Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

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Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  Radar on Mon May 24 2010, 23:22

May 1989 was a blisteringly hot month and on the 20th particularly so. It was on that day I got married in a quirky rural market town. So it seems sort of appropriate to fast forward 21 years to another sweltering day in May to find my wife (the same one!!) and me in another quirky little market town. We were combining the BC2 with celebrating our wedding anniversary and in Bishop Castle you could not wish for a better location.

Bishop Castle is a charming, idiosyncratic market town in Shropshire that boasts a host of beautiful timber framed houses and shops lining undulating, tight and higgledy-piggledy streets. I did attend BC1 last year, but only for the ride out, so only spent half an hour or so in Bishops Castle itself. Now I have had a chance to spend more time there I must confess to being utterly charmed.

Mrs Radar and I were booked into ‘The Poppy House’ B&B along with ‘Oldcat’ and we received a warm welcome to this traditional, homely guesthouse. Our room was spacious and the exposed beams everywhere underlined the sense of history in the building that was once a bakery for the town.

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My loaded up Thundercat outside the charming Poppyhouse

The first evening saw the forum troops gather together in The Boars Head pub on the main street, some had even had a warm up at The Three Tunns on their way down from the various B&Bs that people were stopping at. The evening passed pleasantly in a blur as old acquaintances caught-up and Oldcat regaled us with tails from the German meet held last week. For me and Mrs Radar it was great to build up on some existing friendships and also to meet some new people.

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Greencat tucking in at The Boars Head

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The meal was good (I had my usual light salad), the beer flowed and even the staff seem to have being infected with the spirit of the evening as they applied some very odd pricing to the meals! Several of us moved on to another pub for another couple of pints.

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I will leave you lot to caption this one...

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and this one...

All in a cracking night and I wondered up the hill back to our digs ‘happy’!

After a good nights kip, we awoke to be greeted by sunshine streaming through the lace curtains of the sash window in our room. You could just tell the day was going to be a good one. ‘Oldcat’ joined Mrs R and I in the resturant for a hearty breakfast before we got on the bikes to join the others for 9:30 meet outside the Boars Head. In all ten bikes eventually lined up for the run…

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Robertcains (Nick) – Thundercat
Ellie – Thundercat
Stevecat – Thundercat
Radar and Mrs Radar – Thundercat
Oldcat (Terry) – Honda CBF1000
Nigel and Gill – Triumph Sprint
Boiker (Si) – Fireblade
Greencat (Chris) - ZX6R
Pete and Fred – ZX6R
Robcat and Lindsay – R1


Robcat and Lindsay deserve a special mention here having ridden for the best part of 3 hours already just to join the ride-out for the day.

Only four were on a Thundercat, but when you consider that it was last sold here in 2003 officially I suppose that it is inevitable. However the site has had several new members recently that ride a Thundercat, so maybe these guys will join some of the future ride-outs.

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Just to prove it was a THUNDERCAT meet!

Anyway after the usual banter and photo taking (thank you random passing woman for the group shot!) we mounted up and headed off. Oldcat and Nick had emphasised that the ‘marker’ system would be used to keep us together as this had worked so well in the past. We pulled out with Nick leading, Ellie tucked in behind and the rest of neatly line astern with Stevecat donning the orange bib (suits you sir…) as ‘tail end charlie’ for the run.

We got to the first junction and Nick made the turn and Ellie dropped off as marker, we all streamed past and Nick & I led the way to Knighton wafting along bathed in sunshine, blissfully unaware that at the back of the line it was all going Pete Tong!
Somehow Steve and Ellie had got their wires crossed and headed off in the wrong directions! They were soon dashing about trying to get back on track and all can think off is the Benny Hill show music they used to play when he was chasing the ladies around!

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Meanwhile back at the front Si and I were sitting and marking the two junctions and waiting…. and waiting…and then waiting some more. Eventually I sent Si off on the Blade to see where they were. After a little while Ellie rolled by and took the turn I was marking. Then I followed with Si and Steve. But then disaster again as Ellie missed the junction Si was no longer marking! Cue more Benny Hill music as Steve went off to round her up as she headed off towards Hereford! Si and I rode on to join the main group who were by now waiting anxiously at the side of the road about 10 miles from Crossgates. A lack of phone signal meant that Nick was getting worried by the time Ellie and Steve rolled up and rejoined the group. I will leave the Numpty nominations, for those braver than I!!

The Crossgates stop was brief before we headed deeper into Wales along the A44. Nick had chosen the route wisely again and now the group was hanging together well. The pace was steady, but enjoyable and the group clicked, moving as a unit. I kind of like the feeling when a group rides like that…you don’t have to ride everywhere like you have a rocket shoved up your arse to enjoy yourself! As we got close to the Elan valley the countryside just got more and more beautiful. Wales has its’ detractors, but on day like this…sunshine and crystal clear blue skies there is little anywhere in the world to match it. The reservoirs themselves were constructed to keep Birmingham in water…a dam might be man made, but they are one of those rare times when the touch of man has served to improve its’ surroundings rather than scar it. We pulled up at the waterside of one and the sunlight played on the gently rippling surface to create an ever-changing multi-coloured pattern, quite spell binding. There is something about water that draws us to it…a smoothing influence that seems to move life’s everyday hassles that little bit further away.

