Tour through England, Wales, Scotland and France. Summer 2008

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Avispao, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Tue. July 2008, 15th

    4 days before departure, my bike was involved in two different accidents when she was parked at my job. As a result, her windshield was broken, and also the clock spheres. As fast as i can, as it was thursday and the weekend was threatening us, i could buy a new windshield in Barcelona through internet -which came on monday, while we were goint to leave on tuesday-, and i could repair the clock spheres with Sikaflex. BUFF, We were really scared!.

    At 8am we left Oviedo to Santander, where the ferry to Plymouth was. There were a lot of brits waiting for going home in the ferry esplanade. We were the only spaniards in the bikers queue.

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    The travel in the Pont Avon is a bit boring, and i advice you, if your budget can afford it, take a room! If not, you always can sleep in the floor of the common room as us, but it's not very comfortable.


    We. July 2008, 16th.

    After a long boring and restless night, we reached Plymouth. An ancient vessel saluted us in the bay.

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    As soon as you desembark you have a roundabout, just to remember you where you are. OK, fine, let's change the chip. We cross Plymouth following the GPS to get the A38. After Exeter we left the highway to Honinton to enter Dorset. It was our first contact with english roads, and it resulted me very demanding. The lanes are narrow, with walls in its sides, you have steel lids in the middle of the lane, and that coast had a lot of traffic which delayed us a lot. In the other part, the scenery is good, specially that houses with that grass-made roofs (here in my region we have some very similar). I was stupid and didn't make any pic of that.

    Anyway, we reached Cerne Abbas to see the Giant.

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    We left the Giant guarding his sheeps and went to Sherborne in our way to Stonehenge. We didn't know a word about Sherborne, but it has a splendid cathedral, so we stopped a moment to see it.

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    Finally, we got to Stonehenge, about 3p.m. We eated our sandwiches while this bird was watching us. This bird doesn't exist in Spain, i think.

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    Did i say we were late? From Stonehenge the TomTom send us north to Melkham and Chippenham to get the M4 to Wales. We delayed more and more in that narrow roads. I like that roads, but in that case i would sacrifice them for going faster. I'm terrible convinced that going through Warminster-Bath was much better than TomTom idea.

    As we were late we couldn't stop to see the amphitheater of Caerleon, near NewPort. And we passed a really large queue near Cardiff between cars. I don't know if it's allowed/well seen in UK, but we did it. In any case we reached Caerphilly too late to enter its impressive castle.

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    We had booked a room in a Travelodge in St.Clears (for only 19£!), so we stopped to eat something in a McDonalds and reached the hotel about 10pm. After a bad night and a long journey (530km) we were really tired.
    #1
  2. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Thu. July 2008, 17th.

    We awaked late that morning. Until 11am we didn't get the bike. We reached Tenby and did a short walk through its center. It's pretty, but has very old houses, a bit decadent.

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    We went to Pembroke to see its castle. Really good castle. We liked it a lot. And its cavern is unique!

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    We ate a hamburguer near the entrance, and we taste for the first time the fishy taste of the chips in UK. Didn't like it.

    Our idea now was reaching Caernarfon, but the roads in Wales are very entertaining, not only because of their curves, but also because of their heavy traffic. It started to pour, also (and D-dry didn't its job).

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    As we saw we couldn't get to Caernarfon in a "UK-hour", we diverted to Harlech through Barmouth.

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    We found a terrible B&B in a miracle in Harlech, for only 69£!. The accomodation in that village is very expensive, i suppose because of its golf resort. We had dinner in a Indian restaurant, and had some pints in two pubs. Our first ale pints and UK pubs (i don't know why, but there's no UK beer in Spain). After this day, we got the tradition to drink pints after every journey. Good idea indeed!
    #2
  3. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Fri. July 2008, 18th.

    In the morning we had our first english breakfast (or welsh), and did a visit to the castle. Stunning views of what it was a bay.

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    It was our first castle of the day. After it, we rode to Caernarfon to see its castle too.

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    Then to Conwy, to see another one.
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    This roundabouts made me laugh.

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    We liked a lot the three castles of the day. We were on time, so we rode to Chester, as a friend of mine recommended it to us. After seen it, I must recommend it too. It remembered me the pics of Bruges i always saw.

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    It was about 6pm and i thought we could reach a travelodge near Lancaster for 8pm to advance in our plans for the next day. We rode through Liverpool motorways when it started to rain again. First a bit, but finally a lot. We asked for a room in that travelodge, but it was full. Then we continued north asking every hotel until reaching Kendal. We crossed Kendal in every way and didn't find absolutly anything. It was incredible! What happened that friday!

    The rain didn't stopped, and it was getting harder with strong winds. We left Kendal at 12pm without finding anything. We tried in Penrith but nothing. We stopped at another hotel and they asked us for 180£! Come on! We rode thought a desert dark wet road near Carlisle searching something the gas-man told us, and as i was thinking how dangerous it was riding in such conditions, we fell off when turning around in the road. We had nothing, we were lucky (it's to say something good, cause that bad luck is incredible).

