Boffin Posted May 7, 2006 Share Posted May 7, 2006 Day 1 - Home to Aberdeenshire I met Kathy and George as planned at Trowell services on the M1,at 07:00 on the morning of Saturday 30th April. We headed north, using motorways and Trunk roads, following the line of the old Great North Road. We stopped for Breakfast near Catterick camp, one of the main UK army bases. From there we went to Newcastle, where we picked up the A696 to the A68 into Jedburgh, where we stopped for a break and George bought himself a cashmere sweater to help ward off the cold that belied the sunny weather. Edinburgh was reached and the Forth Bridge crossed as we headed for a couple of RBR landmarks on the way to Dundee. From there it was via Montrose and thence to our respective lodgings, George and Kathy staying at a b&B at Johnshaven, me a little further north at my old friends house. Totty and Jackie were there usual warm and generous selves, and once again I was reminded why I count these two as amongst my closest friends. Day 2 - Aberdeenshire to Caithness George and Kathy met me at Totty's and after I introduced everybody we said our farewells and headed north once more. More RBR landmarks were added as we flew northwards via Banff, Forres and Inverness in glorious sunshine, though the sea wind was chilling. This is traditionally the gateway to the Highlands, and after its passing the country became more rugged, if still low-lying on this eastern coast. As we went north, we passed a lad doing his own end 2 end, heading south on a skateboard..... We finished the day at Dunnet Head, the most northerly point in Britain. Later we will visit Lizard Point, to get the most southerly, adding another string to the bow. Once again we retired to separate B&Bs - this is what happens when you leave booking too late! Day 3 - John o' Groats to Fort William I awoke to rain, and strong howling winds. My hosts at the Bencorragh house B&B were charming and friendly, though outdone by their red setter. The cats were proudly aloof as the dog said Love Me! Love Me! How could anyone resist such a beautiful animal? We met as planned at John o' Groats, posed for the obligatory sign-post photo taken by the official photographer and set off at 10:02 in blustery rain and high winds. By the time we passed Doonray the rain had subsided and the pattern for the day was set. The winds would gradually drop, but the rain was to come and go all day. We stopped for tea and cake at the café-come-tourist office at Bettyhill. Here we decided to change the route,rather than go via Lairg, we would take the coast road, which was lower, and would allow us to take in another RBR landmark. George spotted a good photo, so naturally I pinched the idea Having recorded the monument to the mini-sub flotillas who trained in the area, we pressed on to Ullapool for a superb lunch in a tea shop. The bikes refuelled, we set off for Fort William and the Westhaven guest house. Fort William was awash with motorcycles, more particularly trials and enduro bikes. The Scottish Six Day Trial was in town, no wonder we had difficulty in finding accommodation here. At the B&B we were welcomed and offered a lift into town for our evening repast. This generous offer we declined in favour of eating at a larger hotel a few doors up the road - arranged by out hosts. I have been impressed by the performance of my Continental Road Attack tyres, the wet roads were not noticed, with FULL lean angles comfortable. The only time they lost traction was crossing wet cattle grids. The day's Statistics: Mileage: 274.1 Average Speed (driving) 50.0 mph (not bad on wet highland roads) Overall average 38.8 mph Driving time: 5hrs, 29 mins and 14 secs Stopped time 1.35.07 Total time for the day 7:04:21 Day 4 - Fort William to Aspatria After a fine Scots breakfast, we headed south once more. As we were leaving the B&B the leading few riders of a cycle race went past in the direction we were taking, luckily we were able to get out before the peleton arrived. The weather was dull overcast, but for the moment dry. This was to change. We soon passed the lead cyclists and set about the A82, this is a beautiful road, running from Inverness to Glasgow, it passes Loch Ness, Loch Linnhe, through Glen Coe, then on to Loch Lomond. As we passed Kinlochleven the rain started, gentle at first it was soon to become heavy. On the way up to Glen Coe we had to stop at some road repairs. The lights were staying red far longer than would be normal, then the works foreman came down speaking to the drivers and riders waiting to pass - the road was blocked and it would be at least 10-15 minutes before it was clear. We switched off our engines and I took out my camera. A little further back in the queue a Springer Spaniel escaped from a car and ran across the road and jumped the low wall. The other side of the low wall was a 100 foot deep gully carrying a small river, the gully was steep sided and slick, with long drops from rock to rock. By some miracle the dog survived the fall and was running round by the