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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1576

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 20 5:40 pm    Post subject: I'm back! Reply with quote

Been a while, still busy but touching base to see what everybody has been up to. Our hen numbers have rapidly reduced to one solitary grand gal aged 12, 3 german shepherds Bing 7, Sadie 9 and Evie approaching 2. Hubby in his 26th year of trading as precision engineer and myself doing stuff in community and active village hall secretary. Still tootling about when we can on the motorbike - in 2018 we circumnavigated the country - awesome! No map just made sure there was a sea to the right of us lol! Looking to give myself a bit more time in 2020, suggestions welcome.


Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 43242
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 20 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hiya , nice you are back.

keep the sea on the right is a super navigation technique


Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 8048
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 20 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back

Downsizer Moderator

Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 42187
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 20 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome back.

Mistress Rose

Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 14526

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 20 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to hear from you. How did you manage your circumnavigation when the road went inland?


Joined: 27 Jul 2009
Posts: 7365
Location: Just south of north.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 20 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello and welcome back


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 1576

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 20 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

June seems to be the month we plan for our annual bike expedition. This is due mostly to the fact that for the past 10 years we found ourselves on route to the Isle of Man TT races. 2018 however was the year for a change – we would circumnavigate the country on our Moto Guzzi California. It just so happened we would be celebrating a birthday and a wedding anniversary – ideal opportunity then to be away from any surprises or events. Work wise we were busy and worked up to the Friday 1st June. Avoiding any clashes with school holidays, (crowds and children) we finally set off on Tuesday 5th June, heading north.
The initial part of the journey was one we knew well as it is the route we take when travelling to Newcastle on route to Ijmuiden and as we passed through the Tyne Tunnel the familiar sights and sounds evoked memories of past adventures abroad. Leaving the Port of Tyne behind us we headed onwards rule of thumb being the sea/coastline was always on our right. We passed through the border sign and found ourselves in Scotland – so things were going to plan.
Our first cup of tea stop was to a friend in Eyemouth, conveniently situated approximately half way before our first planned stop over in Falkirk.
Eyemouth is a small town in Berwickshire, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. It is 2 miles east off the main north-south A1 road and just 8 miles north of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Thanks to the modern technology of the mobile phone we found our way to said friend’s house where a cup of tea, bunting and a gift awaited us. We also had a gift with us – 6 of our very own free range eggs for Barbara. Fortunately they had travelled well and were gratefully received. Refreshed and watered we waved our goodbye to Barbara and headed onwards. Falkirk was our destination simply because we have a customer there who we have communicated with for over 5 years via e-mails, notes, delivery notes and parcels so it would be nice to put a face to the name. Again, thanks to the mobile phone we arrived to another welcome cup of tea and after a tour of the workshop we made our way to our hotel. In all of our journey we never booked a hotel in advance – whilst we were in the workshop I had googled a few hotels and our customer endorsed our choice of Best Western Park Hotel and took us to the hotel on route to his home.
It had been a long day and the prospect of a hot bath and a decent meal was well at the top of our thoughts. Checking in the hotel was truly splendid, room was excellent and the evening menu was really appetising –however the bubble was abruptly burst when we discovered there was no water! Hubby had the forsight to run what bit of water was available in the into the bath and we had to make do with a quick splash before heading down to dinner.

Wednesday 6th June

Weather was favourable and the breakfast was excellent – couldn’t quite face haggis but the full English was sufficient to send us on our way. We had a rough idea of our route and following the rule of the sea always being to our right we tootled along the roads around the north-east corner of Aberdeenshire stopping for petrol/lunch at a service station making our way to Fraseburgh. We tootled around and were heading out of town when we spotted Findlay’s Hotel in the outskirts. The hotel was quiet and the menu was very reasonable. We decided to go for the sweet and sour chicken – to say the portions were adequate is an understatement – they were exceptional and freshly cooked. Together with lovely hospitality we stayed for the one night and after a full English breakfast headed north – to the infamous John O’Groats.

