the border
And the mourners are all singin’ as they drag you by your feet
But the hangman isn’t hangin’ and they put you on the street

Northumberland in Mono

This set of images were all taken within a 1.5 mile radius of our home – I know this for certain because I haven’t ventured outside this geofence since 24th March.  Hexham is a mystery to me now – the Good Wife has taken over responsibility for all socially distant shopping, mostly because I cannot be trusted to buy organic.  Any consequential savings I would spend on chocolate or similar.  Nevertheless, I am not complaining, I seem to have slipped into this secluded life all too easily.  The only thing I miss desperately is getting out on the motorcycles which, as any rider knows, is just self-isolation at speed.

Lean on me …

Always keep a-hold of nurse

Beaufront Castle Lodge …

In a big county …

The entrance to Fern Hill Farm

Five-bar Gate …

Do not disturb …

Another gate above the old kennels, Beaufront Woodhead.

The impression created by these images is of a country life continuing as usual, uninterrupted by world events. Isolating has also meant not listening to ‘news’, keeping socially distant from statistics and mortality rates but, just occasionally the bubble is burst. Peter Turnley’s images portray an entirely different, distant, monochromatic reality:

 

Compensations

In our fifth week of lock-down, I realise that this week we should have been staying in a coast-side apartment at the western end of Swanage.  I was looking forward to revisiting Studland, the Poole Harbour ferry, Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs, familiar places I have known from my earliest years.  Instead, we remain in deepest Northumberland – we should be grateful – many would consider this a holiday destination and the weather has been glorious.

Had we been away, we would have missed this – drawn outside by a golden light falling on the trees to the east of our home, we were treated to this spectacular light show across the Tyne Valley.  There are many compensations for staying at home, out of choice or otherwise

The beginning …

… the middle …

The end.

Locked down …

… but, fortunately, so far, not locked in.  We are very lucky, living in the wilds of Northumberland.  For the most part it just feels like an extended winter without the temptation to take a motorcycle out on salty roads nor play golf on water-logged courses  In some ways, life is almost simpler.  Lacking other inspiration, here are some images of the neighbours who don’t seem to have got the hang of social distancing:

Ewe mucky kid …

Here’s lookin’ at ewe kid

Ewe don’t have to say you love me …

Don’t look back …

The local longhorn …

A last ride out …

… probably for some time, unless I start shopping for essentials on two wheels.  These were taken yesterday, on a trip into Northumberland designed to avoid almost everyone and everything.  Hexham to Cambo can be done via B roads and from there it was a circular trip around Harwood Forest.

From door to door it was exactly seventy miles and I hardly saw a soul – these roads are empty, virus or no virus.

Wallington Bridge

Harwood Forest

Harwood Forest – somewhere near the ‘U’ in Rothbury

This final image shows the railway bridge to the left at Scots’ Gap and the converted station buildings to the right.  Sited about midway between Redesmouth and Morpeth on the Wansbeck Railway, the line closed in 1952.  According to Disused StationsThe station opened as Scots Gap on 23rd July 1862 being renamed Scotsgap in October 1903. The station was poorly equipped as a junction with no branch bays and a single platform on the down side. The station building was solidly built of local stone with a stone signal box at the east end. The station had two parallel loops with two sidings on the north side. There were three short spurs, one serving a locomotive turntable. The outermost siding served a goods platform and cattle dock and a goods warehouse.

Scots’ Gap

A dog’s life …

We have been dog-sitting these last two weeks – two golden retrievers with eyes that could melt hearts.  The younger was nine months and the elder four years – a teenager and a sensible grown-up.  Junior was into everything and was a constant source of irritation/entertainment – delete as appropriate.  Sadly, the weather was thoroughly miserable throughout their stay.  This didn’t constrain their activities, it just made life harder for the sitters – I had forgotten just how much work is involved in drying and cleaning a dog after winter runabouts and this was times two.  Needless to say, I fell for both of them but, especially junior – that said, now they have gone home, it is quite nice to have the house back and I am not missing the 7am walks:

Do not disturb …

Resting between walks

Feeding time – a serious business

Brotherly love

Bed time for the youngest

Too early one morning

The Open Road …

… it has been a quiet week in Beaufront Woodhead.  Spring appeared to be on the horizon so I was spurred into action, replacing the battery on the Scrambler and taxing it from 1st February.  It was 4th February before I was tempted out, making the most of a brief spell of sunshine and some relatively dry, clean roads.  So, feel free to join me as I take the Triumph out to Haltwhistle via the Military Road (which runs parallel to Hadrian’s Wall) and back along the A69 before branching off at Haydon Bridge.

Since then, the weather has been the worse this winter – gales, lots of rain and sleet – storm Ciara.  The Scrambler is once again confined to the garage 😦

The battery in place and the Scrambler minus the seat

A dual terminal Motobatt – the extra side being used here for accessories

 

Horsing …

… it has been a quiet week in Beaufront Woodhead.  If people on bicycles go cycling, those who drive go driving, those who golf go golfing, why do those who ride horses, not go horsing.  This astute philosophical observation is not mine but my eldest’s.  I was reminded of it at the weekend as I was briefly horsing about with the camera above Allendale – where is the logic in that!

This is a handsome beast but I confess I am not that keen on these over-sized quadrupeds.  They are delightful to look at but, anything this big and this powerful which lacks handlebars/steering, accelerator and, most importantly, brakes, is not for me.  My Ducati Monster has 147 horses but none of them have a mind of their own.

Have a grand week everyone and enjoy the horsing …

… can a horse/pony be doe-eyed

… there was another but he/she wasn’t getting a look-in

… above Allendale on a dull January afternoon.

… you know you are in tough company when he uses barbed-wire to scratch

 

Another quiet week …

… in Beaufront Woodhead.  The weather has alternated between dire and freezing, neither any good for getting out and about, especially on two wheels.  A couple of storms have passed through and trees have been lost.  We have had a couple of regular visitors to our garden and then, yesterday, they took the liberty of inviting all their friends.  The image from our rear bedroom window shows a handful but, just around the corner, there were twenty or so more – they have kindly, liberally, fertilised the lawn.

One bright spot, I have replaced the levers on my Triumph Scrambler – I get a disproportionate amount of pleasure out of such fettling – verb (used with object), fet·tled, fet·tling – Ceramics to remove mold marks from (a cast piece).  That may be the official definition but, in Manchester and probably elsewhere, it means to fiddle about with machinery – ideally in a relaxed and time-wasting fashion.  An alternative would be ‘ferkle’.

“Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you”  –  Dave Allen 1936-2005

… all are welcome, apparently.

… before and after

… super-wide – the 8mm Samyang on the X-Pro2

… winter moon over Beaufront Woodhead

… and Hard Rain along the Tyne.

… another tree down along the Tyne

… afternoon light, Beaufront Woodhead