UK tour - summer of 2018 - looking for BOAT advice/recommendations.

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Don T, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    My girlfriend and I plan on spending our summer vacation next year riding around the U.K.

    A bit about us:
    We are experienced riders who have traveled extensively on two wheels - mostly on tarmac but often gravel/dirt roads are thrown into the mix in order to get to where we want to go. I would say that our trail riding skills are intermediate.

    For the UK trip next year I will be riding my S10 and my girlfriend her 800GS - both on 50/50 tires.

    We have visited the UK (and Ireland) a couple of times before on two wheels.
    To make this trip different and more adventurous than previous visits we would like to include green lanes (BOAT) as much as possible - taking into account the obese pigs we are riding.

    I've had a look at TET, GLASS, Trailwise, OS Maps and similar resources, but are looking for advise/recommendations on specific big bike friendly green lanes all over the UK - especially through roads. GPX files/tracks would be very welcome.
    I'm well aware that the conditions (wet/dry) is a crucial factor in how difficult a given track is to ride, and we will bear that in mind during the trip.

    Another question:
    Which time during the summer is best for a trip like this (a good chance for fair weather and not too many tourists)?

    If you have other useful advise/recommendations I'm all ears :ear
    #1
  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    We get rain any time. Sun too, though not so much.
    Tourists? They'll be in London or Brighton. You'll be the only one off road.
    Our Bank Holidays are traffic and people hell.

    ABR in their magazine have little off road routes.
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  3. Joezeph

    Joezeph Been here awhile

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    Wales has by far the most & best offroad routes in the UK, as for the weather, take your waterproofs any month of the year.
    (I went back to the UK 3 or 4yrs ago in June thinking l would have nice weather & it was the wettest June on record!)
    http://www.rmtrailriding.co.uk/
    http://www.trailrides-wales.com/
    http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/NTIzMDY=
    http://www.bestbikingroads.com/motorcycle-roads/gps-roadbook-tours/rides-in-europe
    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/news/2016/april/mcn-plus---coast-to-coast-off-road-bike/
    https://www.bikechatforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=164028
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  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    With that much time, you may want to take the ferry over to Isle of Man and ride some of the green lanes there.
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  5. GvG

    GvG Been here awhile

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    Saw plenty of tourists on Skye, on-road.
    But in general the amount of non-British tourists is really low outside the Dover-London area and Stonehenge/Bath/Cambridge. Hardly saw any in Wales and Scotland.
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  6. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    That would about cover it. Occasionally there is a film or hit TV programme that gets people all excited - the Harry Potter thing, similar to the Dan Brown books round Europe.

    About the only non UK, non eastern European workers we see here are Dutch. Lots of yellow plates (compared to French or German and hardly any others)
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  7. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    I know that there are chances for rain year around in the UK (some areas more than others), it's the same here in Denmark, but some month during the year, the chances for fair weather is better than others. I guess the same goes for the UK..?

    During previous trips to the UK I've encountered plenty of tourists in the countryside - many of them natives, but tourists non the less.
    Is there certain weeks during the summer when the majority of UK residents take their vacation?

    Thank you for your reply Joezeph.

    I love riding in Wales (despite the often wet weather), but I don't expect that the trail riding companies will share their tracks with me for free, as they do this for a living :hmmmmm
    It seems that "bestbikingroads" is mainly about tarmac routes.
    The coast to coast report in MCN describe the kind of trail riding I will try to avoid on a bike like the S10 :p3rry
    The thread on BCF is a general guide to green lane riding - I got that covered.

    It is not a problem for me finding BOAT on a map, but I have no chance of knowing the conditions of the individual tracks, so what I'm looking for is specific recommendations from people with local knowledge about BOAT suited for bigger adventure bikes.

    I've never visited IOM before, but have considered going to the TT a few times.
    Is the island (and the green lanes) worth the time and money spend on the crossing?
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  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Yes. Even if a race isn't going on (I think there are two others besides the TT) there is a lot to see on the Isle. There are two castles, one of which has a museum telling about viking history related to IOM, Magnus Barelegs, etc. The Lackey Wheel, the Snaefel Mountain Railroad, electric railroad, miniature steam train, not to mention all the pubs with TT memorabilia. There is a fast and slow ferry, so that could save you some time on the water. I think the fast one is 3 hours or something? The biggest benefit to going when there is no race is actually being able to ride a full lap of the course. I hear a lot of people say they ran into traffic/crash/closure during the TT and couldn't make it all the way around. The down side is missing the motorcycle carnival atmosphere that happens during the fortnight. Oh, and don't forget smoked Manx kippers and sauteed queenies!

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    https://www.visitisleofman.com/things-to-do/attractions/castles-and-ancient-sites

    When I was there, I couldn't secure a rented motorcycle for a reasonable price, so I didn't get out on the green lanes. I have seen pictures, however, and it looks like a fun thing to do. From what I saw in the rest of the UK, the Manx are much more open to motorized vehicles on their green lanes, so there are more of them per area.

    [​IMG]
    https://www.gov.im/categories/travel-traffic-and-motoring/greenlanes/
    http://www.trf.org.uk/the-isle-of-green-roads/
    http://www.manxtrax.co.uk/
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  9. JimRidesThis

    JimRidesThis Local celebrity

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    Most families take vacations in the school holidays - in England mid-July to the end of August, in Scotland beginning of July to early/mid August. In the Lake District (and Northern UK in general) late May and June offer less tourists and better weather. In the Lakes particularly, July can often be quite a wet month.

