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Round Britain Trip August 2010

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Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by JT on Fri 20 Aug 2010, 23:09

Now then

Lesley and Me on our XJR1300SP and Bob and Sara on their CB1300s rode anti clockwise round mainland Britain for our holiday this year. We setting off on Wed 11th Aug and went via:- Blairgowrie, Thurso (popping to John O'Groats obviously), Inverarnan, Keswick, Chepstow, Lands End, Petersfield, Lowestoft, Louth then home for Thursday night 19th Aug. First four nights booked then we'll stop when and where we fancy. Keeping to 'A' & 'B' roads and only touching motorways when nescessary hopefully Smile

Day 1 Wed 11th
up in good time and away by 09:00. Weather was dry with some sun, which was nice Through Northallerton to Darlington on the A167 then joined the A68 which we would follow all the way to Edinburgh. The A68 is a great road for a first day of a trip. As I've said before it is a rollercoaster of a road with good surface and lovely views. You pass a lake or two, ride through a forest or two and climb some lovely hills. There's the odd speed camera but the sat nav let's u know where the fixed ones are, even though one still caught us out, getting carried away as u do it was hidden behind a trees branches so we had to put the bikes on their noses it didn't flash anyway so all OK.

First stop was for the loo and for petrol at Jedburgh, 118 miles, then we rode for another hour and stopped for a bite to eat just before Edinburgh. As we set off again the bloody intercom started to play up. It must be a bad connection because the music kept comin in and out Over the Forth road bridge and up to Perth then NE to Blairgowrie where we are in a B&B for the night. It's a bungalow so no stairs to climb with luggage lovely couple and rooms, clean and homely. We had a coffee and a chat, showered and had a ten minute walk into town where we had a look round the small centre and found a hotel to eat in the bar. A couple of drinks and then back to the digs.

We had a decent days weather with a couple of light showers once we got into Scotland but no wet roads to speak of.

Day 2 Thurs 12th

Had an excellent breakfast served in the conservatory of our B&B, wanted for nothing. It was raining a little on and off and Robert our host, was wiping the bikes down for us so they were dry A lovely couple and somewhere worth stopping on the way up or down from Scotland, Glenvar B&B, Blairgowrie

Off up the A93 through Braemar and past Balmoral Castle the road was good. It was damp in places but nothing much. Then left onto the A939 at Bridge of Gairn onto a narrower road with passing places for a short while before opening out. We were climbing to the top of mountains with ski resorts left and right. The rain got heavier and tried it's best to spoil our fun butthe scenery was stunning and the roads dead quiet. What the rain did add was Rainbows, spectacular rainbows and because we were so high at one point we were level with one, an amazing sight, the colours were amazin.

The rain got quite heavy so we decided at Grantown on Spey to jump on the A9 instead of heading for Nairn further up the A939. The A9 was a lot busier and with the rain and spray made it very interesting but we ploughed on overtaking where we could and keeping a decent pace. Over the bridge at Cromarty Firth where the weather had improved and was dry we made a petrol stop at Evanton. There was a cafe there too and soup and rolls were the order of the day and hit the spot.

Back onto the A9 and what a lovely road to ride. Again little traffic to hold us up but an easy road to overtake on anyway. From Evanton the road follows the coastline with some lovely views out to sea and has a great blend of fast straights, sweeping corners and a hairpin or two with climbs to boot
when we turned left at Latherton the road turns inland and heads over some barren land. The road changes to a sorry looking, worn, uneven surface but infact was fine. Some very long straights take u quickly into Thurso.

We booked into our hotel and ate in a bar called 'Y-Not'. It didn't look much from the outside but we had a cracking meal and would recommend it. Back to our hotel for a nite cap to end the day.

Day 3 Fri 13th

It was dry and bright as we rode along to John O'Groats along a road of long straights connected by a series of corners, not what I expected, I thought it would be tight and twisty following a jaggered coastline but it was a nice surprise. The signpost is and always has been private and it is just a post with no places or signs on it, there's a photographer in a little hut who puts the place names up and takes ur photo for u. He wasn't there when we were and there was a number u could ring, we didn't bother, then he turned up as we were leaving

