Lands End to John O’Groats…LEJOG day 5

So leaving Scotland today, my first time here and I must say even though the weather done its best to put a damper on things I loved it, the people are lovely, very friendly, the scenery is stunning and from a bikers point of view the roads are amazing..well all apart from the A9..

Anyway, after another good breakfast, that seems to be the theme of this little trip, I set off back towards Carlisle along a route that was suggested to me by @scottishmotorcyclist on Twitter..leaving Inverness before rush hour, if there is a rush hour, along the banks of Loch Ness, I looked, even stopped a few times but I couldn’t see Nessie..

 

Loch Ness
 
Carrying on towards Fort William, a couple of guys in the Mitchell’s Motorcycles suggested this road, a cracker it was too, had to watch out under the trees as the roads were still a bit damp, dry otherwise, just low cloud..anyway, through Fort Augustus and onto Fort William, weather improving all the time..

 

Fort William
  
 
Triumph Thunderbird
 
Then on to Glencoe…didn’t know what to expect here but it was stunning, low cloud over the mountains…I can imagine how bleak it gets there in the winter, stop for a cup of tea at a view point and the guy in the trailer says 1oo+mph winds and 10 metres of snow, incredibly beautiful though, fast straight roads but be warned speed camera vans patrol regularly…

 

Glencoe 1

Glencoe low cloud
  
Glencoe but watch your speed
  
A waterfall !
  
Awesome road
  
Memories of the Alps ?
  
photos don’t do it justice

Then on to Loch Lomond after a quick fuel stop, this days ride must rate up there pretty highly with some of the best roads I’ve ever ridden, it didn’t matter if you got stuck behind a car for a while you just sat back and enjoyed the view..

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond 1

Sadly all good things must come to an end and as I was rapidly approaching Glasgow it was time to jump on the motorway for an hour or so to Carlisle, I didn’t mind though after a ride like that, did I mention that I enjoyed today 🙂

Tracking map, signal dropped out a few times due to the enclosed tree canopy..

inverness to Carlisle
 
So, the final leg tomorrow, hopefully the weather will be ok and I’ll take some pictures as I go through the Lake District..about 270miles today. 

 

Lands End to John O’Groats…LEJOG day 4

Yay ! Today the sun shone !

Once again the breakfast didn’t disappoint, freshly cooked & good coffee and then on the bike for the final bit to John O’Groats. 

About 130 miles each way on some of the best roads I’ve ridden on this trip, obviously taking the waterproofs with me just in case, but the forecast was good..taking the first 80 miles of so at a steady pace giving the new tyre chance to scrub in a little, fellow bike riders will understand but for the non two wheeled readers it takes a few miles for the release agent they use on the tyre moulds to wear off, until then they can be a bit interesting if you push it, especially if the roads are damp..anyway it gave me plenty of time to enjoy the vistas (a Henry Cole word) sea on one side and the hills on the other cover in heather in flower..the further north I got the more barren the landscape got, no trees, just heather, reminded me of Dartmoor down in Cornwall, just shows how harsh the climate is most of the year, windy too..it took two and a half hours to cover the 130 miles…

 

Bridge I crossed on the way

 
 
Sea to the right…
    

 

Hills to the left…
  
If you have ever been to Lands End you know how commercial it is, if there’s a market for it then why not, John O’Groats is nothing like that, there is a coffee shop, looks like it’s quite new though, the car park I think is many used for the ferry over to the islands..the First & Last post is just stuck there, no one managing it like happens down south, a kind of free for all..hence just the quick selfie of me by the post, didn’t feel I could ride my bike up there and push everyone out of the way..as someone once said, ‘The needs of the many out way the needs of the few’ wise words Dr Spock…

John O’Groats

 

An End to Enders member.
 
So after a quick coffee, well, a long coffee, I asked for a large one, maybe I shouldn’t have..the ride home was a lot more ‘progressive’ with the tyre now run in..

 

The landscape a mile from John O’Groats
 
Not sure if you can see the wind turbines but obviously these things are huge, gives you some idea of the scale of nothingness..anyway a quick stop for fuel and some enthusiastic riding kept me entertained for a couple of hours..