Thursday 7th June We travelled along the A98 – we would generally check on the map and head for towns along route which we would make a mental list of from the map – Macduff – Port Gordan – Elgin – Nairn – passing over a bridge – Tain – Helmsdale – Wick and finally John O’Groats. We had the traditional photograph taken at said landmark before heading west to Thurso. Once again we sought out a hotel – Park Hotel. Excellent reasonably priced rooms and we walked into Thurso for our evening meal. Often we found that if a hotel was quite remote the choice was often limited and tended to be expensive due to no competition so a walk was welcome especially as the hotel restaurant was very warm.
Total Accomodation £99.30

Friday 8th June. After a good night’s sleep we headed west along the amazing aquamarine coastline – Tongue – Scourie – Ullapool – Dingwell – Inverness. Our plan was to head for Fort William approximately 65 miles away. As we approached Inverness the bike had a major tantrum and spat oil everywhere. We pulled into a near-by car dealershop forecourt and contacted Carol Nash. As it was a Friday we felt the best option was for us and the bike to be taken home. Green Flag relayed us home – Inverness – Stirling, Stirling to Jedburgh and finally Jedburgh – home. We arrived home around 5am and after a few hours sleep hotfooted to a local hydraulic supplier and bought a new oil pipe. Returning home bike was fixed and luggage packed ready to resume the journey first thing the next morning.
Total Accomodation £0
Sunday – bags packed we headed across the country on route via familiar territory. Northallerton – Leyburn – Sadbergh – Kirby Lonsdale – Lancaster. Lancaster was a sea of roadworks which seemed to take us miles away from where we wanted to be. Together with a major police incident involving many police vehicles we manouvered the town and finally after a short blast on the motorway arrived in Chester. We were quite tired as we had put quite a few miles in and found a reasonably priced, adequate hotel – The Dene. No food that night but a place next door was recommended by the hotel receptionist. As it turned out it was our idea of hell. The world and its wife was in – the place was packed catering for everything from children’s parties, pensioner specials, lads night out and even a hen do. We walked further into the town finding a designer place with designer prices. We’d settle we were tired so we paid quite a lot of money for quite a small portion of food.
Accomodation £42,00 Food

Monday 11th Our next destination was Wales. After a very dodgy poached egg ( I left them – experience tells me never a good move to eat anything “iffy” before embarking on a motorbike!) we headed west via Mold, Bala, Machynlleth, Aberstwyth, Cardigan, St. Davids a city, a community and a parish in Pembrokeshire, Wales, lying on the River Alun. St Davids is the United Kingdom's smallest city in terms of both size and population The coastline continued to deliver the amazing aquamarine seascapes which we would see through our tour. We found a lovely hotel, The Grove. The walled garden looked very appealing after a long day. As always the sun was shining and after a shower we had a lovely meal and a restful night. Breakfast was excellent with an extensive choice available.
Total Accomodation/Meal with drinks £178.10

Tuesday 12th – From St. David’s making our way round the coast – Tenby – Port Talbot – Cardiff – Newport – over the Seven Bridge – Bristol – Weston Supermare – Lynmouth and to the Bath Hotel. Quite popular but to pay an extra £15 for a sea-view was over the top and besides we are form near Whitby. We see the sea every day from our house. We had a walk to the harbour and had a meal at the Rising Sun.
Total Accomodation/Meal with drinks £172.50

Wednesday 13th – More amazing coastal viewing as we made our way through Barnstaple – Great Torrington – Bideford – Bude – Newquay – Penzance – Land’s End. Again the said photograph but Land’s End was much more commercialised that John O’Groats. Here a queue was waiting to pay £1 to have a photograph taken next to the landmark. We had an icecream then it was back on the motorbike and headed to Bodmin. We often stop to ask locals recommendations for hotels and the writing was on the wall when one such resident who was sat the bus stop replied “There are no nice hotels in Bodmin!” However, against all odds we came across “The Westbury Hotel.” Decent clean rooms and reasonable menu choice for dinner. I however chose the strips of beef which were not cooked to my liking ie cooked so was sent back. Whilst chef offered to re-cook another portion the moment had passed and whilst hubby enjoyed his meal – not strips of beef – I settled with cheese & biscuits and was not charged for my meal.
Total Accomodation/Meal with drinks £144.

