Scotland Tour 2012 – Day 6 / Summary

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 6 Days

Mileage: 2112 miles (Door to Door)

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): 70MPG Mixed Motorway – A/B Roads

Fuel Cost: £193.89

Food: £54.10 (Look What We Found Pouches + Other small bits)

Accommodation: £36.00

TOTAL COST: Circa £283.99 (Incl Camping Equipment: £578.98)

**      **      **

Well, time has come to end such a fantastic trip, one that has already fueled my planning for the next adventure, solo or with a companion.

On Thursday, my 6th day of touring Scotland I headed for home. I left Uig on the Isle of Skye for a 570 mile ride back down to my home town. This took me 12 hour in all to complete, I never stopped once other than or fuel or to adjust my ear plugs.

The NC700X was so impressive, I never doubted the bike once before the trip but wondered how well it would really cope with such a long blast as it was actually designed for such riding but it coped admirably. Will I taking it on a another trip, yes I will! I think the NC has so much to offer, it’s a bike Honda still need to work on, but until then, it’s my No. 1 choice.

[Above: Start ODO mileage]

[Above: End ODO Mileage]


Scotland Tour 2012 – Day 5

After a blissfully warm night at Applecross despite the temperatures outside plummeting my Mountain Equipment bag kept me perfectly snug and comfortable. It’s a truly fantastic bag!

I packed up once more and headed for my now final destination, Uig, Isle of Skye where I would be spending my final night in a wigwam. It’s only a short ride today of about 90 miles so I have decided to venture down the A87 to Fort William before fueling up and turning around to shoot straight back up the A87 and other small roads back to the Wigwam.

[Above: Leaving Applecross]

[Above: Leaving Applecross]

It was a particularly wet day leaving Applecross, it had started raining around 0700 when I was packing up to leave, it soon got heavier as I entered into Applecross pass and through the mountains, the rain continued all the way down to Fort William, my Rukka gear held up well, if slightly heavier but held the rain out, I was warm and comfortable.

After heading down to Fort William, turning around and heading back I soon started to come into better weather as I approached the Isle of Skye and managed to snap a few shots for once!

[Above: Uig]

[Above: Ferry from the Outer Hebrides coming into Uig Harbour]

[Above: VIew from the windows of my Wigwam]

[Above: White Wave Wigwams / £15PPPN]

Scotland Tour 2012 – Day 4

After consuming my incredibly tasty sandwich from the NR cafe yesterday I soon proceeded for the Storma View Campsite near John O’Groats however the site really wasn’t up to expectations and looked so deserted I thought I’d keep my £8.00 that it would cost me to camp there and continue on my travels, after all this is supposed to be an adventure so I thought I’d get back on the road and see where I’d end up.

I soon came across a fantastic site called Halladale Inn Chalet and Caravan park where I pitch my tent for the night, views of the sea from my tent, sheep in the field munching on the grass next door, life was at its basic state, simple and relaxing. The pitch was at a cost of £5.00 which was very well priced for the cleanliness of the place, it was very well looked after.

[Above: Camp at Halladale Campsite]

[Above: Sunrise from my tent at Halladale Campsite]

[Above: Me! Hello!]

After getting the camping kit packed up and loaded into the bike, off I went, I headed along every road that was closest to the coast, this was my tactic for the ride along the top, I had some fantastic roads, I had ridden for about 10 hours this day from Thurso to Applecross and 8 of those hours must have been single track roads, passing a car every couple of hours and stunning scenery every second, an experience I’ll remember for a very long time.

Once I started to hit the remote Villages / Hamlets of the North fuel prices really started to rise in price…

The above photo’s were the last 8 hours of riding, most spectacular but unfortunately the really good picture moments were at places it was just not suitable for me to stop, below are some of the pass to Applecross know as the Bealach na Bà and what a fantastic road it is!

after I had blasted through the pass to Applecross, which, for the record, is a fantastic road, I only road it in the wet, coming back the roads were more so like rivers, but the experience was astronomical, so fun, I’d ride there now just to go and do it again!

I soon stumbled across Applecross campsite where my pitch looked a little like the last…

Scotland Tour 2012 – Day 3

Today started very rough, I woke up at 05:30 with terrible stomach pains, thinking it would ease I was soon enough heading to the bathroom.. times passed… I was feeling tender, perhaps it was that beef sandwich I’d had at the Green Welly stop on Sunday or the KFC on Saturday night? I have no idea… 08:30… I wake again with terrible stomach pains, feeling tender I thought my riding planned for today was over. As time progressed I started to feel better, my mood picked up and I went on a short jolly of about 30 miles from Grantown-on-spey to Tomintoul on the A939 which was a fantastic road, loads of switch backs and sharp but flowing bends.

