• Gareth Owens

Scotland Motorcycle Tour - Day 13 - Glasgow to Blackpool via Hartside Pass


The famous Hartside Pass: wet, wild and bendy

As we loaded up the bikes in Glasgow the heavens opened and it looked for all the world like our ride   back south through England would be as wet as our ride up at the beginning of the trip.


We decided to stay off the motorway and followed the B7076 aka the old A74, which skirts the new A74(M). While the main road is packed with trucks this side road is fairly straight and almost completely empty, bar the odd village now and then.


We stopped again at the Gretna Green blacksmiths shop for a comfort break and then we were back across the border into England...


We kept off the motorway and followed Hadrian's Wall east to Haydon Bridge in order to ride Hartside Pass, the A686, which runs from Haydon Bridge to Alston and onto Penrith.


At the top of the pass is the Hartside Top Cafe, England's highest Cafe at 1,904 feet above sea level. The weather had been inclement for most of the day so we were glad to sit down in the warmth and take a full English breakfast for our first meal in England.


After Alston we rode to Penrith where we joined the motorway in order to make good time to Blackpool. The weather improved and we were at the Premier Inn at the south end of Blackpool sea front early enough to relax and get ready for a big night on the town.


Despite it being a Thursday night in June we walked up and down the front and found to our amazement that almost everything was closed. We had expected this party town to be in full flow, but things must only kick in at the weekend. So we found a couple of quiet pubs for a drink, walked the front and ended up eating in a Pizza Express. Not the night we had planned, but it means we won't start our last day with raging hangovers.


All being well tomorrow evening will see us home and sleeping in our own bed again.


 Hartside Top Cafe - Joining the few other brave souls riding these roads in the cold and wet

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