Return of the Vikings – 3 weeks raid around the UK.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Don T, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    In the morning we rode into Fort Williams to have a look at the Jacobite Steam Train – to Harry Potter fans also known as the Hogwarts Express. Shortly before its departures from the station, we got on the bikes and raced to the Glenfinnan Viaduct – another well known feature from the movies. We got there in time to park the bikes, walk to a viewpoint and see the train drive past.

    With the Harry Potter stuff out of the way, we could go back to focusing on the riding for a while. The day was a mix of twisty single track roads and fast sweeping sections – we even manage to squeeze in a short ferry crossing. The riding was great and the views stunning. The roads were packed with riders enjoying the fair weather. We passed by Tyndrum – a meeting place for local riders – en route to Callander where we had booked room at a B&B.
    We arrived in time to go for a run before dinner. We followed a 4 miles route suggested by our hostess. It turned out to a very tough and hilly trail through the forest past Bracklinn Falls. It felt great to be psychical active after a long day in the saddle – and it made dinner taste even better.

    The Hogwarts Express at the station in Fort Williams:
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    At the Glenfinnan Viaduct:
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    Back to riding:
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    Short ferry crossing:
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    Another charming castle at a great location:
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    Callander:
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    The place we stayed:
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    Our bikes got company for the night:
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    #21
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  2. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    During breakfast we started chatting with 3 English rides staying at the B&B. They were out for the weekend in search of fast roads without speed cameras. Their attitude towards riding was very different from ours, but we shared the love for life on two wheels and the talk flowed freely.
    Back in the saddles we started out with a nice ride through The Trossachs before passing through Glasgow. In the afternoon we reached Galloway Forrest Park. We had fun on Raiders Road – a 20 km gravel road through the forest. As a result the bikes were coated in dust when we pulled up at Huntingdon House Hotel in Dumfries. Terry the owner turned out to be a rider as well (which might explain the dedicated motorcycle parking). When we had dropped our stuff off in our room, Terry served cold refreshments (beer and GT) on the patio, where we hung out with Terry and 3 of his friends who had ridden up from Southampton for the weekend. There was an atmosphere of friendly banter. At some point Terry tried to sell Katrine an 8 week old Bulldog puppy called Bear. Katrine and I laughed a lot and really enjoyed the company. Later 5 of us went out for dinner together. The only time the talk seized during the evening, was when all of us were stuffing our heads with Salted Caramel Cheesecake from heaven. It was late when we got back to the hotel. Katrine headed off to bed while I followed the others to the bar, where Terry’s wife Lynne joined us for a nightcap. I have rarely encountered such a jovial host couple.

    Another delicious breakfast - the 3 English riders in the background:
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    Apparently Katrine has a loch name after her in the The Trossachs:
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    Great riding in the morning:
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    Galloway Forrest Park:
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    Raiders Road:
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    Southern Scotland:
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    Huntingdon House gets my warmest recommendations!
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    In good company (Terry is the guy on the left):
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    Bear melted Katrines heart:
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    We encountered these festive ladies on our way to dinner:
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    Dinner with the crew from Southampton at a pub recommended by Terry. It had been awarded the best in Dumfries for more than 10 years in a row (with good reason):
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    Dumfries at night:
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    Back at Huntingdon House:
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    #22
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  3. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    After a good breakfast and more banter it was time for Katrine and I to continue our journey. Before crossing the border to England we stopped to have a closer look at Caerlaverock Castle.

    In the afternoon we met up with John and his son Will in Sedberg. John is the Godfather of the TET. I’m the linesman for Denmark. When John heard that we would pass through his neck of the woods, he had invited us to stay with him. We all arrived at the agreed place in Sedberg at the same time. It was nice to finally meet the guy that I’ve been communicating with on a regular basis for the last couple of years.

    After a short chat we got back on the bikes. John wanted to take us on a scenic ride through Yorkshire Dales. After a few kilometers we hit the first dirt roads. The trail started out in good condition, but soon deteriorated and became increasingly rutted. Not the ideal terrain for behemoths loaded with luggage. At some point I came around a bend and saw Katrine standing next to her bike sprawled across the track. She had been caught in a rut and thrown off the bike. We got the bike upright. It had some damage but after some fiddling it was rideable. Katrine had hurt both legs but nothing sprained or broken. The ride could continue. More trails and nice twisty roads led us to John’s place in Reeth. His wife Fiona greeted us with cold beers – just what we needed after a long, warm and strenuous day.

