It was August Bank Holiday. Our family had arranged a surprise 30th birthday present for my youngest daughter’s bike-riding boyfriend. My son was going to join us, and we had booked up the Buccleuch Arms in Moffat, just over the Scottish Border. I had wanted to go for many years as I had heard such good reports about it in the national bike press. It has a hearty welcome for bikers but also cyclists and walkers.

It was part of that very hot summer, (too hot for biking?!). Reece, whose birthday
it was, arranged to meet us at our house in Whitley Bay with my son John Paul, so the three of us set off together. We had a combined age of 126, so I will let you do the maths!

To help you out, I passed my bike test on a CB125 Honda in 1979. Reece had been riding for some time, and my son had passed his direct access a few years ago. I passed my IAM advanced test in August 2000. With our differing riding experiences, our bikes couldn’t have been more different either.

Reece had a Suzuki GSXR1000 (Gixxer) in the usual Suzuki livery. JP had a two-year- old retro classic candy gold metallic flaked Royal Enfield 650 Interceptor- not the 1960s version! He had previously ridden my 1981 classic Triumph Bonneville, and I was on my VFR – X Crossrunner -funny name – which
is the sit-up version of the Honda VFR – V4. We set off on a jaunt over the borders for an overnight stay, some nosh, some craic and a leisurely ride back.

What a cracking ride! We had perfect conditions towards Otterburn. The sweeping bends and straights are made for biking and on towards Carter Bar on one of my favourite runs. Onto the windy tops, where you can see for miles and that great, winding uphill sprint to the Carter Bar border with Bonny Scotland.

Stopping at the mobile burger van, we were just about to get a shot against the standing stone with one of the resident pipers, when a coach of Dutch tourists descended, and that was that!

Sharp left and through Bonchester Bridge, Hawick and Selkirk and then turn off for St Mary’s Loch on the A708 from Selkirk to Moffat. What a road. It was so good we did the whole run straight through without stopping. Our journey’s end was Moffat and the Buccleuch Arms.

Dave, the Zimbabwean owner, made us feel welcome,and although I did ask him if he was South African, he took it in good humour. The facilities for bikers have to be seen to be believed. Everything is ultra-secure, with separate garages on the site. Gates are locked, and it would take something extraordinary to have anything stolen from there. I don’t think anyone would fancy facing a horde of bikers! Derek showed us all the facilities, and we could have washed our bikes, free of charge with all his cleaning products. We simply cleaned our fly bespattered helmets and got out of our biking gear.

The sports bar opposite called for an afternoon watching some footy in good company and after a cracking ride. A biker at the bar told me that the correct pronunciation of the hotel is “Bichhluucchh”. Now I know. We had a great meal. I chose a curry dish “Bobotie”. After a couple of drinks in the bar, we had an early night as we were all tired before the hearty Scottish breakfast and our return home.

We took the A74 towards Carlisle, straight onto the dual carriageway beside Moffat, and left after Gretna for a great run via Longtown on the A6071 to Brampton and then took the B6318 Military Road past Sycamore Gap and into Newcastle and home.

I couldn’t fault Dave and his Zimbabwean staff’s welcome. Nothing was a bother. He has tons of ideas for motorcycle, cycle and walking routes around the area, and with his legendary good humour – this was a place to go back to. A great lad’s trip, highly recommended.

Mark Hipkin is a Partner/ Head of the Personal Injury and Civil Litigation department. He welcomes your e-mails or calls on the law (or your biking experiences) at or call 0191 2533509.

Mary was born and has lived all her life in the North East of England. Her first interest was science and she originally studied Biomedical Science at Northumbria and worked in the scientific research field and the NHS, before studying part time, again at Northumbria University, to obtain her degree in Law. Since then she has enjoyed a varied career covering many different areas of law, before specialising in Children Law, which she has done almost exclusively for the past 5 years.

Mary loves reading and history and at a weekend can often be found at one of the many historical sites the North East has to offer and has even been known to play video games when she can find the time.

Chris was originally a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives from 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2001.

He has over 25 years experience in private client work comprising Wills, Trusts, Probate, Powers of Attorney and other Court of Protection Work such as Deputyship applications. Chris has been a Partner in several firms in the North East, being Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate.