Thursday as we made our way over to breakfast we saw the first rain we had seen in our entire holiday. Thankfully after breakfast it had stopped and once again we had excellent weather as we travelled along the coast road via Plymouth, Exeter, Lyme Regis, Weymouth, Poole to Bournemouth. Bournemouth seemed quite busy sfter what we had become used to but we found a hotel set back from the main road Dean Park Inn. Lovely room and a lovely dinner at a reasonable price.
Total Accomodation/Meal with drinks £153. 75

Friday – After a lovely cooked breakfast we headed east. Through Lymington, Eastleigh, Portsmouth, Bogner Regis, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Folkestone, Dover, Deal to Ramsgate. One hotel was full – obviously a popular area. We eventually found a vacancy in a Comfort Hotel – a corporate type of experience. Football was on TV whilst we were having dinner but the food was adequate and we found the bedroom clean, comfortable and quiet.
Total Accomodation/Meal with drinks £170.25

Saturday – We knew we would be travelling inland today as we were heading for the Dartford Tunnel. Saturday was a very busy day and when signs for the M25 loomed I did have a moment –recalling tales of motorway hell known as the M25. I wasn’t to worry however as hubby manoevered his way and we were soon heading towards Southend on Sea. Taking the coast roads, through Colchester, Lowestoft, and Great Yarmouth. As we headed towards Cromer we passed a hotel with a restaurant to the side. It was about 4.30pm and Jon suggested we try it out. Normally we would travel to around 5-6pm but I figured as Jon had been riding all day it was his prerogative to call the shots. The Horse and Groom accommodation was ideal. Ground floor with the window overlooking the carpark and our bike. The restaurant turned out to cook the best Chinese we have ever had and would very much recommend. We were served promptly despite the r restaurant packing out – a sure indication of its popularity.
Total Accomodation/Meal with drinks £147.50
Sunday We skipped breakfast – hadn’t been discussed properly and we weren’t sure what was the set up so we packed and left. (We had paid I hasten to add!) This was to be the hike home – we always knew we would push the boat out to be home by nightime – Sheringham, Kings Lynn, Skegness, Mablethorpe, Clethorpes, Grimsby, Humber Bridge, Hull, Bridlington, Filey, Scarborough, Whitby, Home. We did it!

Note – Isle of Man comparison – Accomodation £135 per night (Just B&B) no evening meal – this would be extra
Ferry - £300

Would have cost £2000+


Mistress Rose

Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 14526

PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 20 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a good tour. Might be nice to stop at a few places and not go so far next time, but you did what you set out to do with only one mishap to the bike.


Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2201
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 20 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You passed me by less than 20 miles. I live at the base of the Berwyn Mountains the other side to Bala. What a wonderful trip you had.
My 'then' wife, and I did Scotland the same way round as you about 40 years ago, but we started at the end of the M6-turned right and followed the coast round. Another year we did the same trip give or take, the other way round. Our highlight was at a small fishing village in a natural cove below Fraserburgh whose name escapes me and is not on the library map. Here our bedroom window was level with the road and one room length later the road had reached the sea front a bit "down on the head"-but the hospitality was spectacular. My wife was a Dubonnet drinker, and as the landlord-a former Black Watch Colonel, got more and more inebriated himself, he filled her glass with more Dubonnet and less lemonade.
We did b and b and found that if you wanted to go round in a hurry and see all, then hotels were better as they wanted you out to prepare for the next victims! Most of the b and b were talkers-farmers wives who saw few folks from one day to the next. The highlights for me were the spectacular breakfasts.
The next time we went the other way round and took in the Braemar games. Highlight of the day was when we got back to our hotel, the Aberdeen police pipe band who had dined in a back room, came out and marched and played for 2 hours after they had eaten and had a drop to drink, which showed up in the marching!


Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 8048
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 20 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pity you missed SouthWest Scotland...you'll have to call on us when you return to finish off the circuit!

Mistress Rose

Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 14526

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 20 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you missed us by about 15 miles. Could have shown you a lovely wood with beautiful views and even the sea in sight on a clear day.


Joined: 21 Mar 2005
Posts: 66
Location: Aberdeenshire
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 20 3:53 pm    Post subject: I’m back too Reply with quote

It’s so good to be back here and having read Mrs Nesbit’s post would like to say if only.... we live very near Fraserburgh and know Findlays hotel very well. If I’d been back on here and if only you’d been able to post your progress on here we could have met up. Never mind it sounds like you throughly enjoyed yourselves.

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