Northumberland’19 Weekend – will Jalapeno’s woes continue – Day2 – 31st March 2019

For those who have already read and enjoyed that Day1 Blog, you may remember that Kev was delayed getting to the meeting point as he had lost his wallet …

Soon after we had checked into the hotel and gone to our respective rooms, Kev put on the WhatsApp Group that he had found his wallet, he had surprised himself by packing it into his overnight bag the previous evening but had just forgotten to remind himself. Here his said “wallet” next to Kev’s normal day time and 4×4’ing headgear – a flat cap, well he is from Lancashire (lol).

Lane999a Day1 (end of) Kev finds his wallet

After an eventful Day1 of our Northumberland weekend, we happily slept overnight having arranged to all meet for breakfast at 08:15am in The Castle Hotel, Berwick-upon-Tweed.

It soon became apparent, on our WhatsApp Group, that we had lost a member overnight as Dave had “left the building” in the early hours as his young daughter Ellie had been sick (I told Dave last night that she should not have eaten that Vindaloo – lol) … so Dave rushed Ellie back home, as having a 6yr old daughter throwing up on Day2 of our 4×4’ing weekend wasn’t a great idea. Dave got home in good time, and Ellie recovered enough on Sunday to ask her Dad (Dave) whether they could go back 4×4’ing with the Group. Dave told her that wasn’t a great idea … See you soon Dave/Ellie.

As normal, everyone wakes early, Kev had added a comment to the WhatsApp Group saying he was out walking Freja in the local park. Brett, already up and ready at 07:45am decided to get out of his room, and start repacking, checking and getting Jalapeno ready for the day ahead, only to meet Kev and Freja back from their morning walkies.

Lane028 Berwick Railway Bridge

A great photo from Kev of the Railway bridge in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Lane028 Starting at Castle (3)

From Brett, that maybe we can look at this place next time?

Lane028 Starting at Castle (4)

Outside view of The Castle Hotel

Back in the hotel reception, Brett and Kev decide that no time should be wasted – we have already lost 1hr by having our Clocks put forward overnight – so they head into the breakfast room in the hotel and start without Riccy and Joel (of course no Dave or Ellie as they were already at home).

Here is the cereals and orange juice table to “help yourself” as the Cooked breakfast was waited on.

Lane028 Starting at Castle (1)

Interesting facts about Berwick-upon-Tweed as breakfast table mats

Lane028 Starting at Castle (2)

Breakfast devoured and we agreed to get out there and start Day2, so a quick Group photograph “then there were three” with Phil/Stu going home last night for Mother’s Day duties and Dave/Ellie left in the early hours. From Left to Right we have Kev in his “blue rinse Jimny” with Freja, Brett and Billy Back Pack in Jalapeno and Riccy & Joel in J999MNY.

Lane028 Starting at Castle (5).JPG

What could be next, well of course tradition says we have to have an intro video:

We continued out of Berwick-upon-Tweed and onwards to Lane1 which turned out to be an interesting “coastal path” which actually was a Byway What is a Byway

A short stretch of tarmac and we were driving across to Holy Island and Lindisfarne to look for an alleged Byway on Holy Island

When we got over to Holy Island the Byway we had seen on our OS Maps turned out to be a Restricted Byway showing on signage that we know as a flying motorbike road sign

RB

Obviously with our “Legal Laning” mantra we did a 180 and proceeded back to the A1 and continued on our 4×4’ing Day2 journey.

A few miles on the A1 South and then turning left onto “C” Roads through quaint villages such as Elwick, Warren Mill to finally arrive at Bamburgh to drive by Bamburgh Castle and what an impressive castle it is …if you are ever in the area, visiting here is a MUST!

But as we are in the area for 4x4ing we don’t have time to stop and visit the castle, so onwards on the B1340 to the next UCR close to Fowberry (remember that name, eh?)

As we ended Fowberry you can hear Brett having a “discussion” with the welcoming party … As Joel pointed out, “not decided” might mean that it is actually open, just not agreed to be closed yet?