Triumph Thunderbird

Tracking map, same way both ways, was more fun on the way back…

 

Inverness to John O’Groats

Back to Carlisle tomorrow, via Fort William, Glencoe & Loch Lomond, might try to sneak a peak at Nessie too… 

Lands End to John O’Groats…LEJOG day 3

The breakfast at the Crown & Mitre didn’t disappoint..help yourself buffet and plenty of it, a certain friend of mine, Mr T, would have been impressed…checked out and moving on to Bonnie Scotland..after checking all the weather forecasts and as the sun was shining I decided to head out sans waterproofs, maybes mile or so inside the Scottish border the first storm of rain..I thought it wise to break out the waterproofs, along with the over boots, neat little things that zip over your boots..100% waterproof..

As routes through Scotland are limited unless you have weeks it was an hour on the motorway followed by the A9 all the way to Inverness going through the Cairngorms..unfortunately the rain was pretty much with me all the way, I did plan to call in at ‘Rumble in the Glen, a big bike meet in Aviemore, many Harley’s but as the weather was so bad I decided to carting on through, did stop to help a guy that had broken down on his HD, he was a local, had absolutely no idea what he was saying most of the time, friendly enough though, thanked me for stopping and did say I was the only one that had, after another group rode passed, anyway not sure if it was just my presents but all of a sudden his bike fired up, I followed him for a while before he peeled off towards Aviemore, way to many leather waistcoats for me. Carrying on towards Inverness a fellow Thunderbird rider slotted in beside me and rode the remaining 50 or so miles along the A9 with me, a road that is 110 miles or so and along most of its length has average speed cameras. 

It’s a real shame the weather wasn’t better, the last 20 minutes the sun came out and could really enjoy the ride, I can see the scenery would be fantastic, maybe on the way back. 

Ever since I left Cornwall my back tyre has been on my mind, the tread depth wasn’t as much as I thought, a bit complacent of me I know to start a trip like this without making sure everything was up together but as a new tyre went on just before the Italy trip I thought it would be ok..anyway arriving at the hotel, a quick glance down I relished it wasn’t going to last, after checking in I asked the guy on reception if there was anywhere I could get a tyre from, a phone call later and I was booked in, Mitchell’s Motorcycles in Inverness can’t fault them, cheap too…new tyre, new pads and even replaced a wheel bearing because it was a bit rough, he showed me before he replaced it. 

 

Thunderbird Tyre fitting
 
Good evening meal tonight The Beaufort Hotel, here for 2 nights, bit pricey but great place, but as always will be judged on their breakfast..

 

Raspberry Cheesecake
  
Baked Goats cheese
 
Tracking map, managed to get it all on one today..

 

Tracking Map Carlisle to Inverness

So up to John O’Groats tomorrow, only about 130 miles and the sun is supposed to be shining ! 

Lands End to John O’Groats…LEJOG day 2 

Well, thought this was going to be a nice easy day…Wrong !

Up and out at 7.30, filled up with fuel last nigh so heading up to Gloucester, around the outside of Hereford, on to Ludlow on the A49, sun out beautiful, roads quiet, a good mix of twisties and straights for overtaking..just approaching Shrewsbury, satnav saying to go left, instinct saying right..fortunately the was a Little Chef on the roundabout, time for a second breakfast and little look at the map…always, always take a map (remember this) so an Early Riser breakfast and mug of coffee later and my instinct was right, right turn it was and a few miles down the road was the A49 again..not sure what happened to the bit that joined the 2 pieces together..

After a an hour or so there was an option to jump on the M56 & M6 to miss out the congestion of both Liverpool & Manchester…I suspect they would have both be traffic free though as all the cars, vans & trucks were on my bit of motorway..oh just before I got on the motorway it started raining, nothing major but enough to put the waterproofs on, as most of you will know it’s the spray as much as anything..not there was too much spray as the road was at a standstill, with the Filtering Song from the legend that is Captain Rambunctious (YouTube) away we go, for about 5 miles…picking up bikers as I went, I think they seen the size of the Thunderbird and through ‘if he can get through, so can I’ in the mean time the shower had passed and the sun was out and I was doing a great impression of a boil in the bag chicken….with the traffic easing and the fuel light on time for a coffee and gas up, wrong…no room in the service station ! Got out of my waterproofs and got some fuel but no chance of any coffee..

Cracking on to the Carlisle via a run through the Lake District…with everyone else that had come off the motorway, I know your probably saying ‘well it’s a bank holiday, what did you expect’ anyway, nose to tail all through the lakes did give me plenty of time to admire the view, but no time for pictures, maybe on the way back. Did manage a coffee in The Filling Station in Keswick, great biker cafe if your passing…on to Carlisle in the bright late afternoon sunshine, now when the sign says 35 miles and might satnav says 43 miles..I should have known, as I just past a sight that says 5 miles to Gretna Green I’m thinking my hotel located in the centre of Carlisle isn’t about to appear as I have ‘reached my destination’ Ms Garmin announced !

