The Adventure Ride season got under way yesterday with the arrival of our first customer in 2014. Dale, an ex -pat Aussie currently residing in Malta had come to the UK to catch a bit of winter sun before heading to the Med. Actually that’s not strictly true, he was over here on business and decided to sneak in a spot of trail riding.
Like me, Dale is a Laverda enthusiast and we know each other through the thriving online international Laverda community. We’d never met in the flesh and it’s always a pleasure to put a face to a name.
Despite never having ridden off-road Dale soon settled in to the rhythm of the ride as we explored the network of green lanes criss-crossing the Welsh side of Long Mynd. Heading back towards Ratlinghope we passed through Near Gatten Farm, home to the legendary farmer Phil’s Music Festival [ see details below]. A sign on a gate in the farmyard bears the ominous warning ” No Trespassing, violators will be shot” and to add a bit of gravitas to this statement a large tank stands sentinel at the entrance to the farmyard. I’m afraid I’m not well up on my Main Battle Tanks but it looked like a Challenger to me.
We’ll be riding along that ridge on the way home, what do you reckon is the range of a 120mm artillery piece?
Despite this overt display of overwhelming military force the farmer gave us a cheery wave as we passed very slowly through his yard [ well you wouldn’t want to upset a man with a tank would you?] and after surveying the ordnance we went back to the Ordnance Survey and planned our route back across the Mynd.
By this stage in the ride my Antipodean guest had become increasingly comfortable with the concept of riding off- road. So much so he romped up one particularly steep muddy which subsequently had on my backside rolling in the mud. Put it down to beginners luck… Fortunately he didn’t witness this faux pas and I certainly wasn’t going to ‘fess up when I eventually caught him up. Dale , if you’re reading this, tough luck mate, you missed a great photo opportunity.
I live on the lower reaches of Long Mynd and can testify the weather can sometimes have a mynd of its own. Yesterday was no exception and we experienced bright sun, low cloud, mist, biting winds and even a mini blizzard at one point . Dale took it all in his stride and seemed to enjoy himself.
“What’s the most direct route back to Malta from here?”
All in all it was a great start to the riding season and despite the January weather a very enjoyable day out.
Farmer Phil’s Music Festival is a 3 day event which takes place on the 8th to 10th of August this year . Details can be found on http://www.farmerphilsfestival.co.uk . Confirmed acts for this year include The Orb and the legendary Blockheads. Sounds like a good gig to me, I think I’ll be buying a ticket.
Final shot of the ride. Stream crossing near Adstone Hill