He brings a wealth of experience to his role and works closely with clients, providing them with a service tailored to their needs

Susan was born and bred in the North East, spending all of her working life in Blyth. She qualified in 1981 and, after some years at Alderson Law, began to specialise in family law, covering both private and legal aid. Susan was a member of the Law Society Family Panel and an accredited Resolution specialist, specialising particularly in private children law and domestic violence.

Susan took part-retirement in December 2018 but still works as a Solicitor here at Alderson Law. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, walking, reading, and spending time with her family. She has also been a Brownie leader for over 40 years.

Originally from East Yorkshire, Jasmine moved to the North East in 2012 to study at Northumbria University undertaking the M Law Exempting (BPTC) course (the only undergraduate course in England and Wales which incorporates the Bar Professional Training Course), graduating in 2016 with a First Class Honours and a Very Competent in the Bar Professional Training Course. Prior to joining Alderson Law Jasmine specialised in RTA Fraud in a Personal Injury firm, before moving to another firm to work as a Family Law Paralegal.

In 2018 she joined our team as a Family Law Paralegal and before qualifying as a Solicitor within the Family Law Department based at our Morpeth office. Jasmine represents clients in a wide range of matters including; divorce and matrimonial finance, disputes regarding the arrangements for children as well as parents who are subject to Local Authority involvement both before and during Court proceedings.

In her spare time Jasmine likes visiting the beach, going to the gym, watching live music and looking after her pet rabbit.

Julie is a highly experienced property solicitor. She studied Law at Northumbria University and, after qualifying in 2000, went on to work at national and international firms prior to joining the team at Alderson Law in 2017. She works alongside her clients, advising on residential and commercial property development, property investment, portfolio management, property finance, landlord and tenant, easements and restrictive covenants.

Fiona is a specialist private client lawyer providing advice and assistance with wills, trusts, tax planning, probate & estate administration, lasting powers of attorney, court of protection and elderly client work. Having previously worked with a number of Newcastle-based firms listed in The Legal 500, Fiona brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. She is a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), the association for specialists in family inheritance and succession planning.

Fiona grew up in Northern Ireland and studied law at Durham University, and has remained in the North East ever since. She enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage in Northumberland.

Mark Hipkin, partner at Alderson Law LLP, has been advising businesses and claimants since he qualified as a solicitor in 1982.

Mark’s passion is for representing claimants on two wheels in complex, serious and catastrophic motorcycle, scooter and cycle injuries, but he also has extensive experience of acting for claimants in many other personal injury areas including occupiers and public liability work and accidents at work. He specialises in challenging and complex cases. Mark always puts the client first, looking from the first day of instruction to obtain the best and fairest outcome for a claimant, no matter how long a case may take. He is a fan of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and early neutral valuation as alternatives to litigation. Sometimes, however, litigation is the best option, together with the necessary drive to see every matter through to a fair conclusion.

Mark also, having started his own business, advises business clients, often with motorcycle-, scooter- or cycle-related businesses and also deals with complex commercial disputes, professional negligence cases, and general civil litigation.

Mark likes to spend what free time he has with his family and practising Tai Chi and Tang Soo Do (Korean Karate – in which he is a second Dan).

Having worked in family law for over 25 years, Julie is a highly accomplished specialist in her field. She has a vast body of experience in dealing with family law, from divorce and related financial issues to complex child-related cases. Julie was the first person in North Tyneside to achieve the status of an accredited advanced family law specialist, and is a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Panel, which demonstrates her experience in complex contested family cases and other subject-specific matters.

Though multi-talented and highly experienced, Julie’s particular speciality is in complex ancillary relief (financial settlement) claims and complex residence and contact disputes.

In her spare time Julie enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family and three grandchildren. She attends clients at our Whitley Bay and Blyth offices.

Tracey is one of our Partners and qualified as a solicitor in 1997. Throughout her career she has had a varied caseload undertaking matters in most areas of civil and private client law. Tracey can assist clients in a wide range of matters including: Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney, Debt Recovery, Residential and Commercial Conveyancing as well as Licensing and Landlord and Tenant matters.

Tracey is one of our most senior practitioners with over 20 years of local experience, having graduated from both Newcastle University and Northumbria University. When not in the office she enjoys walking, cycling, and cooking with her family.