I’ll get the map out I thought see where I am…where was the map, in the Little Chef in Shrewsbury is my guess..luckily a little bit of IPhone magic sorted things out and a 9 mile back track and I was at the hotel, the Crown & Mitre Hotel, decent enough hotel, pool etc..but will be judged by its breakfast…

Total miles today 316 and the tracking maps..

   
 
Sorry no other pictures tonight…looks like I migh have a bit more rain tomorrow, well I will be in Scotland after all..

Lands End To John O’Groats…LEJOG Day 1

Ok, total distance covered today was 482 miles, I should have said the Atlantic Highway was the A39, the A49 is tomorrows road 🙂 A little damp first thing, a shower as I went through Bodmin but after that the sun came out and stayed out all day, not overly warm but all good !

I’ve split the tracking maps into 3, to much information to put it all on one map,,,5.00-10.00 am, 10.00-2.00 pm and 2.00-7.00pm

Tracking Map 5 AM-10 AM
Tracking Map 5 AM-10 AM

Tracking Map 10 AM-2 PM
Tracking Map 10 AM-2 PM

Tracking Map 2 PM-7 PM
Tracking Map 2 PM-7 PM
So lets have a few pictures to finish with…

 

Lands End
 
Minack Theatre coast
Minack Theatre coast

Minack Theatre coast 1
Minack Theatre coast 1

Minack Theatre
Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre 1
Minack Theatre 1

Somewhere between Newquay and Padstow
Somewhere between Newquay and Padstow

Padstow
Padstow
Next…Up to Carlisle via the Lake District..

Lands End to John O’Groats…LEJOG..The day before..

So, tomorrow is the day, Lands End to John O’Groats, I’ll be starting out at about 5.30 ish, I don’t mind the early mornings, quiet on the roads etc., I need to start early as at Lands End the site is restricted to pedestrians only after 11.00, so I have to be down there by then, gives me plenty of time to get back though ! As I live just north of Bristol I intended to get down to Lands End and back home in a day, about 450 miles in all, day 2 will be from home, to Carlisle about 280 miles and 7 hours riding time, probably through Hereford and Shrewsbury, the A49, I may jump on the M6 to bypass Liverpool then jump back on the A6 into the Lake District and up to Carlisle, Day 3 from Carlisle to Inverness about 250 miles 6 hours of riding, looking forward to riding through Scotland, I’ve heard some good things, then Day 4 Inverness to John O’Groats and back to Inverness about 240 miles and 5 hours riding time, again no idea what to expect here, hope I can get a photo at John O’Groats, looking forward to some spectacular scenery….then its back to Carlisle and back home, Ill see how the route goes on the way up because it would be nice to vary it on the way back…taking the Drift cameras, a stills camera, going to fry to talk a little bit more…not in a Vlogging way…just when I’m off the bike with my ‘selfie stick’ we’ll see how that goes…not sure how much time I’ll get but determined to make it a fun trip, its a solo trip and riding alone, although your never really alone in this country…

I’ll update the blog each night but for those on twitter I’ll post regular updates when I stop and fuel up @trumpettouring

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

I will be taking part in this event, below is the link that will take you straight to my page on the DGR website, the minimum donation is ÂŁ2…you wouldn’t even be able to buy a Cappuccino for that… I’d be most grateful and ALL monies raised go to the Prostate Cancer charities around the world.

http://www.gentlemansride.com/rider/trumpet

The following is lifted directly from The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride website available here.

DAPPER FOR A CAUSE: WHERE WE’VE COME FROM AND WHERE WE’RE HEADED

On Sunday September 27th 2015, more than 30,000 smartly-dressed gentlefolk in over 400 cities will straddle the saddles of their café racers, bobbers, scramblers and other marvellous custom motorcycles to raise awareness and help fund the cure for prostate cancer.

In grand style, dapper gents and elegant ladies shall ride their steeds spreading merriment and joy throughout their communities whilst raising awareness for men’s health.

In 2013, over 11,000 participants in 145 cities around the world raised over $277,000 for prostate cancer research.

In 2014, over 20,000 participants in 257 cities in 58 countries raised over $1.5 million (USD) for prostate cancer research. Our fundraising goal for 2015 is $3 million (USD).