I think the pictures speak for themselves here:

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Back on the bikes now we wend our over the Elan valley to Devils Bridge. The pace was slow, dictated in part by the twisty narrow mountain road and partly by the group’s chilled mood. A memorable ride, great choice Nick! From here we headed towards the sea at Aberystwyth before hugging the coast road to New-Quay. It was on this section that poor old Si on the Blade had to drop out as his Blade packed up with an electrical fault. He had to be recovered home poor sod…hope you get sorted quickly and cheaply bud!

New Quay was packed and the heat was searing by now. Trouble getting the bikes parked meant the group got a little split up for the lunch break, Nick and Ellie enjoyed fish and chips on the harbour wall, while Mrs Radar and I joined Terry and Chris in a little open air café where were served by a comically grumpy Polish waitress....who took wenty minutes to pull two ready made ice creams from a freezer, plonk them in a posh glass and sting us £3.50 each for them!

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Back on the bikes and the roads were opening out a little more now and the pace quickened slightly here and there as we headed for the Red Kite sanctuary. The mornings adventures had left us running late and we missed seeing the magnificent birds-of-prey being fed that Nick had planned. However it was still good to see them in their element in yet another stunning setting.

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The bird sanctuary

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The feeding grounds of the Red Kites

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The red Kites...you might have to squint a bit....it's only a pocket camera you know!

From here the roads really opened up and Chris and Nick began to enjoy themselves up front while I chugged steadily along with the main group. Great roads and even the searing heat were not curtailing the enjoyment. By the time we rolled back into Bishops Castle we had covered around 180 highly enjoyable miles on challenging roads against stunning backdrops.

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Pete took over tail end charlie duty from Steve on the last section. The orange and lime cream combo really works for you...Nice final touch to ensure Ellie didn't get lost again (it was nearly a 100yds to the pub from here) we stuck a road sign in his head....

At this point Robcat and Lindsay headed off for the 3-hour ride home…great effort and good to see both again…

That evening, once we had all cleaned up and peeled off our sticky leathers, we headed for the Three Tunns for a fabulous meal and some great beer brewed on-site. The evening passed in a flash as drink flowed freely. A cracking night was had by all, and the perfect way to wrap up a superb days biking.

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The group about to consume more beer while I sipped tonic water until another light salad arrived for me....

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Poor old Terrys piles were playing up and he had to spend most of the evening standing up...thats what you get for buying a Honda....
The next morning we gathered once more outside the Boars Head to say our farewells. I rode as far as Ludlow in company with Stevecat and Chris, before peeling off to head home happy with a brilliant weekend and a memorable way for Mrs Radar and I to celebrate our anniversary!

Cheers to Nick and Ellie for setting up the whole thing…I hope I can do half as well for BC3 next year!


Last edited by 0ldcat on Sat Jun 12 2010, 16:38; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : topic moved to trip reports from archive)
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  robertcains on Mon May 24 2010, 23:38

Brilliant as usual Tony, great write up Clap Clap Clap
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  MevsyD on Mon May 24 2010, 23:50

Great write up and pictures radar. Glad you all had a brilliant time and all got back safe.
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  ellie on Tue May 25 2010, 06:47

Spot on write-up Tony, well done :whoop:
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  0ldcat on Tue May 25 2010, 10:08

As always, a pleasure to read your write-up Tony. Fantastic, the way you blend words and pictures. Spot on mate great

Radar wrote:Poor old Terrys piles were playing up and he had to spend most of the evening standing up...thats what you get for buying a Honda....
Must admit I was still suffering a tad from 'square arse syndrome' from the 1350 miles the previous weekend doing the Eifel trip Laughing .
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  Dirt Bike Dave on Tue May 25 2010, 16:50

Excellent write up..looks like i missed a cracking weekend.
Will try and make next years BC...Had it not been for Eifel i would have came along.
After riding the Duc to Eifel and back it felt like i had been in "traction" for a couple of days after i got home.. Shocked

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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  andyb on Tue May 25 2010, 17:03

What fantastic read great

Thumbs up for the good old british weather too Very Happy
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  SteveCat on Tue May 25 2010, 17:58

Radar wrote:The meal was good (I had my usual light salad),
with extra chips [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

A good account of the weekends' events Tony, well done - thanks

Radar wrote:
Somehow Steve and Ellie had got their wires crossed and headed off in
the wrong directions! They were dashing about trying to get back on
track and all can think off is the Benny Hill show music they used to
play when he was chasing the ladies around!

Wasn't quite as exciting as you described! If I can edit the video's I have, might be able to do a fast speed of the 'off route' bits set to the music. ( I can hear my grandmother now - turn that disgusting man off )

If anyone is any good at video editing, I could put the video segments on dvd and send it to you to have a go
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  JDM on Tue May 25 2010, 19:08

Superb write up off the weekend and pictures look amazing, good weekend had by all by looks of it!! great

Oh how it's got me hankering for Yazmeen to get fixed ASAP.
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  Radar on Fri May 28 2010, 16:37

robertcains wrote:Brilliant as usual Tony, great write up Clap Clap Clap

Cheers RC, good to meet up with everybody again!
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  Radar on Fri May 28 2010, 16:37

MevsyD wrote:Great write up and pictures radar. Glad you all had a brilliant time and all got back safe.

Hope to catch up with you on one of the ride-outs soon
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Re: Bishop Castle II. Review and Pics!

Post  bignige on Mon May 31 2010, 06:46

Great write up, almost feels like I was there Very Happy

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