Thursday, September 13, 2012

UK: England and Scottland

First off:
England + Scotland + Wales = Great Britain
England + Scotland + Wales + Northern Ireland = United Kingdom. 
Now you don't have to be confused like I was. 

August 31. Rushden (Northamptionshire) to Hathersage. 127 Miles
I was trying to make it to the Adventure Spec shop to pick up a few needed items but Travel is slow if you are stopping to take pictures. I stopped in Hathersage for the night at a pub that had rooms. 50 pounds got a pretty nice room at the Little John. I met some nice People and learned how to play UK rules pool. There are red balls, blue balls and the 8 ball. (Like solids and stripes). If you don't hit your ball first, scratch or miss your ball completely, its like a scratch and the other player gets 2 shots. One from the kitchen then another shot. Its quite fun.

September 1. Hathersage to Leyburn. 116 Miles
I woke up to an alarm so I wouldn't miss breakfast. I was definitely feeling to hungover to face the day. I went north to Mytholmroyd but Adventure Spec is closed on a Saturday. On the way north I stopped in a town called Oxenhope for lunch and caught my first cricket game. I am more confused now after watching for a while then I was before. The Rest of the day was spent on single track roads in the countryside. I even found a bit of dirt. I stayed the night in Leyburn at a Pub for 30 pounds. (Closer to my price range). At another pub, the cute bartender told me she used to be a horse jockey. I replied I've never ridden a horse in my life. "I've been you've ridden plenty of horses!" She said.

Volkswagen actually sold the polo like this. 

This is the Ladybower reservoir. It was built a long while ago then rebuild larger during WWII to test the "bouncing bomb" on. From what I can gather, there are 3 other reservoirs that the RAF used to test the Bouncing bomb.
A gaggle f old Austins

My first Cricket match. 

Looks like the exhaust needs to be changed some

The REAL fore escort.

Amazing roads. 

It almost looked man made.

September 2. Leyburn to Arrochar (near Loch Lomond). 256 Miles
First time in Scotland. I see a change instantly when I cross the boarder. In small towns now when I wave, people wave back instead of look at me funny. Lots of rolling hills and finally some good views of mountains and lochs once I got through Glasgow. I had to use the heated grips for the last 1/2 hour of the ride.

British version of Extratufs? 

My first meal in Scotland

Rolling hills in Southern Scotland


September 3. Arrochar to Glenfinnan. 163 Miles
Sun in the morning and rain in the afternoon. I saw some amazing Castles. I was trying to make it to Isle of Skye but the Mallaig to Skye ferry was not running due to the wind and rain. So I spent the night in a B&B and watched it rain most of the night.

Toggle switches for the lights?!?!?! My kind of place!

Rasta cow.

I slipped on the mud and fell on my ass on the way down a hill to get these pictures. Well worth it. 

Scotish meat pie

Purple flowers
September 4. Glenfinnan to Applecross. 207 Miles
Once again, sun in the moring, rain in the afternoon. One of the most interesting parts was riding over the pass into Applecross. It is the highest pass in the UK. The wind was so strong at the top it blew me and the bike over while I was sitting still. I got the Scotland midge experiance camping in Applecross. How to deal with midges: 1. Wear long cloths. 2. Apply a thick cover of DEET over everything.

The Ferry to Isle of Skye

"Look at that KTM" 

A Skoda Caddy. 

Climbing up the east side of the pass

The highest pass in the UK

In the Applecross camp site. I hope there are no lions here! Do I need to be up in the air also?

Attempting to dry...
September 5. Applecross to Loch Meadie. 239 Miles
Great breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Loving the smoked salmon in Scotland. The story of the day: You can go anywhere in Scotland on foot because there are no tresspassing laws.. just don't try to fish that river or loch you find. Those are private. Most of my day was spent trying to figure out who to ask to fish. The route I planned on taking was on an "estate" and they didn't want me to take the moto over because people were "stalking" deer. Grrr. The road shouldn't have been in the map book if it was gated. The loch I camped next to had trout in it. I'm not going to tell you how I know that.