Onwards on a few more “C” roads to find he next UCR after Pasturehill that ended at Coldrife, here is Brett’s and Riccy’s videos of this T&S (Tight and Scratchy) lane

Just a short drive on “C” Roads to the next UCR, which turns out to be a DEAD END. There was a nice lady walking her three fluffy dogs who informed us that we can’t get through as there is a narrow 3ft bridge over the “Priestsdean Burn” (honest, its actually called that) – of course we rarely trust walkers as they are known to not always tell the truth in the hope we will go elsewhere.

But, we just acknowledged her remark and went and had a look ourselves (like we normally do).

After the correct DEAD END, we all did 180’s (except some of us taking more than the normal 3-point turn -Riccy) we got back to the “C” Road and tarmac and over yet another railway level crossing to the next lane close a hamlet called The Nest

Onwards down the very busy A1 heading South towards a village called South Charlton

At the end of the UCR from South Charlton, we got back onto the B6341 south towards Heckly House and the interesting UCR that actually crosses over (YES, there is not a bridge under or over this extremely busy 70mph A1 road).

Safely over the A1 we get onto the B1340 heading now towards Alnwick (pronounced Alnick – silent “W” for my American friends .. there’s a few towns in England with silent “W”s … such as Norwich (LOL)

Here is Brett’s video of the Byway to the East of Alnwick from a village called Denwick (maybe another silent “W” here?)

At the end of the Denwick Byway it was a short 100yards to Turn Left onto the A168 and immediately Right onto the next Byway, passing Bilton Mill and Greenrigg that ends at Dene House.

A few miles of tarmac on “C” Roads passing Shilbottle, over again the busy A1 to immediately get onto the next UCR (YES, an UCR that ends or starts directly on the A1, whichn has animals, such as Cows on it, so the gate had THREE Latches.

The UCR essentially goes from Hitchcroft to Sheil Dykes (almost a Dukes)

More tarmac “C” Roads passing more unusual town names, such as Swarland, Rashercap and then crossing YET AGAIN over the busy A1 towards Lane Head and Old Fenton for the next UCR towards Acklington Park, Brainshaugh and Whirleyshaws – who dreams these village names up?? Make sure you watch the video as Brett stops at a scenic WEIR but then discovers an memorial to a lad who had maybe drowned in the River Coquet (we drove a FORD yesterday crossing the Coquet).

Next was another short tarmac “C” road to the next Byway from Acklington Park towards High Park

Another short hop onto the B6345 (the UCRs and Byways are a plenty around here) for the next Byway passing through Eshott Airfield, Blackbrook Farm and a small animal zoo at Eshottheugh Zoo

After passing the smelly Zoo, it was Right again onto the A1 North and 3rd Left at West Moor for the next  UCR and interesting FORD. As we approach the FORD a rather expensive and “new” Land Rover Discovery comes the other way, as ever we way, and shock horror the driver and his female passenger wave back at us. We look on our OS Maps and see in the distance a very smart property going by the name of Shothaugh. Proceeding onwards, now knowing the “D” road is drivable we cross some fields with obvious tyre tracks to locate this impressive FORD that spookily crosses, again, the River Coquet.

Here are our videos of the drive down West Howdens and the FORD crossings

After this impressive FORD it was a short gassy drive up to a “C” road and onwards to the B6345 and crossing over the A697 at Longframlington down “C” Roads towards an interesting place called Cockshot – I’m not sure I would want to live in Cockshot (LOL).

At the end the Cockshot UCR we turned Right and a really short drive on the B6344 and then Turn Left onto the UCR passing Brinkburn Lodge and through Middlehaugh towards Westerhaugh (too many Haughs for me)  – a quick look on Google on Haugh, tells me “Haugh an Old English and Scots term referring to a low-lying meadow in a river valley” – so there Brett!!