    Finally, defeated and wet in my case, we stopped at an area in the M8 and planted our tent out of view, as we didn't know if we could do it (I've read that in France is allowed). It was 2.30am, and it was raining more and more. I remembered that film by Scorsese, After Hours.
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Beautiful start for me.. every day riding for you :thumb

    Thanks for taking us along!! :lurk :lurk :lurk
    #4
  5. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Denver, CO
    :lurk
    #5
  6. Duchess

    Duchess Long timer

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    England, UK
    Great report, some wonderful pictures ..... :nod

    :huh

    Erm .... you're lucky you got away with that one .... or did you? :ear

    I bet you didnt get much sleep that night.
    #6
  7. To@ne

    To@ne Ele' lover

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    Between Ocean & Pyrenees, France.
    :lurk
    #7
  8. GAHighlander

    GAHighlander There can be only one

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
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    Location:
    Woodstock, Georgia
    :clap As this is written, I'm waiting on my passport! A good friend of mine, "Englishmatt" and I are planning a visit to his old stomping grounds over there next summer. Rent a couple of motorcycles, See the countryside, Go to some pubs so I can sample some pints :slurp Can't wait!
    #8
  9. Mr. Jetmoto

    Mr. Jetmoto Banned

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    oregon
    Excellent! Oh the taste of english ale, nothing like it! I went through that area while in college, beautiful.
    #9
  10. Mr. Jetmoto

    Mr. Jetmoto Banned

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    oregon

    Oh yeah, and that bird is a starling. If you don't have them in spain, you're lucky. They've just about displaced all the native songbirds out here in oregon.
    #10
  11. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
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    742
    Location:
    Birmingham,UK
    Good pics and writing, its fun seeing/hearing someone else's view on your home country:D
    #11
  12. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 PITA but useful

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    Location:
    Moneyapolis, MN
    Nice castles. How come it's always cloudy there? :scratch
    #12
  13. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    That's the idea. Some friends from hondahornet.co.uk forum asked me for that, so i included my thoughts in the report.

    Oh, there's a "bonus card" for entering sites: castles, churches, museums which we used a lot, saving a lot of money. Take a look if you want at
    <cite>www.BritishHeritagePass.com</cite>

    No, we didn't sleep much that night. I'll tell later.
    #13
  14. StinkyCheese

    StinkyCheese Red or Green?

    Joined:
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    Las Cruces, NM
    :lurk
    #14
  15. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Sat. July 2008, 19th.

    Sun rised at 5.30... as did the traffic in the service area. We moved and picked up the campsite. It's horrible to have to put a wet trouser on. We take a really bad coffee in the building (we didn't find good coffee anywhere in the island, but this was the worse by much). While, we tried to heat wet clothes with the heaters of the bathroom. Rain continued, so this time we put on our waterproofs as they give hot too (over the goretex too!). We went back to Penrith and then took the road to Ullswater and the Kirkstone Pass. Did I say it? I love that roads!

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    We were seeing your cemeteries with fascination, as in Spain they are almost closed to public, in a mixture of respect, shyness and fear to Death. We liked yours.

    We took a rest in Windermere, under a shy sun who fighted to shine. Then we rode to Keswick. We were enjoying a lot the landscapes of this Lake's District, and we could compare it to our region (Asturias, Spain), which is very similar to it, without the lakes (we have valleys and rivers instead).

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    In Keswick there were a lot of people shopping in the mountaineering outlets, as weather didn't allow them to walk in the wilderness (poor chickens!). We liked the strong stone constructions in both villages, Windermere and Keswick. We have very similar constructions in Leon mountains here, in the zone of Piedrafita de Babia. There must be because of the long periods of snow and cold, as stone is a good isolation.

    After Keswick we rode to Bothel and Carlisle, to enter at last into Scotland. When we crossed to Scotland, the sun shined (and you was thinking in Scotland always rains! :D). We turned left to Dumfries, but before reaching it, we diverted to see Caerlaverock Castle.

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    We rode then to the Travelodge in Dumfries, as we didn't want to sleep in the tent again. It was near 2pm, and receptionist didn't give us a room till 3pm. We told her we would come back at 3pm, and please to make a reservation. She agreed, and we went to buy something to eat. At 14.45 we went back to the hotel and she was giving rooms everybody. What the f***, damn girl, we almost didn't get one! :blast

    After leaving all the things drying in the room, we made a short trip to Sweetheart Abbey.

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    We went back to Dumfries and made a walk through the center looking for a cibershop to connect to internet, but didn't find anything, only WIFI areas. We saw a lot of churches "Assasin's Creed"-style, ten at least.

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    Before dinner, we had some ale pints in a pub, where they were concentrated watching golf. How scottish! We liked that pub, and Abbot's too!

    That night, we felt asleep really soon.
    #15
  16. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Sun. July 2008, 20th.

    Sunday, nine in the morning and we were on the road again. The traffic was null and the sun brighted, what more could you ask for?. We took a wavy road from Dumfries to New Galloway, with lots of curves, some jumps and good sceneries. In New Galloway we took the Queen's Way, a road that enters inside Galloway Forest Park.

