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Piel Island 24th & 25th April. Meet up and route details

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Follow up to the earlier thread about a Possible meet on Piel Island, Morecambe Bay, Barrow in Furness. This thread will contain the detailed arrangements, meet up points, rideout etc.

The dates for this are 24th April and 25th April.

Piel Island is a small island in Morecambe Bay just off the coast near Barrow. It is accessible by a passenger only boat from Roa Island or across the sands at low tide from Walney Island -which is what we will be doing under guidance from the Landlord of the pub.

Camping on the island is "wild camping", ie there are limited facilities, no cut grass, no pitches, no rules, no nothing but there is a £5 charge per tent. In fact there is a pub, a ruined castle and a couple of houses and that's it. Camping on the island is quite popular so we probably won't have it to ourselves but there is plenty of room. The pub obviously has toilets and water and there are also public toilets on the island. I wouldn't count on getting a shower unless its raining. The pub hires out tents: "We have two teepees that sleep twelve and a two man teepee we also have a cupple of two man tants that we hire 2 man tents £15. per night teepees £20.00 per night"

If you want tents book direct with the Pub - mention my name, or XRV or just the date I suppose - tel 07516 453784, ask for sheila.

We can have Barbeques but they must be off the ground - there's some stands for this if you bring a disposable one. There is also strictly no motorcycling on the Island. When we arrive on the island we must park the bikes within about the first 100 yards of the track. Camping stuff needs to be carried to your pitch from there. These are pretty much the only rules. Oh, and you can't camp in the castle grounds.

The pub is currently being refurbished and facilties are limited - they say they have "the bunkhouse bar" that will "stay open 'til the staff drop" and "the Kings Kitchen" which is open for food 8.30am to 9pm. There is an outside Marquee and beer garden, not sure what the indoor facilties are. The main building of the pub is closed but there is a small room at the back with a bar, half-a-dozen table, some trellis benches and stuff. Its nicer than that makes it sound and ideal for a medium size group. The landlady says she will also have a marquee outside for us, I think this attaches to the building as well so its like a large awning/annex thing. It sounded OK. The bar sells a couple of different bitters, lager and cider as well as the usual range of soft drink, hard drink and crisps and stuff. All beer is the same price £2.60 per pint, which seems reasonable and probably dead cheap to you southerners. We will more or less have this to ouselves as the ferry stops early evening. There's about 6 or 8 wooden picnic tables outside too on a lawned area - well cut grass area.

The Kings kitchen is a glorified burger bar - photo's of the menu will on this thread (see post ??? (to be added)).

Crossing to the island.
The exact route and timings will be determined by the pub dependent on the state of tides the sands and so on. I have to phone them 1 week before to confirm. But as low water is at 3.17pm that day so I suggest we aim to cross at around 3.30pm. The normal departure point is Snab Point on Walney Island (GR: SD208 638 ) and this should mean about a 1.5mile crossing on the sands.

This is what the landlady's last email said about the crossing:
Hi, The sands at the walney end are wet and slippy but not overly just good fun!. There is a few deepish gullies and then the rest is quite flat and as you say depending on tide hights and times may be wet or bone dry. If the sand is wet then slow speeds mean less salt on your bikes. If anyone stops on the sand for any reason then they should turn off their engine as the vibrations will get them stuck in the sinking sands so no sightseeing on the way over.

I have since been and looked at the start of the crossing. The first 200 yards is through an area of marshy grass and is well used by the pub's vehicles and the builders who are refurbishing the pub It is rutted in places but the ruts are wide and it shouldn't be a problem crossing this bit. The surface is hard packed stone with a layer of tidal mud and the ruts have 1"-2" of water in them (it had been pissing down so this may not always be the case). When wet the mud is very slippy but it dries out very hard and makes a good surface for riding on, but probably best to keep the main track and ruts. There's photo's in the ride reports forum. Once clear of this area the track broadens out onto the sands proper and it should be pretty straightforward after this. I am told there are some waymarkers to show the main route but this is likely to change with each tide.

I looked at the island end today - very similar to the mainland end but a lot less muddy. The sands were packed very hard and where a Daihatsu 4-track had recently passed left a track only about 1cm deep, footprints also. There were a couple of shallow gullies but no problem and what water was about was no more than 1inch deep. The landlady strongly advised taking it steady else sand and salt water will be all over the bikes. I guess its up to you how to take that.