[Above: Morning Rise from Grantown-on-spey]

I left CairngormsHighlands from at 11:15 for Inverness, Tain, Helmsdale, Wick and then Arriving in John O’Groats. The ride was successful, I left a little tender on some bumps but now I’m at the NR Cafe in John O’Groats I’m feeling good, the Chef was happy enough to make me a Cheese and Red onion Sandwich,just tucking into it as I write this.

I’ve ridden up here on the A9, a good road in places, I can see why so many accidents have happened on it though, more towards the North East the roads become very nice and hairy, wide and open so you can really apply the throttle. I then picked up the A99 for Wick which became a little boring and slow, open, straight roads and no fast corners…

I’m now heading for Storma View Campsite, I’ll be staying here for the night before heading towards Applecross with an unknown stop location as yet, All the trip photo’s are below, there wasn’t really much interesting on this ride, tomorrow should start to see more interesting landmarks and scenery!

[Above: 10,000 Miles in 3 and a bit months!]

[Above: Storma Island]

[Above: I’ve Arrived]

[Above: John O’Groats Harbour]

[Above: My Lunch from NR Cafe}

Scotland Tour 2012 – Day 2

I left Glasgow this morning at around 10:15 picking up the A82 out of Loch Lomond towards Fort William however, unfortunately the A82 was closed North of Tarbet which meant I had to reroute on the A83 and several roads after that but it was no disappointment to me, I loved it. I’ll just ensure I manage to finish the bit of the A82 that was closed on my return. I have no idea why it was closed. I must have ridden for about an hour or so before I really started to see spectacular Lochs and mountains. I was so blown away… literally but that’s for later.

[Above: Loch Lomond]

I picked the A83 up from Tarbet until Inveraray where I joined the A819 for Loch Hawe where I then proceeded for Tyndrum for the Green Welly Stop where I had a cracking beef sandwich, costly at £6.15 but worth every penny after I’d divulged it!

From Tyndrum I left on the A82 heading for Fort William where I passed through Glencoe, by this point I was speechless, it may have been so windy I regularly touched the white line as I battled to keep the bike on my side of the road, it doesn’t help that I am just skin and bones, but after wrestling with the bike the wind and rain, thankfully dies off but the Rukka kit has really impressed me! I thought at one point water had seeped through the crotch and bum, but after stopping to check it was nothing but a bit of biking sweat…So as it goes, through Fort William, towards Spean Bridge where I then picked up on the A86, fantastic bit of road. I really enjoyed it and next to no cars so it was very peaceful, I just cruised and cruised, without a care or concern in the world.

[Above: Fort William]

[Above: Love this pic but not sure where it is!]

I eventually arrived in Newtonmore where I avoided the A9 by picking up some back roads towards Grantown-on-spey. The road I took was the B970, again a fantastic road, I think most of Scotland will be like this! I eventually came off the B970 and came to Grantown-on-spey where I’m staying at CairngormsHighlands from My Hosts are Chris and Brigitte, they are a fantastic couple, so much so, I hope to return here early next year if I get the chance.

So that’s today, 7 hours of riding to cover 220 miles with plenty of photo stops when the rain had eased. Tomorrow is a run from Grantown-on-spey to a campsite at Caithness John O’Groats which is about 140 miles on the A9 from here, however I’m going to try a different route and hopefully miss the A9 altogether!

Tonight I was offered a Static Caravan for the night instead of camping, I snapped at the chance so my tent is nice and dry for the wet weather tomorrow and the wild camping to come!

I’m not sure if I’ll have WIFI tomorrow night so I might get a tad behind but the picture as I proceed north westerly should only get more spectacular I hope!

Scotland Tour 2012 – Day 1

So, I’ve started my first RR, this is only a small trip compared to the rest in this forum but the start of something new for me. My thirst for this was fed from several RR’s on here and a pure lust for travel, new experiences and meeting new people and the stories they all have to tell. I guess this trip symbolizes the next few years for travel, freedom and adventure. The start of much more to come.

This is the RR for my week long ride from Wiltshire to Scotland. Solo Rider. 7 days. oh and the worst weather in September for… 30 years and I’m off camping in it! Lush!

[Above: Leaving Swindon]

[Above: Start Mileage]

I left Swindon last night around 18:15 after packing the bike up and getting into my gear, I recently purchased the Rukka Athos jacket and Focus trousers and Rukka Atlas gloves so I’m looking forward to testing to see how good the kit really is and how comfortable it keeps me on the next 2,000 miles.