Down the A99 to Wick, straight onto the A9 we had three forced stops, Bob got stung on the chin by a wasp that had crawled up into his helmet, then one of his bungie straps holding the waterproof cover on one of his saddle bags on flew off and finally Lesley had unplugged her Autcom cable at her helmet and it was dangling under the bike. The weather started to turn to rain before we reached Inverness and joining the A82 it got a little worse. It was a shame because that is another cracking road which we had to take a little easier because of the wet roads. We had a pitstop in Drumnadrochit where it changed between pouring down and light drizzle. Bellies and bikes filled we were back on the A82 heading south and as we rode through Fort Augustus the rain stopped, the roads dried and the sun appeared. The road is food but really comes alive after The Corran ferry just after Fort William. Glen Coe is nothing short of Dramatic and Stunningly beautiful. Riding through there rivals anywhere, including Europe it was a shame to leave it but through Tyndrum, right at Crianlarich and onto Bienglas campsite, Inverarnan where lasts years XJR AGM was held. Wee Al and Hazel came up to meet us and we all ate at The Drovers pub and chewed the fat before they made their way home and we retired to bed.

Day 4 Sat 14th

"Full Scottish for me" and it was lovely thank u very much. I do love a cooked breakfast everyday on a biking holiday There was hundreds of hungry midgies outside on Sat mornin so the bags and tank bag were loaded with Jacket on and done up and helmet fastened with visor down, the little buggers were everywhere

Out onto the sublime A82 in lovely sunshine and the brilliant stretch along the side of Loch Lomond. It hugs the very shorline weaving in and out giving us glimpses of the Loch through the gaps between the trees. It's double white lines for a lot if it but if ur lucky and hit it right there's no one dawdling about and holding u up. Through Glasgow with not too much traffic considering it's Sat morning and onto the M77 to Kilmarnock then onto the A76 heading towards Dumfries or atleast we would've done but for the A76 being closed at Mauchline so had to follow a diversion along a nice little road, the A719 and back onto the A77. While at traffic lights around Prestwick/Ayr I punched Gretna Green into the Sat nav, which I'd only been using for music and it took us onto an absolute gem of a road, tha A713 what a belter, twisting and turning back and forth up and down it is a classic and so quiet for a Sat morning it must be dead at any other time. We were then directed along the B729, very picturesque indeed, taking us into the middle of now where, right out intge sticks over cattle grids and along about 5 miles of narrow road passing places. We stopped to take in the view and get some photos and it was so quiet, no traffic and no sound at all. The sun was beating down and all was well We by-passed Dumfries and landed in Gretna Green via the A75. We parked up at the Old Blacksmiths Shop which is a tourist centre now and had a bite to eat for lunch while another couple tied the knot and the resident piper played. We jumped on the M6 to get to Penrith sharpish, along the A66 a short hop then picked up the B5322 at Threlkeld and as joining the A591 our B&B was right on the junction. It was a working milk farm and 1/2 a mile up the road was a lovely pub we had our evening meal in. Another day over but no signal to post or txt.

Day 5 Sun 15th (I'm feeling like the narrator off Big Brother, I've even got the accent )

We sat and had breakfast with an Australian couple and their daughter who are on a nine week holiday of Britain and Europe, very nice too but they were in a hire tin box so that made us feel better It was a lovely bright sunny morning near Keswick with a beautiful view out if the breakfast room window. Breakfast, coffee and tea were despatched along with swapping tales with the Aussies and we were on our way south. As sharp as we left the B&B we were on the edge of Lake Thirlmere, following the contours of the lake and beautiful it was too in the morning light. We followed the A591 along Grasmere and then the top of Windermere before cutting inland to Kendal. The roadsurface is very poor in parts and very slow at Windermere because of traffic, even first thing and because of the speed limits which are at times a joke

Through Kendal we jumped on the M6 to cover ground to the M56 dropping into Lymm services for petrol and a quick drink. Sparky from the XJR club was there with three mates heading for the cat and fiddle so we had a quick chat.

Fuelled up and along one junction of the M56 we joined the A49 and headed south again. It was no different to going to Oulton Park, early on a race day. Not busy enough to creep along but quiet enough to make progress and make plenty of safe overtakes. Once past Oulton Park the road seemed a little familiar and that was due to two trips with the XJROC to the Raven. And so it was we stopped for a bit of lunch at the Raven, which was surprisingly quiet. Sandwiches were despatched and then further down the A49 before a sign I saw saying the road was closed with a diversion along the B4368. As soon as we turned onto this road and saw the biker beware signs I knew we were oba good road and so it turned out even turning right onto the B4365 didn't upset our rhythm and we sailed back onto the A49 at Ludlow via the race course. The A49 was very quiet and easy to make good progress on a Sunday afternoon. We've stopped for the night at a Premier Inn at Ross on Wye ready for the day tomorrow.

