Here at ABR we’re constantly looking to answer that age-old question: ‘What am I doing this weekend?’
We’ve researched, drawn out and ridden a selection of British motorcycle routes that criss-cross this small island we call home to ensure that wherever you live you’ll be able to find a ride that will keep you busy during the weekend.
But we don’t want to hog all the fun. We love to see submissions from you, our readers, and Andy Bell has submitted a cracking route through the North of England.
Andy’s Boxing Day ride
The route consists of around 150 miles of country roads, which Andy tackled on his Triumph Tiger, passing through small villages and taking you around a few big towns in the area. A scenic ride rather than a dash through the countryside, we would put aside about three to five hours to ride this route, depending on how often you stop for photos and tea.
Heading out of Northallerton turn right at the roundabout straight after the railway crossing at the top end of town, on to the B6271. Stay on that twisty road as you pass between fields and farms for around 11 miles until you arrive at a T Junction, then turn left to follow the B6271.
Shortly after this turn you’ll arrive in Catterick Bridge. At the crossroads continue straight across towards Richmond. As you arrive in Richmond turn left and follow the signposts for Reeth.
Once you reach Reeth, either stop at The Buck Hotel for some home-cooked pub grub or continue on the road signposted for Barnard Castle.
This road will take you up towards The Tan Hill Inn, England’s highest pub, but we’ll save our visit for one of our favourite British motorcycle routes, the ABR and Maxxis Three Pubs Challenge.
Winding country lanes
Instead, turn off a few miles before onto Stang Lane. Be careful not to miss the turning, it comes just after the CB Inn and a few houses, and is also signposted for Barnard Castle. This delightful country-lane wriggles through the surrounding countryside, with views for miles.
Once you reach the end of Stang Lane resist the urge to turn back and ride it again, and instead take a right onto the A66, (Don’t despair, you’ll only be on it briefly!)
After about three-quarters of a mile take the first left signposted towards Barnard Castle. Follow this road into town, turning right at the set of traffic lights that control traffic crossing the small bridge into town.
Continue on the main road through the high street to the top-end of town, before bearing left onto the B6278 as the road forks, signposted for Middleton-in-Teesdale.
Take the B6278 for about ten miles, until you pass a sign indicating a right turn towards Frosterley. Take this un-named road and continue on over small bridges towards the small town. There are parking areas next to the river to park up for an ideal photo opportunity or just to stretch your legs.
Deep into the North Pennines
Once you’ve finished snapping away turn out of the parking area and continue along the road to the T junction, then turn left onto the A689 towards Alston.
When you reach Stanhope turn right onto the B6278 again, keeping on this twisting road towards Derwent Reservoir. As you approach the small village of Edmundbyers take a left up Church Lane (signposted St Edmund’s Parish Church) and follow this until it brings you on to the B6306.
Follow the B6306 towards Hexham. When you reach Hexham take a left at the T junction onto the B6305 then as you approach Langley join the B6295 and follow the road all the way back down to a right turn that will take you onto the A689, in the direction of Alston.
There are a few places of interest if you have time to stop on your jaunt. Both the Weardale Railway and the Killhope Lead Mining Museum are located just off the A689 if you’d like to take a look at the area’s past.
Just after passing the Nenthall Country House Hotel turn right onto the B6294 towards Hexham. A narrow road through the edge of some woods this road will quickly offer fantastic views of where you’ve been and where you’re going, stop for a quick photo and a chance to stretch your legs.
Once you’re done continue on the B6294 to the T junction at the end of the road and turn left towards Alston. From here you’re within touching distance of our Yorkshire Dales TomTom Discovery Route, but here we’ll follow Andy’s directions back to the start of this loop.
In Alston take a left at the Church up the hill, back onto the A689, and take it easy on the cobbled streets before bearing right at the top towards the B6277. Follow this road all the way back to Barnard Castle.
Continue going straight, following the signs towards the A66. Follow the dual carriage way onto the A1, and from here make your way home or to the pub for a well earned pint and a burger!
Get out and ride
A big thank you to Andy for submitting this route and well done for battling the elements on Boxing Day to get out explore the North Pennines by motorcycle. I can’t think of a better way to burn off that Christmas turkey than some saddle time.