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Hay on Wye -April 2012

A weekend at Baskerville Hall, Clyro, Hay on Wye.
Pictures - see below
6th,7th April
Organiser: Brian Caswell

BASKERVILLE HALL WEEKEND

I first made enquires at the hotel early last year having seen their advertisement in the Classic bike Guide magazine. I knew the location, as we pass it frequently on Jackie's many trips to Hereford Hospital,and having organised several (usually wet) weekends at Llanwrtyd Wells I wondered if a change of venue would be a good idea, so I put it to the AGM and got a thumbs up.

The hotel owner was very helpful when we checked it out, saying he welcomed biking groups and has never had any trouble, especially from the geriatrics. The facilities I found superb, including swimming pool, sauna, two bars, excellent dining areas and a huge variety of rooms ranging from dormitories, budget rooms, standard rooms and executive suites. The hotel is set in stunning grounds looking across the valley to Hay on Wye.

As our dates happened to be the Easter weekend it was made clear that we had to book early with deposits; unfortunately some were disappointed. Jackie and I checked out Saturday's route on the Cali the previous week in 21°C temperatures and wall to wall sunshine. It was the first decent run out we'd had since the old ‘ticker' was repaired and given its 72 year overhaul, and Jackie's metal joints given a workout - an excellent day out.

28 hardy souls duly arrived at the hotel on Good Friday in overcast, cool conditions with lingering snow still lying on the hills above Hay on Wye. There was plenty of the usual hugs and mickey-taking before folks booked in. I got on the end of most of the mickey-taking when folks realised that Jackie and I had been forced to upgrade to an executive double in order to allow Frank and Linda to have a double bedded room (why they wanted this I cannot imagine). We had a constant stream of visitors on guided tours of our suite which was a huge room,double aspect, with an 8 foot four poster bed, a five foot diameter bath,trouser press, huge television, etc., etc.

Friday, late afternoon and early evening, nearly everyone met in the bar for a few jars and much noisy yarn swapping as usual. Dave Gilligan was unfortunate to have his army style Rotax-engined bike suffer a major oil leak which meant he had to be ‘rescued' and eventually transported home. The evening meals were deemed to be excellent, with a wide choice, even the house red was perfectly palatable, and the Wye bitter too.Well fed and mellow it was up the magnificent staircase to the land of nod in the four poster.

We left about 10am for the ride out, while some keen members took advantage of the location to do something called walking. Frank, Linda and Doug Chapman led off on the vintage Ariel and Harley bikes. I have long since learned never to try to keep up with them around mud strewn narrow roads, which formed the first part of the route,which be devious means led to a coffee break in Tenbury Wells. Soon after the start, the heavens opened, which was not forecast, (we were in England), and continued through Bromyard and the outskirts of Hereford via some more mud strewn B roads back into Wales where it stopped raining and we had a much better ride on dry, well surfaced bendy roads. The route led over the toll bridge to Hay on Wye, but several of us followed Laurie Shep's idea to go to our hotel, have a bar snack and a pint. I like Laurie – you can always rely on him!

Saturday evening was almost a repeat of Friday, except I managed to get the hotel boss to let us have the sole use of one dining room, so the noise level increased to its normal volume. After dinner we were entertained by Graham and Mick on the piano on the main staircase. A few more drinks and up the few remaining stairs to the four poster. After another good kip it was time for breakfast, and then it was time to say goodbyes to all and sundry. Lyn and Arthur Spain opted to stay an extra night. I have a feeling this could have been a mistake, as the forecast for Monday for Wales and the West Country was awful. In fact as I am writing this, 25 miles from the hotel, it is pouring down and blowing a gale. Good job I washed the salt and mud off the Cali yesterday.

From the feedback I got from those attending, it would appear that almost everyone would like another weekend there. If this is the case I would be happy to do the honours.

Brian Caswell


See Pictures below, courtesy of Vince Noad and Bill Fishwick.