Finding hilltop towers and forts

Ok, so I have a weird fascination with getting to places on my motorcycle, whether in the middle of the woods, on top of  hills or mountains…or just in the back of beyond. I like to think I could go where no other biker has been before with their motorcycle, but I realise  that is highly unlikely…however it is that notion that feeds my imagination.

The great thing about the summer months is that trails and general routes are open and largely accessible too. Some routes you can eek along on the bike to the final destination, but other journeys need a little more work to achieve whatever goal you’ve set yourself.

In my Biker’s Travelog series on my Youtube/RevelatorAlf channel, I attempt to find places on a map or that I spot by chance on my travels…then I make a decision to try to get there and see what I find.

Yesterday was yet another mammoth ride with a full day spent seeking out such places, six hours in the saddle and some great mysteries were uncovered along the way too, however there were also a few failed attempts along the way…I wish I could forget those but I can’t.

I have spent the best part of my life looking up to the top of a hill that I know. There has always been a tower on the summit which was always a mystery to me. Before the advent of the internet I would rely on locals for information about it, the only problem is that everyone would have a different story to tell. The same was said about ways to get up there by vehicle, by horse or on foot. Some would say it could be done, whilst others were quite dismissive. However as I’ve got older I’ve come to realise that there are rarely places that cannot be accessed, it just requires a little willpower and sometimes the purpose to ignore the advice and the stories…and just go find out for yourself.

Very recently I started to think about getting to the top of the hill to see this tower…and so I started to study maps again to see if there was a route that I could take to get there. I knew there were bridleways from the other side of the hill in the next county, but there also appeared to be a track that could at least get me halfway up the hill…and the rest would have to be completed on foot.

So I set off in search of castle ruins, hill top towers and forts…and galloping horses on the side s of hills. My first attempt to access the hill would be via a route that would take me past some castle ruins that sat upon a fort, but the closer I got, only then did I realise that the ruins did not exist, however the fort did…but the trail ended.

My second attempt, took me via another route but halfway along the access had been blocked by a gate and the trail designation had been changed to prohibit motor vehicles…bugger. My third attempt took me along a rutted track until I came across a very steep narrow trail that would take me through wooded areas to the top of the hill. However something was telling me not to attempt it this time. I’ve learned to listen to my gut feeling over the years and not even wait for reasoned debate either. Perhaps I knew that on the other side of the hill there could be a shallower ascent or perhaps the heat was getting to me.

Finally, I made it to the other side of the hill and found a track that miraculously opened up before me and I was able to make it to the summit on the bike…to admire the view, the tower and fort…all in one. A life long itch had been scratched…and in the end it wasn’t too taxing either.

I was on a roll, so I decided to push on and ride to a couple more hill forts on my way back home…and I made it there too. OK, on the first I made a bit of an accidental wrong turn and was halted in my tracks by representatives of National Heritage. However they were also very pleasant and helpful, so I was able to park very near by and merely walk 100 meters or so to reach the summit.

The last destination was really hidden away from prying eyes and didn’t have any vehicle access to it either, however I met a lovely farmer type who gave me permission to ride along his farm trail to get up close and on top of it too. Another amazing find, great view and a great ride too.

All of these trials have been uploaded to YouTube and will be published soon, so go check out the channel or check for regular blog posts updates.

There’s so much more out there, and I can’t wait to see what else I can find and ride my bike to. Catch you on the next Biker’s Travelog

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