Day 6 Mon 16th

Got up to beautiful hot sunshine, it was glorious. After breakfast we hit the A40 to Monmouth then turned onto the best road of the day and a contender for best surprise road of the trip, the A466 to Chepstow. The road runs through canopy after canopy made of trees so thick it was almost black as night in parts which added to the thrill. It snakes back and forth with very few villages to negotiate and was the perfect wake me up start to our day We nipped over the Severn Bridge, which has a very imposing stature then picked up the M5. We had decided to go straight to Lands End the quickest route so we could spend a little time there so it was onto the A30 at the end of the M5 with a stop at Hayle near St Ives for a sarnie and lemonade. We found a B&B nearby, booked into there, left our luggage in the rooms and headed off to meet Diego & Lou Lou to ride to Lands End.

Diego had txt me to say that him and Lou Lou were in Cornwall for a few days and so we decided to meet up and all ride to Lands End. We met on the outskirts of Hayle and made steady progress with the mid afternoon traffic. Land End is privately owned and you have to pay to park. We pulled up to the booth on the bikes and the lad waved us through with a "your alright mate",what a top man The sign post here is also privately owned but atleast there was a couple of place names and their mileages on and you could get close enough to get a picture with it in the background. As in John O'Groats you had to pay to get the photographer who would put your town and mileage on then take your photo. None of went for that but as we ate our ice creams Harlow was suddenly put on the signpost which is Bob and Sara's home town so we managed to get a photo with them in too, how lucky can you be The weather was very warm and sunny, a lovely end to the afternoon and very picturesque.

Diego and Lou Lou went on to Mousehole and we headed back to digs to get changed and walked to the village pub for one the best meals we've while on this trip and fantastic value at 52 for three courses for 4 people, amazing

It felt great to be at Lands End, an achievement to do the John O'Groats to Lands End journey on our hols.

Day 7 Tues 17th

The weather wasn't too clever this morning, it was drizzling and the roads were damp. Bob and Sara wanted to stop around Salisbury, Exeter, Glastonbury area for a couple of nights and chill out so we would part around there. The traffic on the A30 wasn't too bad as we headed for the M5 but the weather didn't improve infact it went down hill and got quite wet. The bikes will need some TLC when we get home

The rain gave up as we stopped at Honiton on the A303 for a break. We pulled into a cafe and Bob and Lesley got the biggest Rock bun and piece of cake we'd ever seen, they were enormous and fantastic value A few miles further on and Bob and Sara took another road. It had been a great journey and to visit John O'Groats and Lands End in the one trip with friends was brilliant. We waved as we parted and ploughed on. At our next petrol stop I'd had a txt from friends in Peacehaven asking if we'd make it to see them and Lesley said it would be nice if we could. With the weather turning wet again we decided we wouldn't miss much if we didn't stick to the roads I'd planned and it would be good to our friends so I put their address in the sat nav and it said a couple of hours so we decided to go for it. It was 13:45 as we left the garage on the A303 and we went via the A36, M27 and A27, the weather was very poor, the traffic got heavier and the roads were nowt to shout about obviously when we got on the motorway but we landed in Peacehaven at 16:10 after our most miles in a day of this trip. We showered, chatted and ate a lovely meal and retired to bed to sleep off the day.

Day 8 Wed 18th

After our 290 mile day yesterday we had a bit of a layin and didn't get up until 09:00. The morning was beautiful, sun was shining and we set off by 11:00. the roads were pretty busy but then there's a lot of people live in the South We went via Newhaven, along the Beddingham road then as we came out of the cuilfail tunnel at Lewes there was a traffic car about 6 vehicles infront of us. We made our way past the cars safely, one at a time, along the A26 and came up behind the copper, keeping a safe 2 second gap then as we made our way round Uckfield they moved over to the left of the lane doing about 55mph, I didn't need a second invitation, there was nothing coming the other way so I overtook them and waved a thankyou as we pulled back in. That's a first, they didn't tailgate me, infact they slowed if anything and let us get on our way at 60mph

We rode through Tunbridge Wells and through the Dartford tunnel then via Chelmsford to Colchester where we joined the A134 and headed north. We passed Bury st Edmonds and thought about staying in Thetford before deciding to crack on, so rode through Thetford Forest. This was the best part of the day. Riding through the forest was lovely. The road was quiet, the weather was still sunny and it was a perfect way to end the riding for the day because we turned to Downham Market and found a lovely coaching Inn to stay in for the night. It was a warm evening so after booking in we had a couple of drinks sat outside, had a walk round the market place and then had another very good meal before getting our heads down for the night.

