I was recently asked by Primula Cheese to tick something off my bucket list, as part of their Little Moments of Adventure challenge. This really appealed to me, as Primula cheese are owned by the Kavli Trust, and their profits go to charities and good causes. Brilliant! Take a peek at http://www.primula.co.uk/
Having done lots of wild and whacky things when I went travelling with Rachel (white-water rafting, skydiving, hiking up a glacier and jumping off a waterfall), I racked my brain as to what a little moment of adventure would mean to me. Oooh yes, it came to me in an instant. Last year, Rachel and her friends had won a motorbike trip with Iain and his friends as an auction prize, and I had been rather cheesed off (pardon the pun) to be stuck making bacon sandwiches for them at the off, rather than getting out there and riding pillion into the wild blue yonder. Soooo, to ensure I did get the trip this time, I opted for a motorbike ride through the Yorkshire Dales, with all its narrow, winding roads, spectacular scenery and thousands of sheep, cattle and the odd horse scattered here and there.
Now, the main criteria for riding pillion is to be on the back of a biker you have complete and utter confidence in. Iain set up Corser Motorcycling Academy a few years ago, so I knew I was in good hands, even though he kept telling me he wasn’t going to venture out on a day when it was pouring down. Ooh, these fair weather riders! It was a bit drizzly, to be honest, but, then again, what’s a bit of water between friends? (It was only when we came back and he told me how he’d had to be careful when cornering, etc. that I realised that a dry run is much more fun for the driver, and, more to the point, much safer for the passenger. Namely, me! Eeek!)
So, after getting kitted up in motorbike trousers, jacket, gloves and helmet, we strode (or, in my case, sort of shuffled) over to his gleaming red bike. I must have looked like a cross between John Wayne and the Michelin man, with layer upon layer of clothing on! And once I’d pulled my hair back and squashed my helmet on, I felt as if I had a goldfish bowl perched on my head. When I talked, it echoed back at me. Weird! Even more hilarious was that I was chatting away to him as we snaked our way out of his depot at Teesside Airport, and it was only once we’d stopped for lunch that I realised he had his earplugs in and couldn’t hear a word. Hmm, method in his madness, no doubt!
First of all we headed for Scorton, drove along Maison Dieu in Richmond and headed for Leyburn, where we stopped off at Serendipity, a lovely bright, airy café in the market place, for lunch. After soup and Primula cheese and smoked salmon sandwiches, it took me a good 10 minutes to visit the loo, as I had so many layers to take off and tuck back in again. Then I climbed on behind him to watch the world go by, hanging on tight to the grab rail at the back as we headed up hill and down Dale to Hawes. He pointed out Buttertubs Pass, a stretch of road way up high which has limestone potholes along the way, (apparently so-called because in days gone by the farmers rested there on their way to market, and in hot weather lowered the butter they had produced into the potholes to keep them cool). Well, you learn something new every day!
As we wound our way to Ravensworth, we came round a corner to find a farmer with a flock of sheep in the middle of the road, and they weren’t too keen to walk past a noisy motorbike. Iain switched the engine off. I shouted (remembering the earplugs!) that it seemed strange that there wasn’t a sheepdog herding them. We both burst out laughing as a farm worker in his van passed us as the sheep scurried along…with his sheepdog sitting in the cab alongside him.
Once the road was unencumbered with furry obstacles, we came out at a junction on the A66.
‘Oops!’ mouthed Iain.
Hmm, the A66 is one of the most dangerous roads in the area. Did he not realise what precious cargo he had on the back of his bike? But, hey ho, off he went once there was a gap in the traffic, and we lived to see another day. I was well impressed! Once on the A66, I realised why hairy bikers go on the windy back roads, as opposed to dual carriageways. It was like being battered by my helmet in the wind…still it was only for a few miles, as we quickly turned off at Melsonby and headed through the sleepy, picturesque villages of Aldbrough, Manfield and Cleasby, before driving around the outskirts of Darlington to Neasham, Middleton St George…and safely back to Iain’s training centre at Teesside Airport.
When we first set off, my body was as taut as the strings on a tennis racket, but once I realised I was in safe hands and got to grips (literally) with the grab rails, it was absolute heaven. I relaxed and had the most magical journey, taking in all the scenery – the patchwork quilts of fields, the meandering hills of the Yorkshire Dales, the sheep, the cattle, the flowers – and it was really exhilarating. I loved the feeling of the wind coursing through my hair, the freedom of being out on the open road and the joy of seeing nature so close up and personal. But more than anything, little moments of adventure are about embracing life, doing something that really makes your spine tingle and makes you feel alive. It’s about making every second count! Wahahay!
So why did Primula Cheese want me to have a little moment of adventure? As a brand, they’re all about enjoying Little Moments of Big Flavour and are famous for their flavour combinations, so they’re encouraging their customers to try and inject a little bit of adventure into their lives! Plus they’ve just launched a brand new look.
Check it out at http://www.primula.co.uk/