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Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:20 pm
by Boudica
Back from our two weeks on two wheels trip and outside is windy and dark, looks like we will have some rain soon.

My other half on Transalp 700cc and myself on Kawasaki Vulcan S 650cc, left Coltishall on the 3rd of June 2017 to Scotland, riding on the East coast. Initially we planned to leave around 04:00 but discovered late in the evening that the Transalp doesn’t have an MOT. That happens when you own 5 bikes, you get muddled up :D

MOT sorted out next morning around 08:30 at Danny D’s garage in Norwich- nice guy and very helpful, never met him before.
There we met another guy needing an MOT in a hurry as his ferry to France was booked for 13:00. That made us feel better as we weren’t the only ones with our heads in the clouds.

After we passed Kings Lynn we started to feel the holiday spirit, the traffic eased, the weather was neither cold nor hot, just perfect… the winding roads and the summer flowery smell made me smile. I started singing whilst riding. I could see drivers from the oncoming traffic watching me like I had lost the plot ☺)
Sutton bridge then Humber Bridge. First I crossed Humber Bridge was in my Hilux Surf, two years ago coming back from off road trip in Yorkshire Dales. I always wanted to cross the bridge on the motorbike. I love bridges, I truly believe these bridges are pieces of art. Lets say, engineering pieces of art. You must love them!

Peterlee was our first night stop to visit my other half’s daughter, and the next day we spent wandering around Durham. Nice city and a lovely meal at the Bella Italia by the river.
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We left Peterlee on Monday morning and headed to Stonehaven. It was our first rainy day and another 13 to follow. Some hours after riding through that wonderful concert hall for bikers known as the Tyne Tunnel, we skirted around Edinburgh with the aim of crossing the Firth of Forth. It was the first time I had seen the Forth Road Bridge. Another piece of art! It appears new bridge it’s build on the other side. How exiting! I must ride back when that it will be finished.
When we entered in Scotland the rain stopped and I was so happy, firstly because I dreamed for years to tour Scotland and here I am. And secondly, because the rain stopped.
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Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:28 pm
by Boudica
Our first campsite was Glenesk Caranvan Park in Edzell, beautiful place and very well managed. We spent here two wet and windy nights. On the second night we lost the front of our tent ha ha
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Campers will find everything they need here, from good powerful showers to fridge, wash machine and tumble dryer, a big living room, where loads of books can be found, a TV and comfortable armchairs. Also there is a game room with snooker and table tennis. Obviously they were prepared for wet and horrible weather!
Against our better judgement and despite the torrential rain, we decided to visit Edzell Castle and Dunnottar Castle.
Well, the ride to Dunnottar was a big experience for me.
We chose to ride the coast road; was raining and the up we rode the windy it get… and foggy….and the fog gets ticker…and ticker…and torrential rain and stronger wind. Couple of times lorries passed me and made my bike to ride in zigzag…and the traffic was incredible busy both ways although was very poor visibility!
When arrived to Dunnotarr castle and I could squeeze the water out of my leather gloves. My other half said: I could have more water in my boots but my feet are in the way! :laugh:
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For me the ride to the castle was a experience and a challenge, my other half said I passed the biker test! Probably he is right, it was a challenge, physically and mentally not to add my riding skills improved since.

We left Edzell and headed to Lossiemouth.
The entire trip was dry but very windy. Initially we planned to ride the Grampian Mountains. Due to strong wind we change the route and rode to Aberdeen then we followed Elgin. The entire trip was done at 35-45 m/h as we rode in zigzag ha ha
Lossiemouth was sunny and it was a blessing for us as we could dry our kit and maps.
We camped at Silver Sands, near the beach.
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A wee trip in Lossie for delicious fish and chips. Oh and I was introduced by my other half to McEwan’s beer, Banoch Brae, haggis and Meat and tatty pie. Yammmmmm (thumbs)
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Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:06 pm
by sprintster
Great report,a shame you didn't get the weather. I always say to people planning the west,if the weather is crap just head east,the weather is usually better and some roads as good as anywhere in Scotland.A pity you couldn't head into the Grampian'll just have to come back again. (thumbs)

Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:15 pm
by midlife
Thanks for sharing... keep it up

Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:53 pm
by Boudica
Thank you guys, I'll finish the report tomorrow. :)

Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:11 pm
by Boudica
The next day, the fourth day – we headed to Inverness and carried on to Invermoriston where we arranged the campsite for the night.
The road through Invermoriston was fantastic, old stone bridges and winding roads. And of course, it was raining!
Whilst waiting at a roundabout in a big queue in Inverness, a driver opened his window and said “What are you doing here, two bikes from Norfolk?” And the chat went on and on about bikes as the driver turned out to be a biker from Kent. :)
A stop to Loch Ness
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We stopped outside a leather and sheepskin craft shop in Invermoriston to ask for directions to the campsite.
The campsite, Inver Coille it is a lovely place to camp if you are of a mind to ride around and visit something every day.
Again, all the facilities there including a small shop with useful bits- canned food, sweets, canned fizzy drinks and nets for midges. Less Internet connection, as I found out when I tried to write a trip report from there and, after writing lots and lots, when I submitted was posted only a quarter of what I wrote.
We had booked only a single night there but decided to stay three more and use this campsite as a base whilst we visited other places.
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The following day, in Fort Augustus there were lots of tourists from Japan. One of them asked permission to take a picture of my Kawasaki and myself. We presumed he is working for Kawasaki as he appeared very excited about the cruiser.

