"Left to Live" - A 23-Day Motorcycle Adventure Around UK and Ireland...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TravisGill, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Dread

    Dread Putt-Putt Adventurer

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    Man, I am just loving this ride report! Every time I get a notice that you posted to the thread I get excited to see what you put up!
    TonyKZ1 and TravisGill like this.
  2. stuntchick

    stuntchick Adventurer Supporter

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    Me too!
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  3. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Day 22 - Fri, 14 Sep:

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    261 km. Our trip through England continues south. From North York Moors National Park (A) to York (B), Needles Eye (C), Nottingham (D) and camping at Kelham Hall Camp Site (E).

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    We packed and left early enough to spend all morning in York. A little wet this morning, but not too bad.

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    Good morning random sheep chilling on the side of the road!

    We arrived in York early enough to see shop owners getting ready to open their businesses for the day.

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    York Glass provides a fun way to see York and provides a free map for finding the 22 lucky cats York. Gotta’ catch ‘em all! They also sell a bit of luck in the form of a glass cat.

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    Here is the map. Two routes are offered; one for an easy walk, and another for a longer walk. We ended up doing both routes – after all, isn’t it unlucky not to find all the cats?

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    Here’s one climbing the side of the wall! Spider Cat!!

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    A hand-drawn map shows the town of York, unfortunately without the cats, however there are two dogs.

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    Another cat! This one is a bit ghostly!

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    A lady with a cool hat caught the attention of my camera. She was just sitting next to a storefront window taking notes or drawing.

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    Some of the bright artwork on the market window.

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    Another cat! This one is on the hunt for a pigeon.

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    The town has a great Victorian feel to it with artwork on the stone walls.

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    The York Cathedral is never too far away and provides bearings through the curvy streets.

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    This is a bronze cat with his own ledge.

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    Another colorful map of York, UK.

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    NOT one of the cats. This one is NOT LUCKY. If you see this one stab it in the brain with the largest machete you can find.

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    Clifford's Tower. Built originally in 1068, on the orders of William I, to dominate the former Viking city of York.

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    Geese enjoy grazing on the green grass at Tower Gardens.

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    Ferry boats pass each other on the River Ouse.

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    A cat peering over the edge of one of the stores entrances.

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    A bright and cheery street where shops of all flavors are selling their wares.

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    City of York Coat of Arms decorates a street corner.

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    The stained-glass window in the St. Martin le Grand.

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    Close-up of the stained glass.

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    A reminder of those who bravely took to the skies to protect York from Luftwaffe bombers during WWII.

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    Krispy Kreme donuts in England! A bit of Americana here in the UK! We asked the cashier if there was a place nearby that had freshly made HOT LIGHT Krispy Kremes. He didn’t know what we were talking about. Brother, you are missing out if you’ve never experienced a freshly glazed Krispy Kreme!

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    I only ate two! Promise.

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    These small bronze studs marks the wall trail - another interesting way to explore York.

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    The walls of York have stood since 71 AD when they were built by the Romans.

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    The Stonegate Devil is a reference to the printer’s apprentice and assistant, who was responsible for carrying hot metal type. In printing folklore, a particular type of demon haunted every print-shop, performing mischief such as inverting type, misspelling words or removing lines of completed type. Over time, the source of these errors was transferred to the printer’s assistant, who retained the nickname ‘the printer’s devil.’

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    An interesting orange color of paint made the French based L'OCCITANE EN PROVENCE boutique stand out from the rest.

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    The York Minster is so large that it’s difficult to take a picture of the entire thing. The best I could do was these smaller sections.

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    The church and cathedral were finished in 1472.

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    We didn’t go inside but I wish we had after finding out the Great East Window is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country.

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    Much of the medieval York still remains.

    After York we rode to an interesting site that we discovered on the Atlas Obscura website called the Needles Eye. A fun story behind this creation.

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    What would you do to save face after making a £10 wager that you could drive horses and a wagon through the eye of a needle?

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    If you were Marquis of Rockingham in 1730, you would have had Mason John Carr built this 46-foot-tall pyramid...

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    ...just so you could prove to your friends that you could indeed drive a team of horses and wagon through “the eye of a needle”. All this for a £10 bet!

    Our next location was not planned until last night. I remember watching Walt Disney’s Robin Hood as a kid but had no idea that a place called Nottingham and Sherwood Forest were real places! Off to see Major Oak and perhaps Robin Hood as well! Unfortunately, by the time we arrived the visitors center and access to the park was closed. I suppose if we wanted to live the spirit of Robin Hood, we would have defied the law and rode our motorcycles into the forest and camped by Major Oak. Going to jail or being fined in a foreign country is not my idea of a vacation, so we ended up camping nearby at the Kelham Hall Camp Site.