Here are the videos from Brett and Riccy:

Next was another short drive to locate Todburn

After Todburn, a few miles on “C” Roads passing Longhorsley and an alleged FORD at Paxton Dene

and onwards to a UCR that ends in Whemley Burn

After the Whemley Burn UCR, turn Left onto A697 South to get onto that BUSY A1 for a few hundred yards, leaving by Turning Left briefly onto the A197 and “C” roads into Mitford (could there be a FORD here??)

Passing by Mitford  Steads and Turn Right onto the B6524 to find East Edington and the byway towards West Coldside (who wants a coldside?)

After West Coldside aim for Molesden, Turning Right to drive the excellent FORD at Rivergreen Mill (I think we went in the right directi0n, as getting down a steep slope would be extremely difficult in the other direct – hopefully the video shows its steepness?

You might be able to her Riccy on the CB saying there’s an old guy who lives in the property (that is feet from the road and FORD) who likes to abuse passing vehicles, but he wasn’t there when we drove past, but he had kindly left a small blockage on the road – a small coal shovel …

After Rivermill Green FORD Turn Left onto the B6343 passing Thorphill and first Left on “C” Road towards Meldon, Turning Right opposite Meldon House and get on the Byway towards Howlett Hall and Long Angerton

On a few of the previous videos you may have heard Brett saying that his Front O/S Wheel Bearing was making “grinding noises” after driving through FORDs, but after a mile or so the “grinding noise” disappears … I wonder why this is???

Anyway, after Long Angerton it’s a short drive to Meldon Park

After Meldon Park, Turn Left onto B6343 for a few hundred yards and Turn First Right onto “C” Road towards Thornton Moor, Wittonstone, Long Witton, Hill Top and a Byway at Hill End towards Whitridge and Hatburn Grange and the B6343.

Leaving the Byway by Turn Left onto the B6343 then 2nd Right onto “C” Roads looking for Middleton and the next Lane which is another Byway

This Byway ends just after Corridge and Middleton Bank Top where we turn Left onto “C” Roads going through Bolam West Houses and First Right towards Sandyford (could there be another FORD here????)

At the end of Sandyford, Brett was now having “changing gears problems” as the clutch was only biting weh the pedal was at the floor… so Riccy offered to look at the cable in the hope of adjusting it

Lane058 Clutch adjustments (1)Lane058 Clutch adjustments (2)

Also at this time, Brett’s Front Wheel Bearing is now making “grinding noises” all the time, and it is becoming a grave concern … anyway, the wheel is still attached, so it’s “onwards we go” to the onto the A696 to a village strangely called Bradford (actually nowhere near Bradford, Leeds) and a nice Byway

After the Byway at Bradford Brett’s wheel is obviously not very well, as driving is becoming difficult as the wheel is wobbling enough to cause concern. We stop and check, the wheel bearing and indeed it’s not in the best of health. The xext lane was to be Chollerford Steps, but that is not a lane that needs to be done with a Front Offside Wheel about to fall off … and it is now approaching 4:30pm and Kev has a 2hr drive in front of him, Riccy/Joel a 1hr drive and wobbly wheeled Brett has a 4hr drive …

Here is Brett’s traditional Closing Remarks

Brett certainly wasn’t happy driving on “A” and “B” roads doing only 25mph so driving south on the M6 was totally out of the question!

After a stop and say our good-bye’s, Riccy said the best place to ring for a FlatBed home would be at a large petrol station at Bridge End, Hexham.

It was only a couple of miles to Bridge End, and Brett had told Riccy/Joel that he would be ok and they should continue home to Bowness-on-Solway.

Brett arrived safely at Bridge End petrol station and parked up opposite a Starbucks Drive Through and call his Recovery Company, ALPS.

Afer going through the normal security “who are you and what is your vehicle and why do you need recovering, Brett received a text saying that the Recovery Firm (Flatbed) Glendinning Brothers aim to arrive anytime between now and 6:11pm. The guy in his Flatbed arrived at 5:37pm …

Lane999a Flatbeds (1)

Brett thought not bad, and maybe he would be home around 9:00pm …. oh little did he know the actual time he would get home!!