Some of us from the North West will try and have a trip over beforehand to confirm conditions - but the place is shut until Easter so may not be able to do a proper recce 'til then. Personally I think it will be fine and dry. The worst thats likely to happen is a few slips and slides on muddy bits and some shallow water. Sea water can't be any worse than salty roads. If you drop it it will be on soft stuff so hopefully no damage. The last time I went to Piel Island (yonks ago) they came in a tractor and trailer so assuming its the same (will confirm) pillions and and other luggage should be able to go the trailer.

But, if anyone doesn't want to take their bike over the best place to leave it will be Roa Island and go on the ferry. I can investigate if there is any secure(ish) parking on Roa Island (GR: SD232 648. Roa Island is linked to the mainland by a big causeway). It looks like a safe enough place anyway - there's only about 50 houses. Let me know if you want this, but riding across the sands en-masse will be an awesome experience. Don't miss it.

Leaving the Island
Due to the tides we won't be able to leave the island until Sunday afternoon, but this gives us the chance to sober up. Low tide is about 30 minutes later, but suggest we aim to cross back at say 3pm. This could be a bit earlier as we can cross from 2 hours before low tide, but the longer we leave it the drier it will be.

There is a small risk that if you leave your bike at Roa Island the ferry won't be running the next day if the weather takes a turn for the worse overnight, ie if it gets windy. You could be stranded on the island until the tide is low enough to walk or hitch a ride across the sands in the afternoon and you will land about 5-6miles from Roa Island. If you are thinking about this you had better watch the weather forecast before comitting.
I asked the landlady about this and she said if you need to leave on Sunday they will get you back and at any reasonable time (8am was mentioned) even if the weather is bad and they have to get the power boat out. The Ferry normally starts at around 10am. The ferry costs £4 return and is normally paid on the return journey.
Meet ups
Saturday: As we don't need to cross until the afternoon we have the rest of the day to explore the Lake District, in particular the high and remote passes. Meet at the Carnforth TruckHaven services just off M6 junction 35/35A near Carnforth at 9.30 for 10.00 start. I have only ever gone here for fuel but it does have a good reputation for trucker sized meals and accomodation that is reasonably priced - if anyone from the South is looking for somewhere to stay this would be OK.

The route will then be North on the A6 to the A590 and then pick up the A5074 up the Lyth Valley. This is an excellent twisty road up a valley famous for Damsons - the trees should be in full blossom and is quite a sight. We will cross Windemere on the Hawkshead Ferry (toll £1.50) and then into the Lake district via Hawkshead and into Langdale. Out of Langdale over the pass and the take a right up Wrynose Pass, and then up and over Hardknott pass. We will then head towards Broughton in Furness with a long stop scheduled at the High Cross Inn lunch, tea coffee etc. The High Cross Inn in Broughton in Furness will be a secondary meet up for anyone who missed the rideout from the M6. The High Cross Inn is at point A....A593 - Google Maps

The rideout will be at steady pace with photo stops. We have plenty of time and most of the roads will be choked with tourists anyway.


I am really nervous about the Windermere ferry - if we don't all get across in at least 2 goes we will not have time to complete the rideout and get onto Piel Island before the tide comes in. When the ferry arrives I am therefore planning to tell the Ferry operators that if we can't all get on at once then we will turn round and go via Ambleside instead. Northern/Scottish contingent to be aware - I have Boris' number and will keep you informed.

I am also nervous about some of the mountain roads - Hardknott is particularly challenging for any novices and/or those with pillions and camping gear. An alternative route is available for anyone who wants to miss Hardknott that is just as spectacular (if not more so) but without the very tight, very steep corners.

For anyone going direct to Broughton in Furness it is just off the A595 which part of the South Lakes circular route, but I suggest you do a right at Greenodd as its loads quicker and more scenic. When you get to Broughton just head into the town until you get a square. Cafe is on one of the corners near where the roads heads off towards Ulpha. Its easy to find. Shops, banks and stuff here too for last minute provisions and an excellent real ale pub too.

We will leave Broughton in Furness at 2.30pm to ride to Walney Island. There can be a second secondary meet up for anyone who missed both the previous one's at the Dock Museum (follow the brown signs or LA14 2PW or link.) If you plan to be here let me know as if no one is planning to be here we will abandon the rendezvous)Leave here at 3pm to get to Snab Point about 10minutes later.

Return Journey.
As above we will leave the island at about 3pm. As we will all no doubt be keen to get the salt off the bikes I can lead the way to a rather deep ford about 40 miles from Walney. If its raining this will be impassable but then we won't need it. The ford is on east side of Windermere near Winster (GR: SD534 874). This will add about 10 miles and 30minutes plus play time in the ford to the journey and will mean another trip down the Lyth valley. We will join the M6 at junction 36.