    Tomorrow is our last day in England…
  4. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    That's good to hear. Glad you are enjoying it!
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  5. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Day 23 - Sat, 15 Sep - Final Day:

    Our final day of a spirited motorcycle adventure through England, Whales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, and Scotland comes to an ending today. Of course, we are saddened by this, but we are also extremely grateful for this opportunity. As my late father-in-law always said "Remember the good." It’s been a great adventure!!

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    A final 310km push! A morning of Nottingham Forest (B), followed by a Land Rover convention, Ely Cathedral (C), and finally ending the trip at the Harwich Ferry Dock (D) to return to mainland Europe.

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    As close to camping in Nottingham Forest as we could get - camping in a small forest at Kelham Hall.

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    The current Kelham Hall was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1863.

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    The Kelham Hall stands on 52 acres of land that includes Victorian gardens and statues.

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    Many consider Kelham Hall to be a masterpiece of high Victorian Gothic architecture, entirely asymmetrical, with a gloriously irregular skyline, and crowning 'grandiloquent' towers.
    *Wikipedia words - not mine.

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    We walked around the entire residence and enjoyed seeing some of the less frequently visited sides of the hall.

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    The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom.

    We left Kelham Hall to Sherwood Forest to see Robin Hood - the animated, talking, red fox of my childhood memories. I wonder how tall he is?

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    A clear, blue skies day, without having to wear rain gear!

    We parked (motorcycles were free) and hiked a short distance to see the elderly lady known as…

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    …Major Oak! This legendary 800 to 1,000-year old Oak Tree looks a bit aged with braces to support her sagging limbs. Major Oak is rumored to be a hangout of Robin Hood and his Marry Men.

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    Chantil stands next to a sign explaining the short history of Major Oak.

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    Acorns from the Sherwood Forest!! I know, it weird that I’m fascinated with Sherwood Forest being a REAL PLACE. I just had no idea until a few days ago!

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    A cluster of unique mushrooms.

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    Fun signs indicate items are hiding throughout the forest path...

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    ...like Robin Hood’s hat.

    Although Sherwood Forest and Major Oak are real, it’s seems that an animated, talking, red-colored fox, named Robin Hood is not. Big childhood let-down folks!! In fact, no real record of a “Robin Hood” even exist and it’s been debated since the 13th century.

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    The new visitors center was recently opened to the public just three weeks ago and features fun drawings of Sherwood Forest.

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    Kids draw and display their own versions of Robin Hood. After learning about him, I feel he was more of poacher than a charismatic leader running around the forest in attractive green tights.

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    I still think the talking and animated red fox is as good of a guess of who Robin Hood really was.
    *Picture from Disney’s Robin Hood

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    A fun Lego figure of the famed Robin Hood! Although, I still believe he was a talking fox.

    After we left Nottingham Forest, we made good time on the freeway but were distracted by signs pointing to a Land Rover convention.

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    These are some of my favorite vehicles, so we stopped to admire rows and rows of custom Discoverys and Defenders.

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    Fun vinyl stickers.

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    Riding through the grass field where thousands of custom Land Rovers are parked!

    We continued along on a beautiful and sunny-day. Actually it was beautiful, until we ran into a traffic mess on the A14. It turns out that southbound traffic on the A14 was completely shut down! Who shuts down an entire freeway on a weekend? It was a mass of metal and frustrated drivers. We had to find a way around and this delayed us for about 30-40 minutes. Such is life...

    The small city of Ely’s crown jewel is the impressive Ely Cathedral. Its origins date back to AD 672 when St. Etheldreda built an abbey church. The present building dates back to 1083, and cathedral status was granted it in 1109.

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    An impressive cathedral that stands 66 meters (216 ft) tall at its main entrance and west tower.

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    The delay on the A14 freeway turned out to be a blessing because just as we arrived, a new bride and groom were leaving which allowed us to capture this memory. We wish them the best!

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    The cathedral is quite impressive considering the relatively small size of Ely with a population of just 20k.

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    The octagonal tower forms the most distinctive and celebrated feature of the cathedral.

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    The impressive Octagon as seem from inside looking towards the Choir.

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    The Octagon was actually born out of an accident; in 1322 the central crossing tower collapsed. It was enlarged to form the octagon instead of being restored to its original size and square shape.

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    A modern sculpture of Jesus Christ hangs from the Nave.

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    Some of the amazing detail and biblical stories told via the stained-glass windows.

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    A weeping cherub mourns the death of a prominent religious leader.

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    Looking towards the West Tower from beneath the Octagon.

