As the weather changes and the riding season draws to a close I pondered a very important question ‘how many Ladies of Harley can you fit in a phone box. Turns out it’s 10 (well almost) and one supportive chap to stop it falling over.

This picture sums up the LOH Sparkle Tour – North, perfectly. A bunch of women doing something a bit different, in beautiful scenery and having a ball.

When the Sparkle Tour announced there would be one in the North I said to myself ‘I fancy that’ thinking I’d get a few miles out on the road and see some sights. Well I got way more than that, I met some lovely lovely ladies, rode lots and lots of miles in beautiful scenery and laughed so hard it hurt. The warm welcome we got at the Dealerships was heart warming and cakes and gifts abounded.

We set off from Newcastle Dealership. Leslie’s top box was filled with muffins and croissants, not think that’s what the dealership manager meant by ‘help yourself’ but the mischief had begun. We quickly settled into the buddy system and staggered riding and enjoyed a good few miles through the countryside. Dawn set a steady pace and we enjoyed the fun of the ride, just us gals. Unfortunately a very inconsiderate truck driver had dropped a load of oil on a slow corner just on the edge of Coldstream and our front runners hit the deck unceremoniously. 4 hunky soldiers ran to the rescue and it was evident from their slips and near falls that the whole road was like an ice rink. Safely pushed to the side of the road, our trusty support man John used muscles and a big pry bar to put the bikes to right. The fire brigade arrived and set to cleaning the road. We had a few tears, a few emotional moments, a little dance and some of those sweet treats from Leslie’s top box(most welcome in a tricky spot). After the police took statements we set off again, taking an alternative route to avoid further oils spills from the trucker. Arriving late at Edinburgh Harley, sandwiches and Krispy Kremes were most welcome. Medical attention for Dawn’s injured foot and we were ready for action. We could have cut that day short but such was the tenacity of the ladies we decided that the show must go on. We set off for Falkirk and a lovely view of the Kelpies, continued west via Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, headed towards Loch Lomond returning back across the River Clyde on the Erskine Bridge.

The Premier Inn in Braehead, very close to the Glasgow Harley Dealership awaited us. A surprisingly good dinner awaited us and as the conversation flowed and the laughter rand. 4 lovely ladies from Clyde Valley joined us for dinner and brought some lovely gifts which went to our bruised ladies. A very kind and thoughtful gesture from the Clyde Valley Ladies (Janice, Karen May and Yvonne). I think they were reward by a fun evening and many laughs.

I won’t begin to try to describe Sue in a silver Unitard from head to toe but if you’ve seen the pictures you can imagine the hilarity at the dinner table. Tears did flow but this time from laughter.

Next morning we headed to Glasgow Harley for bacon rolls and a cuppa before a grand send off from Clyde Valley Ladies and their men folk.

Two of the Clyde ladies (Catherine and Yvonne) joined us for the next leg of the journey. I think they enjoyed themselves enough to sign up for the full thing next year. We headed south across Fenwick Moore, down to Dumfries and into Gretna for lunch at the Gretna Hall Hotel. Don’t think you’d call the grooms, best men and ushers of the weddings, hunky but they were wearing kilts so the pictures were ‘cheeky’.

Sparkle Tour North

We headed to the lakes next and up the Kirstone Pass. Wow. Those of you who have been to Wake the Lakes will be familiar with the Pass and the

twists and turns as you wind yourself up to the top. Narrow and walled in places, it’s a real fun ride with breathtaking views as your reward.

As a trike rider, I got a good work out and was glad I had a few miles of practice under my belt to prepare me for the different style of handling twisty roads.

Preston Dealership was our last stop that day. We were a bit late so didn’t expect much of a welcome but how wrong were we. The Dealership might have been closed for the day but they kept it open for us and the lovely ladies of Red Rose Chapter were out in force. There was lots of home baking and lashings of tea to revive us after our travels. The ladies had waited a good few ours for our arrival and we really appreciated their kindness and efforts. A number of them even joined us for dinner that night which was another fun and entertaining evening.

Sandy from Aire Valley joined us at Preston and we regaled her with our adventures, telling her all about the great welcomes we had received on the way. ‘I hope they remember your coming to Leeds tomorrow’ was all she had to say about our next Dealership visit so we weren’t expecting much as we left Preston and headed over to Leeds on the Sunday morning. If you’ve been to the Leeds Dealership you’ll know that you drive past it and double back to get in. Well we were amazed at the reception from the crowd lining the length of the car park. We though Clyde Valley and Red Rose had done us proud but Aire Valley and Sherwood Chapters were out in force to meet us. To say there were tears would be an understatement. The warm welcome from the crowd and the sense of achievement in completing our journey together was overwhelming and the tears of sheer joy arrived.

We still had a few miles to cover to get home but we said goodbye to most of our gang in Leeds with promises to meet again to ‘Share the ‘Spark’ next year. Hopefully we can all meet again before then but for sure we’ll all be there and hopefully a few new faces who hear about our adventure and want to join the fun.

Well thats the story and all that remains is to Thank everyone we met on the journey, all the lovely ladies who rode the full ride or just a part, to the lovely John from Hadrian V Twin Tours for taking good care of us in the support vehicle and the biggest thank you to Lorraine McGuire for organising and leading the whole thing.

Sparkle Tour North

Share the Spark Ladies of Harley.

Jean Ann McKinnell, Dunedin Chapter

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