Exploring the valley of the River Eden which runs alongside the North Pennines and the Lake District. Lazonby, Kirkoswald, Glassonby, Gamblesby, Melmerby etc villages, each quite different, are spread along the banks of the river, the alignment of a Roman Road and the Settle to Carlisle railway.
Plenty enough bank holiday traffic to prefer to enjoy the smaller roads where there are enough finger signposts to navigate without map or GPS. I’m once again limited to tarmac as I sold the CRF300 rally bike, anyhow the muddy off-road bikers I saw were all on much smaller bikes than that.
A pause at Long Meg and her Daughters, one of the UK’s largest Neolithic stone circles. It’s hard to find but arriving is delightfully naive, you turn a bend, cross a cattle grid and there are the stones.
The pull of the road up to Hartside Cross (575 m.) proved irresistible on the sportsbike; there aren’t many hairpin bends in England and this hill climb has a couple of good ones. The little Ninja Z250SL gave a good account of itself; I’m getting better at just not hitting the rev limiter, which comes in like a mallet at 10,500 revs.
The names and architecture reflect the long history of the area from the early Neolithic era, then Celts and Druids, Romans and Brittunculi (Latin insult, meaning nasty little Britons) leave their mark in the gazetteer of place names. I have a hunch that the road topology also shows this heritage: the direct routes are Roman or ecclesiastical but there are many byroads too. Peace and prosperous farming followed after King Rufus established the northern border in 1092. These farms became the objective for the raiders of the border conflicts in the following centuries, resulting in the many fortified buildings still in use.
Disappointing weather for the August Bank Holiday Monday: overcast and chilly although the scientific temperature was above 15°C.