fast-flowing river. This is the gully, somewhere down there is the dog. The dog's distraught owner grabbed some boots and was going to climb down after the dog, but we persuaded her that getting her neck broken would not help the animal. In one of the other cars was a party of climbers, one of whom roped up and climbed down to rescue the lucky dog. All this excitement and I did not get a picture - it didn't seem right when the dogs life was in peril, and as the rescue was completed the traffic was cleared to proceed, so the camera was stowed and the ride continued. The beauty of Glen Coe stood out through the gloom of the rain, it is one of the best sights on this planet. Soon though that passed behind us and the wilderness gave way first to farmland and then the suburbs of Glasgow. Despite having set the GPS to avoid highways, it tried to route us onto the M8 motorway, we rode past the slip-road and stopped to recalculate the route. Georges newer GPS beat my old Navigator 1 and he led the way in and out of Glasgow's main shopping centre, hindered by loosing satellite reception in the rain and high buildings. Eventually we were heading out into open country again, down the B-Road that was once the main route into Scotland before the coming of the Motorway. Then we saw the signs - Road Closed! A new route was selected, the A760/A76 to Dumfries, then the A75 to Carlisle. This was a good choice, the A760/A76 is a stunning biking road. The A75 is not, but beggars can't be choosers. Once into Carlisle, we picked up the planned route and headed towards Aspatria. Crossing the Border - no passports needed Then another sign - the A596 to Aspatria was closed - two in one day, not usual in this country. The A595 provided an easy alternative and so we went, onto our destination the Manor House B&B at Oughterside near Aspatria. The Manor House B&B - built in 1750 Our hostess Judy met us with the warmest of welcomes, and I was shown to my room, which was the size of a small house on its own. The bathroom was the size of my kitchen at home. The view from my room: The bikes were tucked up for the night in the hosts garage, together with his Varedero. We were served a magnificent steak dinner in the conservatory for a very reasonable £8 including wine and beer. As they day drew to a close the rain and wind came crashing in and the outlook seemed grim. The days Statistics: Total Mileage: 523.1 Today's Mileage 249 Trip Average speed (driving) 46.8 Today's Average speed (driving) 41.8 Trip Overall Average Speed 36.6 Today's Overall Average Speed 33.2 Trip driving Time 11:10:04 Today's driving time 5:57:30 Trip stopped time3:08:17 Today's stopped time 1:33:10 Trip total time 14:18:21 Today's total time 7:30:40 Day 5 - Aspatria to Chester We woke to brilliant sunshine! Having been fed, we posed for photo's with a giant teddy bear. We were about to drive away when we realised I had not paid my bill! With that out of the way, we set out into Cumbria, picking up a RBR landmark at Temple Somerby, we headed down the A592, past Ullswater; over the Kirkstone pass, where we stopped for coffee and teacakes: Here the landlord asked us to move our bikes, whereupon one of Georges PIAA headlight bulbs blew. The Kirkstone pass Inn, the original building built in 1496, documented as an inn in the 17th century.. From Kirkstone it was on past Lake Windermere. A beautiful and technical road, but slow going. Due to the slow going, we decided to forego some of the moor roads and drop straight down the old A6 to Preston, before going via Southport to Liverpool, under the Mersey then on to Chester. The section from Preston to Chester was awful, slow, heavy traffic and heavy going, enlivened only by the old derelict warehouses of Liverpool. The Mersey tunnel is a bit of an oddity, most tunnels are pretty straight, the Mersey tunnel is a series of fast sweepers - a pity about the speed limit! The heat of the day was beginning to tell on me, we had seen highs of 80 degrees and I was starting to make silly errors, including missing a red light at the entrance to a roundabout, merging seamlessly into the startled traffic! We had a little trouble finding the B&B, the GPS had it outside the Chester ring road, as it turned out it was inside. Having arrived and been met by the owners, we parked the bikes in their gated yard, safe from prying eyes. The hosts of the B&B then told us they lived elsewhere and would see us in the morning. We refreshed ourselves, changes and went into the city centre, just a few hundred yards away. We wandered around a while seeking a good restaurant. George gets treatment for a coldsore from Kathy: The old Westminster Coach and Motor Car Works, now a public library: We thought we would have a traditional Fish and Chip supper at a likely looking chip-shop. On entering and got seated we started to have second thoughts. The fryer did not know how to prepare battered plaice, then George's steamed pudding was unavailable. We cancelled our order and tried to do a runner, but our feet were sticking to the floor