My first stop was a mere 60 miles away from Swindon, in a city called Worcester where a friend put me up for the night, more so it was just a head start for me, one less hour to travel today. I left Worcester at 07:15 heading for the Peak District with initial intentions to travel on every road but the motorways to Glasgow with plans to Camp at Skelmorlie, but after meeting a great guy called Dave from another travel sight and getting the insight on riding in Scotland I then went to meet some family just outside of Glasgow. I’m spending the night here now, I hadn’t expected to get up here so early but after heavy traffic on the back roads to Glasgow I ended up hitting the M6 for the rest of the journey as I didn’t want to sit in traffic. I arrived in Glasgow at 14:30, still as fresh as when I left Worcester. I think so far I have done circa 400 miles since leaving home, hoping to add another 200 – 300 tomorrow.

Tomorrow I will Leave Glasgow on the A82 up the Western edge of Loch Lomond for Glencoe / Fort William where from there I will effectively turn back on myself for Cairngorms National Park and my stop for the night in Grantown-on-spey, from here hopefully things will pick up and get more interesting followed with plenty of pictures!

Isle of Wight 2012

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 2 single days (Saturday & Sunday)

Mileage: 217.8 miles (Door to Door)

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): unknown

Fuel Cost: £24.25

Food: £11.90

Drink: £20.00

Accommodation: £30.00

TOTAL COST: Circa £86.15

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Friday 14th September 2012

Picking up a ticket last minute from a fellow rider from the Wiltshire Bikers group for the Isle Of Wight Ferry service I scrambled myself together for a quick weekend getaway, so much adrenaline rushing through my head I couldn’t get my thoughts together to write a quick list of essentials, so it went something like this. Panniers open, top box out, loft hatch, camping section, sleeping bag, roll matt, pillow, torch, camping stove… Bombing the items one by one from the loft hatch into the doorway of my room…THUD, the tent finally rests on the floor after making the most noise possible… maybe I should’ve carried that one down with me!

Packing the top box and one pannier full of my stuff and some casual clothes just in case I go out with the group for a meal or drinks, I really don’t know what they have planned, but I’m sure whatever happens I’ll have a good time. Phone on charge for pictures, I still haven’t managed to get around to buying a camera or even researching them for that matter. I’ll have one for next year’s trip(s).

I have no bike right now, so I can’t do that usual walk around tyre kick and luggage loading because it’s getting the 8,000 mile service done tomorrow morning and I’ve left it there over night so they can start on a cold engine.

For mapping I’m just taking my phone and AA A5 size road atlas, however the atlas is a little dated by 6 years approx – doesn’t show all the new roads but it’s a great basis, I don’t need to know exactly where I am going… as it’s all about the adventure?

So my kit list:

– 1 x Coleman Bedrock 2 (Tent)
– 1 x Sleeping bag
– 1 x Roll matt
– 1 x folding camping pillow

– 2 x 1LT Water containers
– 1 x Gas Stove
– 1 x Mess tin for cooking
– 1 x fork set
– 1 x Wind up torch
– 1 x Head torch
– 1 x liquid lighter
– 1 x Anti bacterial hand gel
– 1 x Micro fibre towel
– 1 x Thermometer

– Pair of jeans
– Polo shirt
– Wicking tee
– 100g thermal top and trousers
– 100g fleece to make a 200g top with the thermal 100g top
– Daps
– Underwear
– Socks

So now everything is packed, time to hit the pillow and get some restless sleep. I’m just hoping my bike is ready by 11:00 am so I can get to the ferry for between 1-2.

Saturday 15th September 2012

00:10am…02:00am… 04:54am…05:56am… finally up I can get after a very restless night’s sleep, I’ve never been so excited about such a small trip. Waking up, checking my kit and packing my gas for the stove last minute (never leave it in the house).

Time for a shower, breakfast which consisted of Supernoodles, barbeque flavour of course and now as I write this just slurrrrping down a cup of tea whilst running my eyes back over the map as I’m not familiar with the roads near Lymington where you board the ferry, and I can’t be late!

Camping is booked, I’m staying at a place called mireilleglossop’s place on the IOW for £6.00 per night which is very reasonable and the most I will pay generally for a nights camping. I don’t understand small field campsites that charge up to £15.00 per night per person… It’s very unreasonable and out of principal I stay away from these sites… Wild camping is the way forward if you are travelling in a group of 1 or 2 only. There are a lot of places just use your eyes and stay in an area for a while to get a sense of atmosphere; hopefully you’ve picked a quiet spot!

