Summer Drive 2017

By Caroline Lodge

Some time ago I agreed to organise this years Summer Drive. Can’t be that hard I thought, have a drive out, stop for refreshments and drive back. No worries – Hmmmm…
Firstly, to be honest the event slipped my mind! However I was reminded in plenty of time and got on with it. Put my thinking cap on – first idea Elf Kirk View point would be nice – Nope it’s too far. High Force would include a walk, that would be good – Nope they shut the path or turn the falls off at 5pm. Oh heck where can we go?
After a bit of grumbling and staring at the maps, I planned a route. My assistant Dylan and I set off to check it out and take some photos of junctions etc. All went well and the mini road books were all printed and sorted over a week before the date.2 nights before the run a ‘Road Closed’ sign appears on the route. ‘Oh dear’ (or a similar phrase) thought I. So maps out again, and some amendments were made to the route details. Only for the road to open on the night of the run!!!!!
On probably the nicest night of the week, 8 cars met outside the Belted Will in Hallbankgate. 7 cars set off – Geoffrey will explain that one.
Yvonne and Barry took the lead, I followed on at the back, Jonathan had gone ahead a little bit earlier to arrow 2 trickier junctions. We made our way along the A689 towards Alston.

From there we headed left towards Nenthead , and on past Kilhope, and beyond. At times we appeared to be paying our own tribute to last years Peking to Paris event, with a convoy of cars travelling across the hills in clouds of dust. Right, I know they were traversing goat tracks in the Gobi desert and we were driving on recently resurfaced roads in Weardale. However the thought was there and perhaps we can be allowed a little bit of poetic licence? And it did look quite good!

Just past Lanehead, the route took a slip road into Cowshill and another quick right up to Burnhope Reservoir where everyone stopped to re-group,

have a natter and admire the views. There were a few folk that had no idea it was there. Then back on the road again into St John Chapel taking the turn up over Harthorpe Moor and Langdon Common – like I said it was a bonny evening and that road is a good one, with a few surprises as it starts off as a narrow lane up between some houses and opens right out over the Moor, plenty of blind crests and deceiving bends – plus some fantastic views.

Into the Langdon Beck Hotel for some refreshments, a nosey in the geology room and discovering that they hold a cheesecake competition (might be back for that one). We then headed more or less straight back to Hallbankgate, via the B6277 through Harwood, over Harwood Common and Alston Moor. Again the views were fabulous. Back onto the A689 and to where we started.

Everyone appeared to have enjoyed the night – which was a big relief. I left a number of them chatting outside the pub. I had to return my assistant back as it was a school night and we had stretched his curfew a little bit!

Thanks to everyone who came along.