    As I did a routine check of my bike I discovered that both headlight bulbs were blown. In one of them the electrical filament had melted through the bulb - most likely as a result of all the bumps and vibrations during the day.

    After the beers we went to one of the local pubs for dinner. It was a very pleasant evening.

    No we didn't buy Bear - but Terry sure did his best:
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    Caerlaverock Castle:
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    Meeting up with John and Will:
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    Leaving the tarmac behind:
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    Will was out in front when Katrine crashed - he shot these videos when the rest of us caught up:






    Back on tarmac John thought his bike smelled strange, and took it apart (as KTM riders do for one reason or another on most rides) to find the reason:
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    Teatime:
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    The last stretch towards Reeth:
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    Unpacking and hanging out in front of the house:
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    Katrine said hello to this 19½ year old dog - at the other end of the leash was an equally ancient lady:
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    Dinnertime:
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    Katrine went to bed with sore and swollen legs:
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    #23
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  4. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices

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    I'm really enjoying your photos and ride report.
    The videos were funny with the braying sheep.... made me feel like I was there!
    But the last photo... poor Katrine is a real trooper! Ouch!
    #24
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  5. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue

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    I ran into a couple of riders yesterday who were doing the TET. Were having a great time until they had some mechanical problems.

    Ouchie bruises!
    #25
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  6. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    I'm glad you like it.
    Braying sheep is the soundtrack every where in Yorkshire Dales :)
    #26
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  7. RidgeRunner56

    RidgeRunner56 Adventurer

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    Wonderful RR..any possibility we can get your route?..thx
    #27
  8. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Top RR, Don T! Yes, having the route would be wonderful, if possible! Thanks for your time and effort sharing your trip with us!
    #28
  9. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Thank you :-)

    All good things comes to those who wait - later in the RR I'll post a picture showing the track from our trip.
    Besides that I'll share a GPX file with some big-bike friendly trails around the UK.

    OK - time to post the next chapter of the report...
    #29
  10. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Katrine hadn’t slept too well during the night, due to sore legs. She had several bruises and both legs were very swollen. John went off to work and we spend the morning around the house with Fiona and Will.

    Shortly before noon Katrine and I got on the bikes to follow a 200 km track around Yorkshire Dales that John had created for us the previous evening – it involved parts of TET UK. A few kilometers outside of Reeth we left the tarmac behind. The trail was great. Because of the pain in her legs, it was difficult for Katrine to handle the bike properly. Besides that the crash had dented her confidence so the going was slow. It was scorching hot with temperatures above 30°C. Later in the day we hit another trail section. The first part was uphill and pretty rocky. We hadn’t gotten far when a drain pipe across the trail caught Katrine out. She dropped the bike but didn’t get hurt. As we still had a long journey ahead of us, I cut out the rest of the days trail sections, to allow Katrine to recover a bit and build up some confidence (she is a very capable street rider).

    When we returned to Reeth, a BBQ had been prepared. We spend the evening hanging out in the garden. Talking to John it dawned on me just how much time and work he have invested in the TET project during the last couple of years. He has my deepest respect, as the TET would never have become a reality without a guy like him.

    John and Fiona's house is very old and used to be the towns almshouse. As a result it consists of 12 similar rooms - 4 at each floor. It was interesting to see how John and Fiona had adapted the rooms to fit their needs (they offer a room on Airbnb and especially welcome riders):
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    The view from the garden:
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    Pictures from the days ride:
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    As a testament to the dent in Katrine's confidence (and sore legs), I had to ride her bike out of a spot with loose rocks - normally she would just have blasted through:
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    Cooling down in the shade:
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    Malham Cove - another location recognizable for Harry Potter fans:
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    Sheep, sheep and more sheep - that is Yorkshire Dales in a nutshell:
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    BBQ in the evening:
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    Katrine always befriend the dogs she encounters:
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    #30
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  11. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    In the morning I spend a bit of time working on Katrine’s bike. The bracket that holds the wind screen and instrument cluster was partly broken. I managed to stabilize it with zip ties Fiona and Will had purchased for me the previous day. It was still early when we said our goodbyes and headed off towards the Lake District following a route suggested by John. At a gas station I spend £8 on 2 new head light bulbs for the Yamaha.