Day 9 Thurs 19th

What a great nights sleep in a 'massive' comfortable bed Another cooked breakfast and I 've gotta say I struggled a bit, 9 on the trot and I can tell

The sun was shining again this morning for our last day on the road. We left downham Market on the A1122, initially following the river Great Ouse, joined the A1101 at Outwell, both very nice surfaced roads with plenty of twists and turns to keep it interesting and then the A17 at Long Sutton, a much busier road with wagons galore using it. Once we got onto the A16 it was alot quieter and that's a cracking fast road, lovely surface with great scenery too. We stopped for petrol and a quick snack just below Louth and when we got back on the road we saw a huge Buzzard just above us, low in the sky. It wasn't the first big bird of prey we'd seen on this trip but I was surprised to see it in a flat land area as opposed to a hilly area

I know this area a little because of the times I've been to Cadwell Park so didn't need to look at the map or use the sat nav to find my way and any road or route you take they're great roads We took the A631 from the Louth ringroad the just through Ludford turned right onto the B1225 a lovely flowing fast 'B' road with no traffic to speak of. Then it's onto an unamed road that brings you out right next to the Humberside airport. Past the airport on the A18 and onto the A15 dual carraigeway over the striking Humber Bridge. The water of the Humber never looks anything but 'shit brown', I don't know why but it spoils the view a little.

Onto the A164 then the A1079 to York. Both these roads were fairly busy the latter being a well used route for the port at Hull. Round the York ringroad and up the A19 back to Thirsk.

Spent the rest of the day and evening giving the bike a bloody good wash and clean up, god it needed it. We covered 2110 miles in total and put 239 litres of petrol in the bike. We saw some beautiful scenery and very funny place names, met some interesting people, rode some cracking roads and didn't have to change to a different currency or learn a different language, although in some parts of the country we thought they were speaking a foreign language
It was a great experience with many highlights and the bikes never let us down

Photo's to follow

Cheers




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JT
MotoGP Legend

Number of posts : 1589
Male Age : 52
Location : Thirsk
My bike(s) : 01 Yamaha XJR1300SP
Registration date : 2010-03-24

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Re: Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by silverback on Sat 21 Aug 2010, 00:53

GREAT report Cool shame you never took the Ullapool road from Thurso then down to Fort William.
The ski resort was the LECHT "Blairgowrie to Grantown on Spey road"
Midgies = SKIN SO SOFT MOISTURISER gay
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silverback
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Re: Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by JT on Sun 22 Aug 2010, 13:00

Now then

Here's some photo's from our trip Smile


Ready for the off

[img][/img]



Blairgowrie

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Cafe at Evanton, Scotland

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A Highland Welcome sign in the Cafe

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Holborn Hotel in Thurso

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John O 'Groats

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Lesley and Me

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Bob, Sara, Lesley and Me

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Bob

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Bob, Sara and Lesley at Bob's 'Sting stop' Laughing

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Loch Fleet, Scotland

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Me, Lesley, Sara and Bob





The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan, Scotland





Al, Bob, Sara, Lesley and Hazel





B729 Scotland





Thirlmere, Keswick





Thirlmere, Keswick





Thirlmere, Keswick





Me, Lesley, Bob and Sara





Pub at Thirlmere, Keswick






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JT
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Number of posts : 1589
Male Age : 52
Location : Thirsk
My bike(s) : 01 Yamaha XJR1300SP
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Re: Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by CBR Monkey on Sun 22 Aug 2010, 17:02

WOW....what a trip sounds and looks like you had a really good time and took in so many good roads, I'm very jealous! I love the area around Keswick, beautiful part of the country with great roads, pubs and people.
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CBR Monkey
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Re: Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by JT on Sun 22 Aug 2010, 19:06

Now then

Some more photo's of our trip



at The Raven, Whitchurch




On the Severn Bridge




View of the second Severn Bridge




Bob and Sara on the Severn Bridge




Hayle, Cornwall




View from our B&B at Connor Downs




Lesley, Pete, Lou, Bob and Sara




At Lands End




Lands End signpost




View along from Lands End




The Crown Hotel, Downham Market, Norfolk




Downham Market, Norfolk


Cheers Smile
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JT
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Number of posts : 1589
Male Age : 52
Location : Thirsk
My bike(s) : 01 Yamaha XJR1300SP
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Re: Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by silverback on Mon 23 Aug 2010, 04:09

874 miles from Lands End to John 0'Groats
876 miles from John 0'Groats to Lands End
Suspect screwy What happened to the 2 miles difference scratch
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silverback
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Re: Round Britain Trip August 2010

Post by Kaiser on Tue 24 Aug 2010, 15:08

Sounds a great trip and great pics sunny
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