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    From Newton-Stewart we rode to Girvan, with some traffic queues made by that class of people known in Spain as "domingueros" (could be translated to "sundaiers", people who only drives on sundays and don't see you, drive slow and make queues). As i was saying, with that kind of people disturbing our flow throught the road, we reached Girvan. From the hill before Girvan we had good views of Ailsa Craig, Arran and Ireland even (you should take a look at a map at this point :D).

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    We stopped to see Culzean Castle. In this castle Eisenhower was given an apartment, as a gift from British for his help in WWII. Very nice castle and grounds, with a lot of families and children playing.

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    We ate there our first "baked potato" as is made in Britain, in this case with chicken in cajun sauce. Delicious.

    After resting a bit in the sun, we travelled to Glasgow, where we took a room in Etap Hotel, in a commercial area with a lot of restaurants, cinemas, bingo and so on, named The Quay. This hotel chain is very cheap (36£ per room), so the rooms are really small. But it's perfect for traveling and we used them much more after that (ok, i know, some people use them for other things :angel ).

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    We left all the luggage in the room and went to see the Falkirk Wheel (near Falkirk). It is a mechanism used to lift boats from a channel to another. Impressive, as it uses very few energy to do that.

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    We tried to find the ruins of Antonine's Wall, which they told us they were really near. But we couldn't, so we came back to Glasgow. We took a look at its cathedral, and its university after that.

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    We went to the hotel and dinnered in an italo-american style restaurant. And of course, we had some pints!
    #16
  17. Jamie

    Jamie .

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    What a splendid report! Thanks for taking the time to post it. :lurk
    #17
  18. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Mon. July 2008, 21st.

    This day we traveled without luggage, as we were going to come back to Glasgow to pass the night. We went to Edinburgh to see the typical tourist things, and first of all of them we went to see archi-known Roslyn Chappel (which is very expensive to see, as the Heritage Pass doesn't rule there). I have bad pics of there, as it's covered from the rain.

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    We parked near the middle of the Royal Mile, and we walked to the Castle as we were taking pics.

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    Edinburghians! (or what is it said?) Please, as you have a lot of tourism in your city, you must clean your churches! It's a real pity to see them in black!

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    The view of New Town from the wall of the castle.

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    We liked it, but i thought it was going to be a medieval castle, and it's not. It's updated to s.XIX.

    We walked down all the Royal Mile to Holyrood House. The people in the entrance congratulated us because Rafa Nadal had win Wimbledon, and the national football (soccer) team had win Eurocup, hahaha (as if we were earning a buck for it...).

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    It was time to walk up the Royal Mile again... buf, it's tiring.

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    We couldn't see much more from Edinburgh, and it's a pity, we will have to go back. While we rode back to Glasgow, we could see the castle from New Town.

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    The Quay in Glasgow (the commercial area where it was our hotel), has good views from River Clyde.

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    We ate this that night, in another restaurant. Two delicious chicken dishes.

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    #18
  19. Avispao

    Avispao Hornet 900 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    181
    Location:
    Oviedo, Spain
    Tue. July 2008, 22nd.


    After having breakfast, in 15min. in the parking lot, I adjusted the chain and added more oil to Scottoiler. Then we entered the traffic as we were any other commuter, as it was the third time I used the same highways! This time we were riding north to Stirling, where we saw the castle.

    It's updated to s.XIX too, and it's smaller that Edinburgh's, so I didn't like it very much.

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    We didn't go to see Wallace Monument, as we didn't have much time. But I could take a picture from the castle.

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    After a short trip we rode through Perth,

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    And then we went to see Glamis Castle (which forms my Avatar). The plains between Perth and Forfar have a lot of plantations of wheat, barley, potatos, strawberries, and much more. And the side of the roads are full of "free range everything" signs. I remembered some roads from Castilla, but without that signs. And it was really hot that day, too!

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    We wanted to ride a bit more before having lunch, so we took first the highway north, and near Johnshaven the coastal road. Fantastic road. Fast, little traffic, good corners, spectacular views. But I cannot understand that there wasn't any wave in the sea. It seems incredible for me in such a northern place.

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    And we stopped to see Dunnotar Castle, famous one, where we had lunch while watching it.

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    If you are there, you must present your respects in the village of Stonehaven.

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    In Stonehaven we took a very interesting road, full of corners, to Crathes, where we planned to see another castle. But it was late, so we started to look for a camping site. While we were doing it, I tried to turn around in the road, and again, we fell off, and again, by the same side. This time we weren't lucky, as the brake lever was broken. But I could use one finger on it, so it wasn't that bad.

    Finally we got to the camping site and hired a hut... for 22£! Wow, camping was cheap, comparing it to hotels and B&B. A hut like that in Spain could cost about 70EUR per day in summer time (the same than a medium ranged hotel per double room).

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    We went to Banchory to buy some food and beers, and could see that Banchory have nothing of interest. In this pic, i'm eating "chorizo", a spanish kind of sausage that we brought for this occasions.

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    This is the brake lever after the accident.

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    And this is how I found the bike in the morning.

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    #19
  20. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,030
    Thank you for another fabulous update to your most excellent ride!! Great pics and it's nice and sunny too!! :thumb

    :lurk
    #20