My tent is cleaned and packed away, no more camping this year. I’ve spent last weekend at Haggs Bank in the North Pennines having a great time at Horizons Unlimiteds travellers meet. Although the meet was mainly geared towards the off-road riders, there were activities for everyone. An initial evening with bonfire, beer and band was followed by an action packed Saturday. First, I signed up for the Beginners Off Road ride, but I had second thoughts when I saw the first and easiest of the hills we were to ride. No way the little gravel riding and occasional green laning I have done was enough preparation for that incline on loose gravel. The Kawasaki Versys is a top-heavy bike with road tyres and I have a charity run coming up so I can’t afford to hurt myself. I made my excuses and went for a solitary road ride and lunch in the sun instead.
To further fill my afternoon, I signed up for a 3 hour mine tour and suited up in wellies, overalls, hard hat and headlamp. We were a group of 8 participants, four adults, three children and me, who after a security briefing on how dangerous mines are, went into the darkness. The deepening water was sloshing around our wellies as we got deeper and deeper into the mine. It would be almost knee high at the deepest section and we were prepared that for one passage we would have to crawl. After a shade over 5 minutes, the youngest boy said he didn’t feel safe and wanted to go back. “I can go with him” I heard myself say. In that instant I knew that I could probably continue but chances were I would panic and it would be no fun at all. Happily we returned to the sunlight, not all fears need to be challenged and we were both pleased to be above ground chatting about old times when people worked in the mines day in and day out for decades, even children smaller than my young companion. Five minutes was enough for me, after all it was a beautiful day – too beautiful to spend underground. I went for some up-hill running instead, taking in the view over the fields – a view that goes on for ever and ever. What a fantastic location to kickstart my running training for the charity run. I added some yoga in the sunset outside my tent before joining the crowd drinking beer by the bonfire listening to the band.
Sunday was the Beamish Trophy Trail and I fully enjoyed seeing the riders take on the challenge of climbing the hill next to the campsite – an extraordinary effort on these old beautiful machines. For the rest of the day I studied Spanish in my tent as people left and the campsite grew quiet.
It was a fantastic end to my season – or so I thought, it seems like the season never ends here. Next weekend I’ll go to Brighton and help at the WIMA stall at “On the Wheel”.