Smoked Salmon and Eggs! My new favorite breakfast. 

My route was blocked by a gate. Everything is private in Scotland.

A river I could not fish.. because it was private

My camping spot for the night
EFF these guys!

Getting eaten alive by midges!

September 6. Loch Meadie to Innverness. RAIN
I woke up to some pretty strong wind and had to add extra stakes to the tent. One corner was staked and the other was tied to the motorcycle. I didn't realize at the time but when I opened the tent, a thousand midges came in. Luckley the wind was strong enough to keep the holding onto the screen and not going after my face. I slept the rest of the night with a t-shirt over my head and just my mouth sticking out. I woke up to very very strong winds and hard rain. I hate packing away the tent wet but there was no other option. I was soaked by the time I started riding. Warm soup, a BLT and Coffee was welcomed in Lairg. They had wireless so I caught up on some emails instead of going back out in the rain. Stayed the night in a hostel in Inverness to dry out.

September 7. Innverness to Edinburgh 200 Miles
I went down the south side of Loch Ness to Fort Agustus then worked my way back to the motorway to Edinburgh. I didn't see Nessy although I wasn't looking to hard. I pulled into Edinburgh around rush hour and found my way to Rebecca and Michell's apartment. Rebecca was a brides maid in my sister in law's wedding. They met in vet school at the University of Edinbugh. Good people. Thanks for the place to stay guys!

Loch Ness

 Falls of Foyers

The channel near Fort Augustus

This church is "only" 150 years old. They took the roof off in the 60s to stop paying taxes on it. 

Unimogs can do anything!

September 8. Edinburgh
Walked around Edinbugh in the afternoon and snapped some pictures. I got a "hot turkish shave" in a barber shop. I have never had a straght razor shave and it was quite nice. I had some buyers remorse about shaving off the beard but I am over it now because it is growing back already. At least it got rid of that 1 grey hair I found the other day! EEK! We went out that night and walked around Edinburgh and went to a few pubs. We were on a mission to get Haggis but it was to late. Not this trip apparently.

Rebecca and Michell

September 9. Edinburgh to Byrness. 65 Miles
I slept in until 12 and didn't get on the road until 4:30 in the afternoon. I didn't make it very far before I just wanted to go back to bed. Especially when it started to rain on me.

September 10. Byrness to Rushden. 328 Miles
Since I didn't go ANYWHERE on the 9th, it was time to make some mileage up. I had to stop in at Adventure Spec for a new tank bag. On the way I had the privilege of meeting Lucy Sandys-Clarke. She is a 29 year old blacksmith or "smithy" as the call it here. Her work is amazing and she was a real joy to talk to. If you are ever need some real iron work done, you should stop by and talk to her. You should also go to her website and see her portfolio. It is so good to see someone reviving a lost trade and actually building things. On the way to Adventure Spec my Garmin 62st decided to take a shit. It uses a mini USB connection for the power supply. It is obviously not a good design for the vibration/water/dust of motorcycle travel. I now have a Garmin Montana! I was leary of the touch screen but I am very pleased about the rugged craddle, rechargeable battery and large screen. I rode motorway to Rusden and pulled in around 10:30 at night.
One of the most interesting people I have met in a long time. 

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The old smithy used to test the sheep horn burners on the door frame. 

"Where's the go button?"


Adventure Spec. This shop is dangerous for me.
It is the 14th now and I am getting ready to head south toward France. I have decided not to try to go into Norway and Sweden at this point because I have spent longer in the UK then I thought. The weather is turning cold and there is still so much of Europe I want to see! The past 2 days I have done a few finisthing touches to my "new" bike and I did some work on the "old" bike that was recovered. It will be in storage in the UK waiting to travel again. 

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