    Late in the morning we arrived at Aira Force Waterfall. We hiked to the fall before having lunch at the tea room. The afternoon was spend riding south through the Lake District on scenic roads. In the evening we arrived at Paul’s place just outside of Liverpool. We got to know Paul a couple of years ago, when him and 2 of his friends stayed at our place on their way to Nordkapp. It was good seeing him again – and to meet his girlfriend Rebecca and her son Charlie. Paul used to live in the city, but then he met Rebecca who rides horses. Last year they purchased a house in the countryside with some land to it. Paul really enjoyed his new life. He had build stables and paddocks for the horses, a huge chicken coop and was now working on a proper manege. The place was crawling with all kind of animals.

    Sometime during the evening Paul wanted to show me his newly acquired trial bike. When he started it up, his 1 year old German shepherd attacked the bike and shredded a brand new rear tire.

    Leaving Yorkshire Dales:
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    Around Aira Force Waterfall:
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    What's up with all the coins lodged in the log..?
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    The Lake District:
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    Hanging out with Paul and his family at the ranch:
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    Finlay the parrot - made famous for joining Paul on his "Around the UK single handed" adventure:
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    #31
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  12. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    I could be wrong, but I think the coins signify that it's a "wish tree"; the idea being to make a wish and then use a stone from the river/waterfall to hammer a coin into the tree, and your wish will be granted.
    #32
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  13. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    As Paul and Rebecca both had to leave for work, Katrine and I set out early in the morning.

    It was still early when we arrived at Bodnant Garden I Wales. Katrine used to work as a Gardner in the royal gardens in Denmark. As a result she has a thing with beautiful gardens. Bodnant Garden’s 80 acres blew her away. We spend a couple of hours exploring every corner of the garden.
    It was yet another scorching hot day. We were pretty roasted when we returned to the bikes. A short ride took us to Llandudno where we had taking Steve up on his TET space offer.

    When we pulled up in the driveway, we were greeted by Steve and his friend Marc. Marc would head out on a RTW trip a few days later. Steve has been riding a 660 Ténéré for some years and knows the bike inside out. Marc had picked the same model for the trip, and Steve was doing some electrical work on Marc’s bike to prepare it for the trip.
    Marc’s plan was to visit all 7 continents in 18 month. Quite an undertaking, especially as Marc had never ridden off road or wrenched on a bike. It will be interesting to follow his adventure.

    Steve’s girlfriend Lorraine got back from work late in the afternoon. Marc left soon after and Lorraine, Steve, Katrine and I went into town to get drinks and dinner. We ended up dining by the waterfront promenade at Dylan’s. The food was amazing. We had a great evening.

    Bodnant Garden:
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    A film shoot for a motion picture was taking place in the garden:
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    Steve and Marc:
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    Quality time in the garage:
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    An evening out in Llandudno:
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    #33
  14. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Katrine and I slept late the following morning. The plan for the day was to do an underground obstacle and zip line course at Zip World Caverns located in the mountains an hour’s ride south of Llandudno. We arrived at the caverns around noon and spend a couple of hours playing around underground.

    Afterwards we returned to Llandudno and went to the beach with Steve. Later Lorraine joined us. We picked up Fish and Chips for dinner and went up to a house in the hills above the town to have a picnic on the terrace with a view over the town and the sea beyond. It was Lorraine's childhood home. Her parents had bought the plot next to it and built an impressive villa. Her father didn’t like to have neighbors, so he had kept the old house. No one lived there but the fridge was stocked with beer and wine for occasions like this. When the Fish and Chips were consumed we dropped by Lorraine’s parents to say hello. The view from their terrace as the sun set over the ocean was breathtaking.

    Back at Steve and Lorraine’s house, Steve helped me create an interesting route for the coming days, before we called it a day.

    Zip World Caverns:
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    Walking to the beach in Llandudno:
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    A view from the terrace where we had dinner:
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    Lorraine’s parents new house:
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    Nice car:
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    Sunset:
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    The moon rising over Llandudno:
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    #34
  15. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    When we got up in the morning Lorraine had left for work. We had time to share a cup of coffee with Steve before he took off. Half an hour late we hit the road. We stopped at a café in Llanrwst to grab some breakfast – followed by a nice morning ride through Northern Wales. From Horseshoe Pass we aimed for Macclesfield as I wanted to ride the Cat and Fiddle. Nice road – and we made it to Buxton in one piece.
    We checked into a very nice B&B near the center with a view over the park and spend the rest of the day exploring on foot. It was prom night. The town was full of dressed up teenagers and there was a festive atmosphere.