The driver from Glendinning told Brett that he was only recovering him to Southwaite Services Southbound on the M6 … Brett was a tad irate, as the last time he got dropped off by a Flatbed (allegedly another would be there waiting) the next one didn’t arrive as planned and he had to wait for 2hrs!!

Brett explaining this to the Glendinning driver who then rang his manager and the ALPS recovery company, and they CONFIRMED that the next Flatbed Recovery Firm, Egertons of Carlisle would be there waiting for us (oh yeah, Brett suggested) …. would that really be true???

Jalapeno was driven onto the Glendinning driver onto the Flatbed and strapped down.

Lane999a Flatbeds (2)

The journey from Bridge End, Hexham on the A69 was passing Haltwhistle where all the action started Friday afternoon, and then onto the M6 Southbound to arrive at Southwaite Southbound Services

Lane999b Waiting for Flatbed .PNG

The journey time to Southwaite Services was ahead of time, arriving at 7:00pm and not 7:15pm so not surprisingly the next Recovery Flatbed from Egertons wasn’t there… and with the driver from Glendinning happy unload Jalapeno and drive off and let Brett wait, knowing that everything had been arranged … oh silly, silly, man!!

7:15pm came and went and at 7:50pm (giving them plenty of time to get the 24miles south from Carlisle to Southwaite Services, in case there had been problems on the M6.

Brett rang his ALPS Recovery and its seemed that like last time, Egertons were not there as they were not coming …. Brett ws a tad annoyed and after many heated conversations with ALPS it was going from bad to worse!

At one time ALPS offered Brett delivery of a courtesy car, and they would collect Jalapeno later in the evening and deliver it home some time the following day, but any fuel used in the courtesy car was to be paid by Brett — I think he may have used the **** OFF words!!

So a Flatbed was found from a company called Crossways who are based in Gretna Green, which was only 20miles away, so Brett agreed to wait … it’s now 8:50pm.

Brett has been waiting at Southwaite Services since 7:00pm waiting patiently, and thankfully Jalapeno’s engine was able to keep him warm and cozy as temperatures would drop below zero that night, and at 8:50pm it was not much above 3C.

At 8:50pm, Brett received a text from Crossways Garage saying the Flatbed driver would aim to arrive anytime between 8:50pm and 9:41pm  … another potential 1hrs wait!!

Brett had his trusty iPad used for GPS tracking plotted routes on Memory Map, but also in this iPad is Netflix and a few things to watch.

At 9:36pm the Crossways Flatbed arrived, a whopping 5mins early (lol) and Jalapeno was driven on by Ernie “the fastest Flatbed driver in the Northwest” (Ernie said this to Brett) …

At 9:50pm, Ernie and Brett with Jalapeno safely strapped onto the Flatbed and with the predicted time of arrival at Brett’s home was midnight … BUT ….

YEs, even at that time there was some traffic, and the journey home was delayed by 30mins, so Ernie, Brett and Jalapeno arrived the following day at 00:30am. Jalapeno was unloaded onto the road and put on Brett’s drive and he went to bed.

Brett had called ALPS at 5:00pm and had arrived home at 00:30am!!

Brett was not impressed and ALPS had previously arranged to call him that same day, to review the atrocious events of Recovery.

Indeed the following day, Brett received a call from a Supervisor (who refused to give her name out) apologised profuslly from the horrid recover events, and offered Brett a £20 for compensation … strangely Brett whispered the **** OFF words to himself and wanted more action from ALPS, stating that he had been lied to when Glendinning had said that Egertons would be there and waiting – they were not.

Brett also asked the supervisor, would that terrible service had been the same if the driver was a lone female driver, or even a female with a baby?? Said supervisor didn’t refute this!!

Brett is now awaiting a call from ALPS and their Customer Relations and Complaints Team …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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