11th – 15th August

A few days away “up North” on the R1200GS.

On the 11th, I travelled up to Birmingham (near Walsall), detouring through the Cotswolds, taking in Stroud, Tewkesbury, Pershore, then Redditch before jumping on the motorway to reach my accommodation at Walsall, just off the M6.

On the Thursday, it was a convoluted ride up to Cumbria staying at the village of Dent to meet Fuzz for our quest to see and photograph the Scotch Argus at Smardale Gill National Nature Reserve. My journey took me through Walsall, then Cannock Chase, Rugely, Uttoxeter, Cheadle, Buxton, Sparrowpit, Winnats Pass, Castleton, the moorland landscape near Wigtwizzle, then Huddersfield, Halifax, Keighley and Skipton where I stopped for a break. Then, the push towards Dent (where I reached 30,000 miles exactly on the machine) via Settle. After checking into the George and Dragon pub, and with the weather warm and favourable, I rode to the Smardale Gill reserve to meet Fuzz via Sedbergh and Kirkby Stephen, to check out the location of the site. We saw our first Scotch Argus specimens.

On both the Friday and Saturday, we visited the reserve, and spent two full days observing and photographing this species, capturing some pleasing images, despite the windy Saturday. On the Saturday evening, we had dinner at the iconic Tan Hill Inn (the UK’s highest pub), before a scenic ride across the moors, taking in Reeth, Muker and Garsdale.

On the Sunday, it was time for the long ride home. I decided to make a day of it, stopping at Settle to hatch a plan over a pot of tea. My ride for the day (in mixed conditions) took me through Colne, Trawden, Hebden Bridge, Ripponden, Denshaw, Delph, Holmfirth, Glossop, Buxton, Leek, Stoke-on-Trent, then across to the west skirting south of Shrewsbury, then Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Hereford, Monmouth, the Wye Valley, across the Severn on the M48, then Bath and home. Felt in the zone during the ride.

A great weekend all round.

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