We left quaint little Cockermouth behind and headed for Vince’s Aunt’s home….Hill House in Falstone (Near Hexham). The original plan was to go via the Honister Pass but it was raining heavily and we had been warned the pass was not for the faint hearted at the best of times… so we took a more direct route. Just out of Hexham we turned north to Bellingham and stopped for lunch at a little cafe there – the Rocky Road. We took the longer route to Hill House – going via Falstone to avoid the gates.
Using our GPS and coordinates Vince’s brother, Ken, had given us we found the village quite easily. A friendly neighbour, Paul, had met us on the road driving his tractor and waved us down to let us know Vince’s Aunt Brenda was expecting us and gave us some local directions. Hill house was at the crest of a very steep hill with only a dirt track leading up. The rain was pelting down and the wind howled around us. We had had a job of getting our ANIMAL up the hill with the water logged land quickly turning to bog and dragging us in. At one point we slid sideways and I thought “this is it!….this will be the first time our bike goes down and I just hope neither of us brakes a leg.” But the ANIMAL did us proud, as did my new husband’s skill in keeping us upright. We skidded into the field and got bogged….but we stopped upright….amazing! I dismounted and we appraised the situation, a bit tricky to get the rear wheel out which was bogged and just spinning as Vince tried to free the bike. Between us we came up with a few solutions….Vince wanted to try to move it forward back onto the dirt road but as we tried to move her forward she was too heavy to come out of the bog. He then suggested we move her further out into the field….but my innate laziness told me that was a big job and besides the land was so water logged I thought it might only achieve a bogged situation further out….I asked if there was there any reason we couldn’t go backwards to get her back on the road and Vince thought that would work….”lets give that a crack!” So with him on the left and me on the right we pushed the heavy-laden beast backwards, out of the bog and back onto the road. We were well pleased with ourselves! Not wanting a repeat of the situation I walked up the hill and let Vince ride her up with a bit less weight. It was still touch and go….but he made it.
We later found out that his Aunt needs 4wd to get up the track and Paul was intending for us to leave our bike at the bottom in his shed and would have driven us up in his pick up truck as he couldn’t see how we could get up there on a bike….wish we had known…LOL