Hope all OK and I am open to suggestions and amendments to all the above. get your names in the calendar so I can warn the pub and the cafe how many to expect.
 

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excellent post Austin, looking forward to this trip, cheers ;)
 

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Hi Austin,

Looking forward to this ( work willing / time off ) sounds like an excellent weekend.

But theres a small mistake in your post:-
Meet at the Poplar2000 Truck Stop just off junction 35/35A near Carnforth.

This Truckstop is:- Carnforth Truckhaven M6 J35 / M601 J35A.

Popular 2000 truckstop is at Lymm, Cheshire M6 J20.

Sorry if i'm being a bit anal about this, or was this a deliberate mistake, to make sure we're all paying attention :rolleyes:

Big Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
But theres a small mistake in your post:-
Meet at the Poplar2000 Truck Stop just off junction 35/35A near Carnforth.

This Truckstop is:- Carnforth Truckhaven M6 J35 / M601 J35A.

Popular 2000 truckstop is at Lymm, Cheshire M6 J20.

Sorry if i'm being a bit anal about this, or was this a deliberate mistake, to make sure we're all paying attention :rolleyes:

Big Dave
:banghead:10/10 dave well done. Now edited; Just testing.:error:
 

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Ok,providing the usual things(work,money,time) count us in.
Deb and I will make a start on the Friday and camp somewhere nearby so we can join the rideout(still want to do the Hardknott on the GSA:D)
Obviously with the late return crossing we will camp again somewhere on the way home so i would need a "Long weekend" for that:rolleyes:
Austin,this sounds like a brilliant trip.Thanks for organising it:thumbup::thumbup:
 

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Hi Austin,

Just joined up for this on the calendar. Am up for the 'recce' too if its a time I can make - give us a shout at work when you know what date is good...

Now I just need to work out how/where to fix that tent to my bike....

Cheers,
Andy
 

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I want to get a post on this thread so I dont miss 'owt :D

Let me know when the recce is Austin so I can find the best spot to pitch my tent :bom: :blob::blob::blob:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
as there still seems to be some concern about crossing the I have sought some reassurances from the pub together with a possible recce. They don't seem keen on the recce bit, but said " the only problem crossing the sands is that sand will get in everthing".

In my experience there won't be any loose and dry beach sand to ride across as at high tide the whole lot is covered with water. As the tide goes out the sand obviously gets exposed and as it drains and dries it usually dries to a very hard and smooth surface. There will be some wet bits and quicksand - but that is why we get guided across the sands so we don't plunge into them. The crossing is not 100% risk free but equally you will not need knobblies or other mods to do this but you will have achieved something unique. My wife is planning to come on her CBR125 and is unfazed by the prospect.
 

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Ok,providing the usual things(work,money,time) count us in.
Deb and I will make a start on the Friday and camp somewhere nearby so we can join the rideout(still want to do the Hardknott on the GSA:D)
Obviously with the late return crossing we will camp again somewhere on the way home so i would need a "Long weekend" for that:rolleyes:
Austin,this sounds like a brilliant trip.Thanks for organising it:thumbup::thumbup:
Pete, you are both more than welcome to stay here Friday and Sunday nights :cool:

Phil & Vanessa
 

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as there still seems to be some concern about crossing
I'm more concerned about wrynose and hardknot ......I've got bad memories of it and still pain in my ankle and a dodgy thumb as a reminder:confused:
 

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You might want to consider crossing at, or preferably before, low water, rather than after, so if there's any delay or problem you've got more time to get out of the way before the tide comes in again. (That's on the basis of experience of tides and causeways generally - I don't know this place, and don't know how long the sands are uncovered.)

I don't have detailed tide tables to hand, but as far as I can see that date is a moderate tide (between springs and neaps) so it won't be a particularly low (dry) low tide, though neither as high (wet) as it sometimes is (if you follow my drift).

I do hope to join you, but chances are probably less than 50% at present.
 

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this trip is sooooo tempting....as at now work gets in the way but if anything changes I am up for it...
 

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I'm more concerned about wrynose and hardknot ......I've got bad memories of it and still pain in my ankle and a dodgy thumb as a reminder:confused:
Some people collect souvenirs from where they have been, Russ just saves up sore bits!;):D:D



Andy.
 

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I'm booked to be in Windermere for the Friday night. Tryiong to work out how little weight I can come with yet still bring the camping gear??
 
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