    All of the legal off-Road trails in Cumbria are detailed (with maps and a description of surface conditions and upkeep) on this website - https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-tr...de-access/HOTR/Hierarchy_of_Trails_Routes.asp - but, thanks to The Ramblers Association, there are very few longer off-road routes and some, like Gatesgarth Pass, which would be a real struggle on a big bike. You can string a few BOATs together to make a good day of it though.

    There are some good tracks in North Yorkshire/Yorkshire Dales (e.g. search maps for Stalling Busk to Cray - that track is called High Lane) which are doable on bigger bikes.
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  10. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Thanks a lot Jim - everything is duly noted :thumb

    Checking out the "High Lane" you mentioned, I stumbled across this site, which seems to be another good recourse for information.
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  11. JimRidesThis

    JimRidesThis Local celebrity

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    That looks like a good site, I’ve not seen that one before. That’s the right track by the way, in my opinion better done from Cray to Stalling Busk :thumb
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  12. Herman1

    Herman1 Been here awhile

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    Every area will have a definitive map showing what is legal so its a bit of a faff trying to glue together long distance stuff. However the TET may be worth a look. I can certainly show you around southern central England and Salisbury Plain for the big bikes is a must. I have an S10 too but recently returned it to road only trim so know what is possible I guess. ABR forum will have ride outs and helpful folk , probably. Pm me if required.
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  13. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    As we will be riding all over the UK buying regional OS paper maps would be very expensive and unpractical.
    I have no illusion that we can do long distance travel in the UK without mainly riding tarmac, but it could be fun to incorporate as many green lanes as possible when we explore the areas we ride through.

    I have a very good idea about the kind of riding the TET has to offer in the UK. I'm part of the project as the Danish linesman.
    The TET is aimed at small and medium capacity trail bikes, and Brian the UK linesman have taken that to heart when creating the UK track - much of it really isn't suited for an obese pig like the S10 :yikes

    We would love to take you up on your offer to show us around your neck of the woods!
    I'll get back to you when the dates for the trip have been decided and we get closer to departure :type
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  14. Herman1

    Herman1 Been here awhile

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    No worries please do so. The definitive map is something each local council is responsible for maintaining and basically tells you the legal status of rights of way and is an on line service generally (and free) . Useful for local rides but not really yours I suspect. The OS map can be had for the garmins, etc. and will show all the rights of way but will be only as accurate as it's published date.
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  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Anyway, I don't think the OS regional maps show rights of way in the detail you would need.
    You would need a side car to carry all the Explorer maps, but the OS has an online facility, but I have no idea how useful that would be on the go.

    All the places I have lived have been heavy clay. Not much fun on a light trials bike, on a road biased bike, not fun at all.

    If starting from scratch, with Jim's offer on the table, I would have a look at the areas around the stoney national parks - Derbyshire Dales, North York Moors, Lakes, Dartmoor/Exmoor, Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia and where ever else takes your fancy.
    The Ridgway used to be a decent ride, but have no idea of its current status.
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  16. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    While the bikes are still hibernating in the garage as spring have decided to postpone its arrival, our trip to the UK have moved one step closer.

    I have purchased tickets for the Amsterdam-Newcastle ferry.
    We arrive in England the 18th of June and have 3 weeks at our disposal.
    From Newcastle we will head north to spend some time in Scotland before winding our way south until we eventually hit the Eurotunnel to get back to Mainland Europe - besides that our itinerary is very flexible.

    While I'm waiting for spring to arrive I spend time browsing through the back catalog of ABR magazines. It's a well of inspiration.

    I'm still all ears to recommendations for routes or places to see, and if someone wants to meet up and/or show us around while we are in the UK that would be great - nothing beats local knowledge.
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  17. Herman1

    Herman1 Been here awhile

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  18. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Thank you yet again Herman.
    Before you posted the link, I had more or less given up on riding gravel while in Scotland - raiders road looks nice.

    We still plan on doing Salisbury Plain.
    I imagine that we will reach the southern part of England a couple of weeks after we arrive in Newcastle, which should leave you time to settle in before we show up.
    I'll be in touch :-)
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  19. Its not Ginger!

    Its not Ginger! Been here awhile

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    You can get a digital subscription to Adventure Bike Rider for a few quid (or is that what you have?) and then go through all the back issues.

    ...the UK is well known for being quite poor with regard to off road riding, there is virtually none near me (Cotswolds region) but if passing by (which you must be at some point) I can probably point you at some nice less travelled roads from pretty little villages.

    I would assume you will come down from Scotland and take less travelled roads of the Northumberland National Park, Lake District, Wales and then pop out not too far from me before heading down to Salisbury.

    I am near number 12 on the ABR map, happy to help with local roads.
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  20. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    I have the digital subscription ABR so I'll bring all the back issues with me on the ride which will allow me to look up BOAT during the trip - I like to plan as I go, spending the evenings creating routes for the following day or two.
    I will bring Michelin regional road map 501 and 503 (1:400.000 with scenic routes marked) for this trip - combined with ABR and my GPS I should be able to create some interesting routes.

    If possible we would love to meet up with you, when we get to your part of the woods - to get local info and maybe share a pint :)
    #20