During these four days we rode to Isle of Skye, we approached it from the East and aimed to visit the Bikers Cove then come back on the west coast. Our plans had to be changed in Portree due to the rain, wind and poor visibility. We have been waiting in the Co-Op in Portree for at least 30 minutes hoping the rain would ease. But the rain became torrential and we decided to ride back and, if the weather will allow us to do the Applecross Pass.
We rode some miles back and stopped for a cuppa. We did not manage to pour the sugar into our cups and stopped raining and a shy sun came up! What??? It was already 5pm, we couldn’t go back northwards up Skye as there now was not the time.
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We've found Nessie
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I am not a good narrator and the pictures are not doing the justice to the scenery. Beautiful roads we’ve rode and fantastic places we’ve seen!

Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:56 pm
by Boudica
Crossed Skye Bridge, nice and sunny weather, the next stop was a lake/ loch very close to Applecross.
As my bike wouldn’t handle very well on gravel and brough or broken road surfaces, especially taking into account the steep and wet road and tight bends, we have decided to not ride Applecross.

And it was raining and raining and raining again… I started to prefer the midges :laugh:

Checked the map out and decided to camp in Tarbet close to Inverary. A letter difference, I booked a pod in TARBERT, Kintyre peninsula :woohoo:
If it hadn’t been for that mistake we probably wouldn’t have visited that area - and it was worth every second of the trip. Tarbert is an old fishing village which was once a Viking stronghold.
Again, beautiful roads and an interesting place- lots of history.
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...and drying again our kit
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In Oban a biker said hello and later we’ve met him 100 miles South, it turned out he was a Mexican biker touring Scotland.

In Tarbert, quayside I managed to drop my bike. I stalled the engine as we pulled away. As I tried to lift my bike I saw with a sorry feeling, my partner riding off up the hill :D
A lorry driver stopped, left the hazard lights on, jumped out and helped me with the bike! Everything happened in few seconds, I couldn’t believe it happened to me! At that point we already had some 1500+ miles under our belts and we were tired as well.
Thanked to that stranger, nice guy!

Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:01 pm
by Boudica
Leaving Tarbert we’ve stopped near Ayr in campsite, The walled garden caravan park, owned by an old biker.
From there we took a run towards Stranraer, we’ve followed the coast road. Initially we wanted to ride through the Forest of Gallaway National Park but I dropped my bike again on a broken road with lots of gravel and snapped the brake leaver. So, the coast road was the best option as we couldn’t find the part in any shop. We called various shops and dealers far as Carlisle.

Two times I dropped my bike and she fell on the same spot both times, the end of the brake leaver and that snapped.
Our trip was planned for three weeks, now after nearly two weeks we had to think seriously to give up on Lake District and Squires Café trip as wasn’t safe to ride my bike on windy roads.
Just after 2pm we stopped for McDonald’s in Carlisle. After we filled the hole we decided to ride straight home, another 480 miles on top of what we rode so far. We started riding in the morning at 10 am so, we approximated we will arrive in Coltishall around 3 am. A long ride!

With that bad luck I was still happy. I crossed the English border up the far West and Far East. I have ridden Scotland’s beautiful roads and met nice people from all over the world.( mostly bikers ☺ )
I rode on the ‘’roof of England’’ the A66.

We've made it to Coltishall at 03:45 am, total of 1900 miles in 13 days.
The entire trip We have used only paper maps and road signs.

Campsite used and highly recommend to anyone, it is hard to say which one is the best. All of them, good prices too:
Glenesk Caravan Park- Edzell
Silver Sands- Lossiemtuh
Inver Coille- Inverstone
Isthmus- Tarbert
The Walled Caravan Car Park- Girvan

Bridges and Tunnels crossed:
Sutton Bridge
Humber Bridge
The Fourth Road Bridge
Skye Bridge
Lots of other little stone bridges

Places we haven’t manage to ride from different reasons but it was planned:
Grampians Mountains
The Bikers Cove
Galloway Forest
Isle of Skye – North, West and South

Funniest points:
Japanese Tourists – their reaction when they have seen my bike;
Getting wet and having a laugh about it;
Preferring the midges instead the rain;
Dropping the bike and a BMW sport car driver looked at me as I was an incapable alien'
A barn owl hit my partner on A17'
A bat hit us both in Norwich;
Me, dropping the bike and seconds later off I went.

Our trip hasn't been solely about biking and roads and wonderful scenery. We have met some great people too. Two cyclists from London who never stopped smiling, a lovely young German couple and their beautiful Land Rover, a biker from Mexico, a fellow Ducati Monster S4 owner from Yorkshire, and all our hosts at campsites. Three chatty bikers from Kent. Then there was the young lass who runs a leather and sheepskin craft shop who appeared a bit eccentric but ferociously happy, a chap from Bristol who stopped to chat from his car during a traffic jam in Inverness "are those Norfolk number plates on those bikes" he asked.....

Happy, happy days!
Ride safe and don't forget to smile, it is free ;)

Random pics
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More stickers please
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A stranger asked if we want a pic together
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Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 6:44 pm
by sprintster
Nice report.Better luck next time.....haste ye back! (thumbs)

Re: Coltishall to Scotland and back

Posted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:51 pm
by Boudica
Thank you sprintster, I believe I will be back with my Toyota Surf, just in case it will rain :lol: