OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Where you've been and what you done
User avatar
OB1
Posts: 2196
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:37 am
Been thanked: 2 times

OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by OB1 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:11 pm

Last week, Esther and I completed the Four Corners of the UK Tour; a short trip for me but Esther's first experience of long distance riding. The route would take in various landmarks including a couple of bikers' cafés, Stonehenge, the Angel of the North and the North Coast 500. The four corners of the route are the geographically furthest distances from each other, rather than the furthest North, South, East and West points, i.e. Lowestoft Ness in the East, Land's End in the South, St. David's Head in the west and John o'Groats in the North (sorry for mansplaining if you already knew this).

Image

We set off on Saturday the 5th of August from my home in Ipswich to our first destination, The Bike Shed in Shoreditch, London. Quite a boring ride down the A12 and into central London, but every journey has to start somewhere. We stopped for a light lunch and to avoid the shower that arrived at the same time as us. It's a lovely place with indoor motorcycle parking, even though it seems to be hipster central.

Image

Then we headed over to the Ace Café as Esther wanted to visit.

Image

We didn't spend too long there as we had to get over to Somerset for the evening. We popped in to Stonehenge on the way past and I was surprised to find that it has completely changed since my last visit some 18 years ago: the Visitor Centre is now some distance from the stones and it costs nearly £20 for the pleasure... So we just wandered around the gift shop and chatted to a couple of French bikers before heading to our overnight stop at the Travelodge in Taunton where we had a lovely evening meal at the pub next door followed by a really good night's sleep.

Distance for the day: 242 miles
Distance total: 242 miles

Image
A • AND • B • CDN • CH • CN • CY • CYM • CZ • D • DK • E • EST • ET • F • FIN • GR • HK • HR • I • IL • IRL • L • LT • LV • M • N • N-IRL • NL • P • PL • RSM • S • SCO • SCV • SLO • USA • YU

User avatar
Norrie77
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by Norrie77 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:13 pm

Ye got to start somewhere, look forward to the rest of your RR

Norrie
0 - 60 in as long as it takes

User avatar
OB1
Posts: 2196
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:37 am
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by OB1 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:01 pm

Day 2 started bright and early and fully refreshed... for me. Esther, on the other hand had been ill during the night die to an uncooked prawn in last night's meal. She soon recovered and, after fuelling up, we set off to Land's End. The ride down there was uneventful and we parked up and wandered around the very tourist-driven landmark. We chatted to the photographer at the famous LEJOG sign and asked if we could bring the bike around as we were doing the four corners. After a bit of a think, he allowed me to push the bike around and we had our photo taken in front of the sign.

Image

Image

Image

We headed back the way we came, which was a bit of a chore, towards Taunton and onward, crossing the Severn Bridge into Wales and arriving at the Ibis Hotel in Cardiff for the evening.

Distance for the day: 383 miles
Distance total: 625 miles

Image
A • AND • B • CDN • CH • CN • CY • CYM • CZ • D • DK • E • EST • ET • F • FIN • GR • HK • HR • I • IL • IRL • L • LT • LV • M • N • N-IRL • NL • P • PL • RSM • S • SCO • SCV • SLO • USA • YU

User avatar
Brenhden
Posts: 4922
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:51 pm
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by Brenhden » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:10 pm

Looking forward to reading the rest :)
And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.

Suzuki DR650 DrBink. DR350 - El'Binko. DR125 - Ol'Bink the Skeleton.

User avatar
Alun
Moderator
Posts: 4334
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:54 pm
Location: Stratford upon Avon
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 33 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by Alun » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Thanks for taking the time to post, great thread.

User avatar
OB1
Posts: 2196
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:37 am
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by OB1 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:43 pm

The ride towards Saint David's Head started of grey and overcast with a shower as we passed Port Talbot. It didn't dampen our spirits or our skin as our Klim gear did just what it should and kept us warm and dry. During a quick stop at a service station on the M4, we encountered a mixed group or bikers heading back from Portugal to Ireland. They had set off earlier than us and got caught in a rain storm a few hours earlier.

Eventually, we arrived in brilliant sunshine at Saint David's Head on the South-West coast of Wales and marked our second corner of the tour. Unfortunately, we couldn't find anything that marked this as one of the four corners, probably because it isn't actually the furthest West point on the mainland, that honour goes to Corrachadh Mòr in the Highlands of Scotland.

Image

We had lunch at the Head... a very dubious looking panini and a can of Coke.

Image

From there we headed North along the Welsh coast for a while towards the Snowdonia National Park and the inland bound for Cuddington, Cheshire where my sister had offered to put us up for the night. Unfortunately, I set the sat nav for the wrong Cuddinton and ended up 20 miles south at Cuddington Heath. Once I realised my mistake (not recognising anything as we got closer to the proposed destination), I reset the sat nav and arrived at Julie's house about 30 minutes later. A friendly welcome from my sister's family and my mum, who was visiting, was followed by some welcome sustenance in the form of curry and rice.

