Well we have started our epic trip and on day 4 there has been a few changes already.
We are no longer going to Ireland this end of the journey, nor John O'Goats. We have been up to Ullapool and decided to we would skip Ireland as we thought the weather may not be the best (it has rained since we left) as it's the green isle and all.
Instead we have are heading down through main land UK to lands end, London and then France in a bit of swoop. The Bike is going well, only a small alteration needed with an angel grinder. The rear axle was rubbing a little on the left exhaust after me putting it back in a slightly different position post rear end rebuild. The intercom works well and is nice to be able to talk to Jo along the way, even if most the noise heard is teeth chattering.
As I said before the weather has not been the kindest since we left although not as bad as it could be. Reading the newspaper today, it says that it snowed in the Cairngorms as we passed through but all Jo and I noticed was the freezing wind and rain.
We are currently in Perth and catching up with Friends and their new puppy. It's very cute and I think I may have to check the luggage to make sure she has not been stashed away somewhere. We are being treated to delicious food and generally loving being homeless and jobless !
I must say at this point our blog entries may be a bit hap hazard and of course my friends at the Aboyne Academy English Dept must read this with one eye closed. As there may be quite a few errors :-) I will be putting some photos up soon.
I must apologise for the lack of action on the blog over the last 11 days Jo and I have been having too much fun riding around the UK and seeing all the sights.
The bike loaded up at Perth
After leaving Perth, the puppy and the great company we headed for England and Hadrians wall. Unfortunately the weather did it's best to make us question our faith in waterproofs and why indeed it needs to rain as much as it does in that part of the UK. But after some interesting comments between Jo and I about global warming and the like I am happy to report all our waterproofs are indeed waterproof and although Jo would disagree, they are mostly warm too. A day's riding and we stayed in a nice little sheltered camp sight (our first camp of the trip) just outside Carlisle. At this stage the weather was still doing it's best to scare us but all was good.
Here we are at a section of Hadrains Wall.
After being blown off the hill that Hadrains wall crossed we headed for Formby and another good friend that we hadn't seen in a while. It was a rather sedate by past drinking standards with this particular individual but I do like Slovakian Gin I tell you. No problem with sleeping on the floor that night. It was a whole lot of fun and we were all sorry to say goodbye the next day.
Off the to the beautiful bath the next day via Chester (the home of Hollyoaks) and Wales. I must say we should have spend more time in Wales are the roads are great for biking and despite all the stories in MCN we were not bothered by the police at all. Having said that the Divvy doesn't really do anything fast, brake, speed up...you know what I mean. I did get mislead by a trio of sausages though.
We stayed at a nice little farm camp site, where we were the only tent and had the pick of the spots. We set up just near a small stream and all was well with the world. Or so we thought. Over night the heavens opened and although we were fine in the tent, I forgot to cover the bike. (I know the people who know me are shaking there heads in disbelief) well on this occasion the water proved to be rather crafty and found just the spot to create a short and flatten the battery, dead. The next morning after loading up the bike, nothing after turning on the ignition. Nothing at all. After a few choice words, unloading the bike and a general check of all things electrical, a push start was in order. All is well now but I think the battery has been dealt a mortal blow. Maintenance in London I think.
After the farm we continued through Wales and down to Bath. Jo & I liked Bath very much. The sun was out and so were the people, having coffee, drinking the odd beer all in the sun. We liked it and after a hot tip on where to stay, we set up the palace and had a beer of our own..
At the Bath campsite that didn't allow tents....
Jo at the Roman Baths, the water looks tempting doesn't it
More to come soon...
After staying in the very nice caravan park (and there was some absolutely huge caravans there, more like buses or lorries ) just in the outskirts of bath we packed up our portable palace (with an audience in wonder of how it all fits on the bike, I think or maybe my hair in the morning) and went sight seeing in Bath. The Roman Baths and the other usual suspects all on the cards. All well worth seeing. We will say again Bath was really nice.
Those with a keen eye will note what top Jo has on at the Roman Baths...
The Circus in Bath.
The Royal Crescent.
The panoramic doesn't do them justice but hopefully you get the idea.
After most of the day walking around Bath, looking at both the attractions and the shops we headed south towards Longleat house (An animal park). We got there and as expected couldn't take the bike on the safari ride (although I think the Divvy could outrun a lion, truly) so would have to do the bus ride around the safari section. Rightly or wrongly we decided that because we wanted to see the wolves, the bus may not be the best way to get up close and left to continue down the road, after a picture of the very grand Longleat house of course.
Nice house though...
After Longleat we headed south east towards landsend via Devon or as far as we could manage comfortably. So far the riding has been ok, the motorways are pretty boring, chew the petrol a bit but do get you from place to place quickly. The A and B roads that we have been along are much more fun in terms of the twists and turns and the general scenery. Jo has been doing a fantastic job navigating from the back of the bike. Juggling a europe map, the weather and my requests for which exit at the many, many round-a-bouts can't be easy and I would like to say I am sorry for any harsh comments I have made. Apart from the push start the previous day the bike has been great. On the camping and luggage side of things we think we are carrying too much. We have by no means been in all the weather scenarios we had thought of but already we think we will leave a few things in london when we get there in a week or so. Things like the 3rd and 4th pot/pan/ mess tin, powered milk (which isn't really adding to our early morning drinks taste) and a few other items of clothing.