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride was founded in 2012 in Sydney Australia, inspired by a photo of Mad Men’s Don Draper astride a classic bike and wearing his finest suit. It was decided a themed ride would be a great way to combat the often-negative stereotype of men on motorcycles, whilst connecting niche motorcycle communities together. That first ride brought together over 2,500 riders across 64 cities. The success of the event encouraged the founder to consider how it could be used to support a worthy cause. And the rest, as they say, is eloquently attired history.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride is a celebration of the art of being dapper and the style of classic custom motorcycles. What does that mean, you ask?

Think: Monocles, jaunty trimmed moustaches, silk vests, crisp shirts and tailored suits.

Ride: Café Racers, Bobbers, Classics, Flat Trackers, Scramblers and quirky, undefinable two-wheeled machines.

Do: Bring your finest manners, neatest beards and a sense of fun and adventure.

Pay: Nothing to ride (entry is free); but please consider helping our charities by getting your friends and family to sponsor your involvement

http://www.gentlemansride.com

I have a plan…LEJOG

Lands End to John O’Groats or LEJOG…something I’ve been wanting to do a while now and circumstances mean that I may have a few days off at the end of August, now this does include the Bank Holiday, now August Bank Holiday is probably the worse day to travel on UK roads, it’s going to add an extra dimension for sure !
The direct route is around 850 miles, the idea is to avoid motorways where possible after all who wants to sit on a motorway for hours, this will add about 100 miles to the trip and about 4 hours, so google maps say anyway.

As I’m just outside Bristol I reckon and early start would see me down to Lands End and back in a day, about 450 miles but it would mean I avoid having to get any accommodation down at the pointy end of the UK, a difficult task in the summer let alone Bank Holiday weekend..then it will be a case of just winging it and hopefully finding somewhere as and when, been a long time since I’ve gone off without a knowing where I’m stopping. Could be interesting:)

Bristol Balloon Fiesta Morning Mass Launch

With such a fine day forecast, but more importantly a fine morning I decided to get up at the crack of dawn and shoot down to watch the mass balloon launch at the Balloon Fiesta. when I say early I meant early !

The launch started at 6 AM, so that meant I had to leave my place at 5.30 AM…Once your up and out on the bike its great, roads are quiet, sun just coming up and a nice freshness in the air.

BikeTrac Balloon Fiesta Map
BikeTrac Balloon Fiesta Map

With hardly any traffic on the road it didn’t take long to get to Ashton Court in Bristol, you just gotta watch out for the speed cameras……Loads of pictures and a couple of short videos, probably doesn’t do it justice as the sight of over 100 balloons being launched in under 2 hours was staggering !

The videos, hope this gives you a feel for the morning….

Now the pictures…there are a few of them !

Balloon Fiesta 14
Balloon Fiesta 14
Balloon Fiesta 15
Balloon Fiesta 15
Balloon Fiesta 16
Balloon Fiesta 16
Balloon Fiesta 17
Balloon Fiesta 17
Balloon Fiesta 18
Balloon Fiesta 18
Balloon Fiesta 19
Balloon Fiesta 19
Balloon Fiesta 20
Balloon Fiesta 20
Balloon Fiesta 1
Balloon Fiesta 1
Balloon Fiesta 2
Balloon Fiesta 2
Balloon Fiesta 3
Balloon Fiesta 3
Balloon Fiesta 4
Balloon Fiesta 4
Balloon Fiesta 5
Balloon Fiesta 5
Balloon Fiesta 6
Balloon Fiesta 6
Balloon Fiesta 7
Balloon Fiesta 7
Balloon Fiesta 8
Balloon Fiesta 8
Balloon Fiesta 9
Balloon Fiesta 9
Balloon Fiesta 10
Balloon Fiesta 10
Balloon Fiesta 11
Balloon Fiesta 11
Balloon Fiesta 13
Balloon Fiesta 13
Balloon Fiesta 13
Balloon Fiesta 13

A great morning in the early sunshine and somewhere I would definitely recommend visiting, especially as its free entry but there are parking charges if you go by car…another reason to go by motorcycle !

Bristol Balloon Fiesta Night Glow 

Couple of little videos taken with my phone from tonight’s night glow, I’ll probably pop down there this weekend early in the morning to get some decent pictures although the morning mass launch is at 6 am !

At least the traffic at that hour should be ok..not like tonight, good job I took the bike it was mayhem out there..

Never uploaded video directly so hope they come out ok !