2024 Big Weekend - 2 Day Run

Following some late unavoidable cancellations this year's big weekend consisted of only two cars.  Liz and Arthur brought their trusty MG TF and Mike and Denise brought their newly aqcuired MG TF for its first proper outing.   Our meeting at the Blackbird in Ponteland was somewhat delayed as Mike and Denise had a minor mishap on the way when their rear view mirror decided it no longer wanted to be attached to the windscreen and made a bid for freedom.  As it happens, the TF rear view mirror also houses the interior lights for the car and so there is a cheeky cable (normally) hidden in the screen surround which retained the miror and left it swinging in the cockpit.  Some judicious use of gaffer tape secured the mirror safely to the screen and away we went.

After meeting Liz and Arthur at Ponteland we set off for Hexham via Kirkharle and we settled into the Wentworth Cafe for a well earned coffee.  From Hexham we headed out to Alston and from there across the dales to Middleton-in-Teesdale where we had intended to stop for lunch - only to find our chosen pub closed for the afternoon.  Undeterred we pushed on to Kirkby Steven and had a great snack at the White Hare Cafe.  Once we were refreshed, we set off again heading South and then turning eastwards at Nateby following a most interesting road through Keld, then Reeth, and onwards to Richmond.  From Richmond we followed more traditional roads up and around the East of Darlington to our overnight stop at the Premier Inn, Morton Park.   We were both pleased to have made it through the whole day without the weather giving us any cause to consider closing the car roofs.

Map of Saturday Route     Saturday Route Map


The restaurant adjoining the hotel was a beefeater and so we enjoyed a hearty supper, and as we had pre-booked and pre-paid for dinner and breakfast it all seemed to be rather inexpensive.  We had a leisurely breakfast at 8.30 the following morning (it wouldn't have been quite so leisurely 30 mins later as the queues at the buffet were really something) and prepared for the off.  The skies were much brighter than the forecast had predicted and so we opted for roof down - even if if it was only going to last till lunchtime.

We had no planned route for the second day, although we did have a few stopping places in mind, the first being Barnard Castle.  We asked our TomTom route planner to find us the "thrilling" route (their term, not ours) from the hotel to Barney and were somewhat bemused by starting off through the middle of Darlington and out past the Memorial Hospital which wasn't very thrilling at all.  However, things then picked up as we went through Summerhouse where we were amused by the warning sign for "Elderly People Crossing" which sahred a pole with the 50MPH sign.  The road beacme narrower and twistier as we progressed and was, perhaps, even more interesting than yesterday's road to Richmond.  We were very relieved though to find there was bridge over the river alongside the ford (I think it was whorlton) which would have swept our cars away quite easily.  We eventually picked up the A67 and dropped into Barney where we parked up and had coffee.

From Barney we headed to Teesdale Cheesmakers at Copley / Butterknowle for a spot of cheese shopping and then home via Eggleston, Stanhope, Edmondbuyers, Throckley, and Ponteland.  We had planned a coffee stop along the way but as we headed North the clouds got steadily darker and heavier so we made a dash for home before the rain came..  All in, we'd covered about 250 miles over the two days.


Map of Sunday Route

Map of Saturday Route
Map of Sunday Route