too much to run. From there we settled on an Italian restaurant, much better, great food and an attractive waitress. Kathy and George decide on a small desert The days Statistics: Total Mileage: 740.1 Today's Mileage 217 Trip Average speed (driving) 42.4 Today's Average speed (driving) 34.6 Trip Overall Average Speed 32.6 Today's Overall Average Speed 25.8 Trip driving Time 17:26:29 Today's driving time 6:16:25 Trip stopped time 5:16:23 Today's stopped time 2:08:06 Trip total time 22:42:52 Today's total time 8:24:31 Day 6 - Chester to Exebridge Today also gave us good weather, and we were soon heading out towards Wrexham, and on into Wales. I had intended to get a picture of crossing this border but missed the sign, it was only when road signs were appearing in Welsh that I realised we were in the Principality. At one of our rest stops, George bought a standard bulb to be fitted later. I seem to have failed to take pictures today, just one of George and Kathy at our lunch stop, a well known biker café: and one of a sobering poster on the wall of the café, placed here by the local police. Our B&B, Staghound Cottages, Exebridge. Over the road, is this TellyTubby hill? The bridge over the river Exe, that gives the village its name: The river goes on its journey to the sea: The B&B is next door to a pub which advertises good food. Not however, on a Thursday. The barmaid was eventually able to give us the number of a taxi, then told us they had no payphone. Fortunately Kathy had a signal on her mobile phone, so called the taxi company who told us they would be at least an hour. So back on with the gear, back on the bikes and off to Dulverton, fictional home of Lorna Doone, for a pub meal served by a Spanish waitress. On the way home, I noticed my low-beam had failed, so I rode back to the B&B on the foglights. The days Statistics: Total Mileage: 989.0 Today's Mileage 248.9 Trip Average speed (driving) 41.0 Today's Average speed (driving) 37.3 Trip Overall Average Speed 32.0 Today's Overall Average Speed 30.5 Trip driving Time 24:05:41 Today's driving time 6:39:12 Trip stopped time 6:47:16 Today's stopped time 1:30:53 Trip total time 30:52:57 Today's total time 8:10:05 Day 7 - Exebridge to Lands End (then on to Falmouth) After more overnight rain, it again dawned dry and bright. George and Kathy fixed the dead light before settling down to what was probably the best breakfast of the trip. A selection fresh fruit, followed by a cooked breakfast made from locally sourced sausage, bacon, wild mushrooms and eggs, with toast made from locally baked organic bread and home made jam or marmalade. Penny, our hostess, sees us off: We travelled up over Exemoor, pausing to photograph this local family of wild ponies: On from there to the A39 Atlantic Highway, a superb biking road, all the way from Bridgewater to Indian Queens. We stopped off at Bude for a RBR landmark, where I took this photo for you guys: On down the A39, we stopped for a superb pub lunch at the Old Wainhouse Inn: The final run itowards Lands End was down the superb coast road, the B3306, narrow and twisty with great sight-lines, passing through a mixture of quaint villages, moorland and some industrial history. What trip to Cornwall would be complete without a picture of an abandoned tin mine. The workings from this one extend two or three miles out to sea. Then it was onto the end of the 'official' ride, but not the journey. The 'finish line' at Lands End: Once again a picture courtesy of the official photographer. We were not the only ones to finish an End-to-end that day, far from it. Amongst the others was a group who had done the trip on Honda Cubs, one of them a learner, in a day less than us! Our bikes on the right, theirs on the left. Also at Lands end, the Longships lighthouse, now automatic, once manned year-round: The statistics for the last leg, and the total trip: Total Mileage: 1176.2 Today's Mileage 187.2 Trip Average speed (driving) 40.2 Today's Average speed (driving) 35.7 Trip Overall Average Speed 30.9 Today's Overall Average Speed 26.3 Trip driving Time 29:15:04 Today's driving time 5:09:23 Trip stopped time 8:45:49 Today's stopped time 1:58:33 Trip total time 38:00:53 Today's total time 7:07:56 After which we drove about another 50 miles before getting to the B&B One last visit before heading for our B&B, The Lizard, the most southerly point on the UK mainland, completing a north-to-south as well as an end-to-end. Our celebration meal in Falmouth, well after it You can see the fatigue in Kathy's face. By the time we got home the next day my odometer showed a total journey from home to home of 2443 miles. George's GPS measured it at 2300. Either way it was very enjoyable. If (when) I do it again I will have learnt a lesson or two. First - plan a rest day halfway through, second AVOID CITIES - they are slow, tiring, boring and a general pain in the rear - and responsible for our low average speeds. Thanks for reading this folks: Cya, Andy Link to comment
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