Next year’s tour

Despite western Europe having better weather, better food and drink, nice accommodation, languages that I can make myself understood in, and being closer to home I am drawn, for my travels, to those former communist eastern countries. Perhaps they are more slavicly exotic. They are certainly less familiar and harder to understand how things work. No sooner am I home from one motorcycle camping adventure than I am thinking about the next. I have been looking at Ukraine but I think it is too ambitious, certainly too far. Its exciting because it is on the easterly road to Russia and the stans and finally China. Instead I’m starting to look at Hungary and Slovenia to add to a trip that includes Germany, Austria, Czech republic and Slovakia (a country I’ve been wanting to revisit for a while).
The next stop is trip planning.

Gallows Hill to Home

Last day Cumbria to home

This is such a good campsite. Its just a field with some basic facilities and it can only make a small amount of money for its owner but it does a good job. Its on a gentle slope and had a beautiful view over the valley. Chickens scratch around the site and in the next field are sheep and horses. On my two visits its not been crowded and reminds me of the Wee Campsite up in Scotland that was hopeless in terms of noise and disturbance as everyone was packed so close like terraced housing. But in contrast Gallows Hill has so much space. Its also perfectly placed for a journey from the south up to Scotland.

Traveling back home was easy. With earplugs in I sat in the outside lane for much of the journey and thundered back home. Out of curiosity I left the A1 to see what Grantham had to offer, assuming it would be a pretty coaching town like Stamford. If it was I didn’t see it. Tired after just over two hours on the bike I tried to park in a car park there but it was built on such a steep slope that it was impossible to get off the bike and put the bike on its stand (I carry a small block of wood nowadays for these places) so I headed off – without earplugs. Already I can’t believe how I used to ride without them. They make you go faster!

The whole trip was 1400 miles with 33 hours of riding.

So now I’m back home and thinking about the next trip. Lets chose somewhere a little more exotic and somewhere with better weather.

What I ought o learn from this trip: if you are travelling somewhere where wet weather is likely (Scotland, Norway – you get the idea) its really better to book hotels than try to camp.



Miles 204.7Average 58Max 86Riding time 3.5

Back in sunny England

Another five hours or was it four – it’s impossible to tell though my knees and right index finger were painful – ride took me safely over the border back to Cumbria where though it’s blustery (a breezy day is what BBC news said on the large tv at the M6 service station where I surrendered to batter and chips and beans – the TV also showed the infamous London riots where people looted sportswear and TVs) The sun is shining brightly. But there are dark clouds and those vertical lines way off on the north that tell you it’s raining. It really is blowing here. I’ve put the tent up against a low wall and some bushes in the direction of the wind and banged those pegs in hard with a rock from the wall.

I don’t have the energy to drive down to buy some dinner. I have enough here and some beer and lovely coffee for the morning assuming I can get the stove to light in this gale.

Gallows Hill campsite, Cumbria
Camping close to the wall
Look it isn’t raining

My thought about Scotland is that it is so rugged. It is rewarding but you have to pay a high price and with travelling by bike, living in a tent and solitude there is little to bulwark you against the rain and midge attacks. Maybe I would go back but in a decent car and with company. (I keep telling a BIG fly not to keep coming back in here (my vestibule) but he won’t listen.

Tomorrow is simple; 12 miles on the A66 to Scotch Corner then straight down the A1 almost to home. Let’s hope it’s not too gusty.


Miles 225.3Average 45.2Max speed 85Hours ridden 5

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-08-07

  • Glencoe: it's a landscape I've never seen before. It's also like being in a cloud either raining or about to #
  • This is a hardcore campsite where everyone is rugged and has binoculars. I left mine in the drawer #
  • O the rain and the midges. It's true what they say about Scotland. The moments without them you see it's beauty #
  • Last night was a bury your head in the sleeping bag with earplugs in next to the family from Hell #
  • Having tea and smoked salmon bagel in Ullapool the last town #
  • At Durness threes rain forecast all day today and all day tomorrow. #