    Breakfast in Llanrwst:
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    Last stop in Wales:
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    Entering The Peak District:
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    The B&B by the park in Buxton:
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    Prom night:
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    One young man broke the trend and arrived in a tractor :thumb:
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    #35
  16. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    The next morning we rode a loop through the Peak District before heading south towards Rushden, where our friends Suzanne and Roger were staying with her parents while taking a break from a RTW trip. I visited them in Bulgaria in April, but Katrine hadn’t seen them for more than 2 years. We arrived in Rushden in the afternoon, and were greeted in the driveway by Suzanne. Our bikes were squeezed into the garage between a whole bunch of other bikes. Suzanne’s father Clive ran a Yamaha dealership for several years and the whole family is very passionate about motorcycles – especially racing.

    The rest of the afternoon was spend in the garden, catching up and sharing stories over cold drinks. When Suzanne’s mother got back from work, all of us went out to a very nice local Italian restaurant for dinner. After dinner we walked back to the house to have a nightcap while watching the qualifying for Assen TT the following day.

    Charging the batteries in the morning:
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    The Peak District:
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    Sweet lunch by a channel:
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    At Suzanne's parents place in Rushden:
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    Walking home from dinner:
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    #36
  17. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    We woke to yet another day where the temperature should exceed 30°C in the afternoon. We decided that the bikes were going to have a day off. It was nice just for ones to be able to wear shorts and sandals all day. After breakfast we went in the car with Suzanne and Roger to the picturesque village Stow-on-the-Wold. We strolled around and had an ice cream before enjoying a drink at one of the pubs along the river. Next stop was Stratford upon-Avon – Shakespeare’s hometown. We walked through town and had a picnic at the riverbank in a park. Suzanne’s mother had prepared a feast for us. Suzanne drove the car back to Rushden surrounded by the sound of the rest of us snoring. Thankfully she stayed awake.

    Back at the house we watched Moto 2 and 3 from Assen before enjoying a BBQ in the garden. Later in the evening we all retired to the living room with drinks to watch the MotoGP race. It was a pleasure to share it with fellow Rossi fans who enjoys watching the races as much as I. It turned out to be one of the most entertaining races ever – even though the wrong guy took the victory…

    Heading out in the morning:
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    Stow-on-the-Wold:
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    Stratford upon-Avon – Shakespeare’s house:
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    Picnic by the river:
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    2 old dudes in a small steam boat:
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    Theatrical performance in the park:
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    BBQ back at the house:
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    #37
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  18. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    In the morning it was time to say our goodbyes and continue the journey.

    We only had a short days riding ahead of us, as we wanted to spend the day in Bath. The town had been on our list for both our previous visits to England, but for various reasons we had never made it – time to remedy that.

    Early in the afternoon we arrived at a B&B near the center of town. When the guy at the desk saw that we rode bikes and was suffering in the heat, he relocated us from the 2nd floor room we had booked to a bigger, more luxurious and nicely chilled room in the basement, and made room for the bikes in their garage. Brilliant service!

    Ones out of the motorcycle gear we set out to explore Bath on foot. It turned out to be as charming as expected. We did a tour of the Roman Bath, strolled around town and had a late dinner at a Caribbean style restaurant next to the river before returning to our B&B.

    Katrine stretching to get rid of a backache shortly after we left Rushden:
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    Stopped for lunch at a charming old inn.
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    Our upgraded basement room in Bath:
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    The Roman Bath:
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    Walking around town:
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    Dinnertime (Katrine isn't posing :toney only nursing her still aching back):
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    #38
  19. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast we left Bath behind and rode through Cheddar Canyon before arriving at Glastonbury Tor. We walked to the top to enjoy the scenic view. We continued on small roads through the countryside. As we were a bit ahead of schedule, we took a long break in New Forest during the afternoon, lounging in the shade of a tree.

    Early in the evening we arrived in Eastleigh where Allen (a fellow adv-inmate) had offered to host us and take us for a ride in the area. We were greeted by Allen and his daughter Sophie. Later his wife Lorraine joined us and we had an extraordinary tasty Indian dinner.

    Cheddar Canyon:
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    Glastonbury Tor:
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    New Forest:
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    Katrine made more 4 legged friends in Eastleigh:
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    Take-away at its best:
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    #39
  20. jwmitch

    jwmitch Running on empty

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    Loving the report, you must have passed through my neck of the woods, Gloucestershire.

    jwmitch
    #40