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    A modern statue titled Christ and Saint Mary Magdalene by sculptor David Wynne, depicts the moment when Mary recognizes Jesus on the morning of the resurrection.

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    The detailed roof artwork of the nave section of the cathedral.

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    Meridiana by Heleine Blumenfeld. An exhibition titled “Tree of Life” by nationally acclaimed artist and contemporary sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld was on display throughout the cathedral.

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    Prayer candles flicker inside the vastness of the cathedral walls.

    After the Ely Cathedral we did a bit of walking around the shopping square nearby.

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    A memorial to soldiers who fought for England’s freedom and way of life. The red poppies on the lapel of the soldiers marks the 100 years since the end of WWI.

    By now it was late afternoon, and many of the shops were closing for the evening. We continued along two-lane roads to Harwich where we would be catching our ferry to the Netherlands.

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    We came across this roadside table selling pears (not apples?) where you select a bag of fruit and then leave the money in a jar. I love when the honesty system works! By the way, the pears were delicious!

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    This large and powerful Clydesdale came to the fence to see our funny looking mules.

    We made our way to the Harwich Ferry Dock where we received our boarding passed for us and the mules. Unfortunately, we had to wait in the parking lot for 1 hour, 20 minutes before boarding.

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    Time to board the MV Stena Hollandica for an overnight crossing of the English Channel to the Netherlands.

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    We had a private cabin with an outside view way up on the 10th floor for this 8-hour journey back to mainland Europe.

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    The many stairways and artwork showing different European destinations.

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    A nicely appointed ferry.

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    Here’s our room!

    We quickly unpacked and then made our way to the dining area for a final meal of our grand 23-day UK and Ireland adventure.

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    We enjoyed a great dinner with excellent food and service.

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    The next morning, we awoke to this amazing sunrise as we entered Hoek van Holland.

    More of Europe awaits exploring. I can’t wait until the next motorcycle adventure in 2019....
  6. zimtim

    zimtim Adventurer

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    Many thanks.
    Thoroughly enjoyed that.
    Here's to the next one
    TravisGill and Nicknewb like this.
  7. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks; enjoyed the trip almost as much as you did.
    TravisGill likes this.
  8. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish

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    Santa Monica CA
    Thank you, great report, great photos. :clap:clap:-)

    Safe further journey!
    TravisGill likes this.
  9. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    Awesome Trip! Great photos and well documented. I really enjoyed following along. Many thanks and looking forward to your future adventures.
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  10. Robthekiwi

    Robthekiwi Adventurer

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    Absolutely fantastic RR-thank you so much!!
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  11. RobF650

    RobF650 Adventurer

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    Excellent stuff, thanks very much.

    Rob
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  12. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

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    Brilliant R.R. & pictures,really enjoyed your adventure,looking forward to the next!
    TravisGill likes this.
  13. 230Rocket

    230Rocket Adventurer

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    It has taken me a lot longer than most to read this one because I've been going back and forth multiple times to look over the fantastic photographs! Simply amazing , you most certainly have the eye for composure, detail and things unusual. Bookmarked for the future!

    Thanks for sharing and taking the time.
    Cheers
    Dean
    TravisGill likes this.
  14. Fordfixer

    Fordfixer Semi Old Fart

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    Midland, New Brunswick, Canada
    Stunning photography , Thank you from one who can only dream of doing a trip like yours.
    TravisGill likes this.
  15. Vrode

    Vrode Hangin' Out

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    Thanks for the ride along and chat. And the fantastic photography! Safe travels!
    TravisGill likes this.
  16. Rdy2Trvl

    Rdy2Trvl Been here awhile

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    Appreciate the time and effort in sharing your adventure. Love the quality of your photos and your descriptive write up.
    TravisGill likes this.
  17. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Very nice adventure, thanks.
    Did you find all the cats and did you bring the acorns home to plant?
    TravisGill likes this.
  18. scudo

    scudo Adventurer

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    Fantastic report very entertaining, glad you liked our little islands.
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  19. Jugama

    Jugama Been here awhile

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    Thank you for your excellent report. You beat me both with your pictures and writing.
    We went riding in Great Britain back in 2010, and we are planning to come again next summer.
    Your report is going to be very useful, since the idea is to do more or less the same route but anticlockwise.
    Thank you again for your free Travel Guide!
    TravisGill likes this.
  20. stevee

    stevee Been here awhile

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    I love this ride report.

    Like me, when you are out and about with your camera you always look beyond the obvious for things to see and snap - most people never bother to look up and sometimes there are amazing things around us.
    Excellent quality in photography too, makes me want to try harder with my own, especially as I live in the Cotswolds, surrounded by beautiful landscape and history.

    Steve
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