The next stop after some rather dull motorway riding with weather to match was Barnstaple. A quick search of the GPS for camp sites and we were off armed with some supplies from Lidl for dinner. We didn't end up at the camp site the GPS suggested as we got lured just down the road by the promise of a camp site with it's own pub and various over things. A pub on a camp site, Brilliant !! As it was around 7 o'clock when we arrived the site office was closed and after riding around the massive site for about 15mins we picked a spot near some other tents and set up camp. A fantastic chicken and pesto meal later we went off to find this pub. Approximately 2 pints, 2 gin and lemonades later we where more than ready for bed and clearly out of practise. A short trip back to the tent and we started the best nights sleep for the trip so far.
The next day it was official, this place was huge. We have never seen so many caravans in one place. It was just field after field of them. Not really our idea of holidaying but what ever floats your boat or caravan. Off to have breakfast some where in this mega complex only to discover that it was not available. The indoor 25 meter pool, games room and horse riding was but no breakfast area. No problem, we would just head off to the nearest village / town.
We found a very nice little cafe in beautiful seaside town of Coombe Martin. While munching away I noticed a few photos of a man and some wolves on the wall. Not your average photos, these showed the man and the wolves at play so to speak. It turns out just up the road was wildlife park with a resident pack of wolves and the pictured man who had lived amongst them (as a pack member) for nearly 18 months. Being a bit of a fan of such things, Jo and I quickly agreed that we should go and them. It was funny how things work out especially after not seeing the wolves at Longleat.
I will only write a little bit about the wolves as I could have stayed there all day just watching them and talking to Shaun Ellis (the man from the photos in the cafe) about the pack. He and wolves are very interesting and we would recommend very much meeting them both. Here some of my favourite photos of them.
The two wolf cubs were absolutely gorgeous.
Of course there was other animals at the park but as you can guess the wolves were the big attraction for me. Here some of the others.
We didn't (Ok, I didn't want to) leave the Park but off we went still heading towards Lands End. That night (the night before Jo's birthday) we stayed in a great beach town called Newquay. We applied our new found camp site criteria DTP (distance to pub) and stayed in a great spot on the beach and walking distance from two pubs. The site was fairly empty but was really nice. The fact that the toilet block had music playing inside was the deal maker for me !! A pub meal and the rediscovery of vanilla vodka lead to a great night. A walk along the beach was even squeezed in between drinks. All in all another great camp site. Up the next morning and off to find a nice birthday breakfast spot. We headed into Newquay and found the great view below from a cafe and enjoyed a nice relaxed breakfast.
The beach even looked half decent.
Next stop Lands End via Penzance.
After the below photo we got talking to a couple of fellow bikers. Two really nice Northern Irish blokes. Unfortunately we didn't they names because after discovering we had this blog going and the fact that they had read some of it. They asked us for our picture. We where so amazed that some one wanted our picture we forgot to ask their names and with the picture they wanted they where off. So if you are reading this guys PM me.
Jo, Me and the Bike at Lands End.
Riding off still in shock we headed into Penzance in search of pirates and something to eat. A quick meal at tesco or somerfields of sandwiches and juice. On the way back from lands end the oil level light came on then off again after having to do a quick stop as car forgot to look. Doing a little check of the level after the meal break sure enough she has used a bit of oil. I did wonder how/why the fuel consumption did not seem to change if the old girl was one up, two up or two with full luggage. It seems it makes up for it with oil use with a full load. No real bother I will just carry a litre to top it up every 2000 miles or so. The advise for the divvy is to do the oil and filter every 3000 3500 miles anyway so its not that much of a prob.
Along the coast on some great bike roads and we head off to St Austell to camp at yet another lovely site (GPS helped us out again) where the guy came out to see us well after the site office had closed, let us know how far the pub was and even found a piece of wood for the side stand of the bike. Great site and the most friendly by far of the trip. Off to the pub around the corner which happened to have rather posh restaurant and as it was Jo's birthday we were seated and decided to make the most of it. A Mexican starter, Rump steak, Lasagna, Chocolate Gateau for desert. We rolled out of the restaurant full to the brim and into the bar for a drink before heading back (slowly) to the tent.
Next we pointed north for the first time in a while and made a bee line for Stonehenge. We where more than a little surprised to round a bend and find it just a 100 meters or so from the road in full view. A few pounds each later and we were talking to a very helpful lady about the where, when, what and why's of Stonehenge. The latter being the most difficult to explain. All I have to say about it is: ALIENS !! Lots of strange things happened in the world around that time in history...
Another Aboyne Academy Visit
Comming soon Portsmouth and Brighton Beach....
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Next HU Events
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
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