Distance for the day: 301 miles
Distance total: 926 miles

Image
A • AND • B • CDN • CH • CN • CY • CYM • CZ • D • DK • E • EST • ET • F • FIN • GR • HK • HR • I • IL • IRL • L • LT • LV • M • N • N-IRL • NL • P • PL • RSM • S • SCO • SCV • SLO • USA • YU

User avatar
OB1
Posts: 2196
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:37 am
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by OB1 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:53 am

It had rained during the night so we began the day with overcast skies and headed for the M6. The further north you go on this road, the better it gets: the traffic thins, the elevation changes and, for us, the weather got brighter. Little did we know that today would be a marathon session.

We crossed the border into Scotland with little fanfare and headed towards Loch Lomand. Scotland seems to do the tourist thing a lot better than they do south of the border: there are pull-ins and lay-bys every so often along the road just where you need them in order to have a wander around or get a good photo of the beautiful scenery. We, just like many others, stopped for a rest by the Loch with its clear, refreshing water.

Image

As we headed further north towards Loch Ness, the scenery became more dramatic and we were in awe of its beauty.

Image

We were aiming towards Fort William so that we could ride the north bank of Loch Ness over to Inverness. As we arrived in Fort William, the heavens opened and the rain came down like stair rods. We ducked into the nearest McDonalds to get out of the rain and have a bite to eat as it was around 6 o'clock. Our Klim gear had once again kept us dry but we waited in there until the rain had passed and then set out on, what turned out to be, one of the most exciting and wonderful roads that I have ridden in a long time.

If you've never ridden on the north bank of Loch Ness, you need to get up there and try it. As it was early evening, the road was quite empty of tourist traffic so we were able to get a really good rhythm and flow through the snaking corners. Most of the traffic was local and knew the road so well that they didn't impede our progress and, for those that were slower, there were signs suggesting that they let motorcycles pass!

All too soon, we arrived in Inverness and started the search for somewhere to stay for the night. During the previous evening, Esther had suggested that we leave our camping gear with my mum as we weren't going to use it... that came back to haunt us as we searched every hotel, hostel and B&B website, riding around Inverness looking for vacancy signs. By 11 o'clock, we decided that no one would take us in at that late hour so we headed towards the airport thinking that we could act like waiting passengers and hang around in the lounge. The trouble is that Inverness airport isn't that big and it closes just after midnight. We chatted to a security guard who phoned round several friends who owned B&Bs but, we soon realised, that there were fewer rooms than in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

As they closed the doors we (and several other travellers) headed out into the night wondering where we could rest: we decided that a 24-hour Tesco just down the road would be a good place to go. We bought some snacks and drinks and also used their toilets but soon realised that we couldn't really stop there, so at 1 o'clock on Wednesday morning, we bit the bullet and continued north towards John o'Groats...
Last edited by OB1 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
A • AND • B • CDN • CH • CN • CY • CYM • CZ • D • DK • E • EST • ET • F • FIN • GR • HK • HR • I • IL • IRL • L • LT • LV • M • N • N-IRL • NL • P • PL • RSM • S • SCO • SCV • SLO • USA • YU

User avatar
Alun
Moderator
Posts: 4334
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:54 pm
Location: Stratford upon Avon
Has thanked: 21 times
Been thanked: 33 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by Alun » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:09 am

OB1 wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:53 am
All too soon, we arrived in Inverness and started the search for somewhere to stay for the night. During the previous evening, Esther had suggested that we leave our camping gear with my mum as we weren't going to use it... that came back to haunt us as we searched every hotel, hostel and B&B website, riding around Inverness looking for vacancy signs. By 11 o'clock, we decided that no one would take us in at that late hour so we headed towards the airport thinking that we could act like waiting passengers and hang around in the lounge. The trouble is that Inverness airport isn't that big and it closes just after midnight. We chatted to a security guard who phones round several friends who owned B&Bs but, we soon realised, that there were fewer rooms than in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

As they closed the doors we (and several other travellers) headed out into the night wondering where we could rest: we decided that a 24-hour Tesco just down the road would be a good place to go. We bought some snacks and drinks and also used their toilets but soon realised that we couldn't really stop there, so at 1 o'clock on Wednesday morning, we bit the bullet and continued north towards John o'Groats...


This is starting to become a major problem in Scotland even out of the main school holiday season. Back in May we could not find a hotel room north of Inverness. I'd advise anyone travelling up there in the summer months to pre-book or plan on camping.

User avatar
Oop North John
Posts: 1279
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:30 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by Oop North John » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:13 am

JoG isn't the most northern point of the UK mainland, that belongs to Dunnet head a few miles to the west.

Ardnamurchan lighthouse is the most westerly point you can get to by road on the UK mainland, probably has the most westerly set of traffic lights as well.

Your picture of Glencoe captures its essence :)

User avatar
Oop North John
Posts: 1279
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:30 am
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: OB1's Four Corners of the UK Tour 2017

Post by Oop North John » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:14 am

Alun wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:09 am
This is starting to become a major problem in Scotland even out of the main school holiday season. Back in May we could not find a hotel room north of Inverness. I'd advise anyone travelling up there in the summer months to pre-book or plan on camping.
Inverness is never cheap, and often is booked out especially during the holiday season etc. Airbnb or booking.com get used by me if I'm going to be in the NC500 area.

Post Reply

Return to “RIDE REPORTS”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Archie, Baidu [Spider], bowber, JonnyBravo and 11 guests