So packing my net book away now, prepping the last few bits and off to do some other tasks before I head down to Blade Honda for 11:00am.

Lymington Ferry Terminal

So, after a long slog from Blade Honda to Lymington with the panniers on and the unappreciated extra width, I came across camper vans by the lorry load, slow cars by the van load and a whole bunch of traffic queues. Squeezing down the middle of the traffic in a hope not to hit the oncoming and stationary cars I just begged there would be enough room, picking up that I saw a 125cc scrambler on my tail I started to take bigger risks over taking as he just slithered up behind me.

This was all after I’d felt like I’d ridden around the New Forest twice after taking a wrong turn and not being bothered to turn around at the time, definitely a regret now!

The time was ticking, the ferry is set to leave from Lymington to Yarmouth at 14:05 however I have to find the ferry port and meet up with a group of people I haven’t yet met, but none of that was really on my mind at the time. I was just strung on getting to the ferry port, if I didn’t it would have all been wasted effort. Pushing on, taking over another 4 cars, listening to the bike roar as I open the throttle one last time.

I made it, there they were a fantastic group of people from the Wiltshire Bikers Forum that I couldn’t wait to go and meet. We boarded the ferry, sat outside on the mezzanine decking with the sun out, clouds at bay and a great sea breeze where, before we even left the port we could already see the Isle of Wight.

Heading to Yarmouth

…In the mean time….Zzzzz Zzzzzz Zzzzzz

So here we are as the Harleys fire up beside me, the main group in front of them start riding off the ferry, beaming smiles on everyone’s face as we depart for a spot of lunch near the Needles on the North West of the island.

The roads over here are not great but they do for my style of bike, I think sports bike at some points are slightly disadvantaged but everyone had a good time getting to the cafe.


The fun started after this, leaving the car park of the cafe where we pretty much dominated with our presence, heading on the B4055 to Shanklin where we were staying at the Palmerston hotel for the night at a reasonable £30.00 per night, including a fully fledged fry up! 😉

Palmerston Hotel

Throwing the stuff in our room after being given the key and the hotel receptionist looking at a huge A3 room planner… they need to upgrade to a computer system! We threw off our bike gear, waited for the group and headed for a meal. We chose the Steamer Inn for our meal, very well priced considering the north of the island, here I picked up a Lasagne dish for £8.95, a serving of garlic bread for £2.95 but unfortunately the cider was around £3.70 a pint…Still didn’t deter me!

Leaving the restaurant, heading to the beach, only one thing was on my mind, JUMPING IN THE SEA, that’s what every 19 year old dreams of right? I was full on alcohol, buzzing with adrenaline. Here I go, stripping off, semi naked… I ran down the wooden steps, hit the sand and bay watched my way into the sea… bliss!

Sunday 16th September 2012

Waking up after a rather hard night’s sleep, on a mattress that dates back to the pre historic ages… a super breakfast was dished up, fully fried, loads of salt… PERFECT! Grazy golf was on the agenda today before we departed the island so I needed to be on form because I am particularly crap at the game, but to my surprise and everyone else’s I was with, I won!

So, after playing golf in my bike gear as my clothes were still wet form the night before I was really ready to hop back on the bike and munch up some miles, after all that’s what I enjoy!

We left Shanklin, headed straight for the ferry port at Yarmouth, what a splendid ride, many over takes and traffic free roads to really open up and have a great blast!

It was pretty boring after here! Left Lymington to head back home and sleep!! 😀

The First Encounter…

Trip Statistics / Costs:

Duration: 2 days

Mileage: 302.7 Miles

Fuel Consumption (UK IMP Litres): 19.95L

Fuel Cost: £26.02

Food: 2 x ‘Look What we found’ food pouches £2.00 Each

Accommodation: £6.00 (I paid £10, had no change)

TOTAL COST: £40.02

**          **          **

Sat beside a torrent of raging water, I begin to write the story, the unwritten story of Emily, the already beloved 2012 Honda NC700X.

Honda NCX

Sitting here, with her by my side, already having covered 3,887 miles throughout Wiltshire, Cornwall, Gloustershire, and now she has brought me to Cwmnanthir Camping on the edge of the Breacon Beacons.

Navigating west through Welsh villages, lanes where you dread meeting an oncoming vehicles even on a motorbike and then onto the lanes passing through valleys with nothing but almost idealic countryside in either direction you look. Steep banks, wind turbines (People react to them like Marmite – I love it!) Horses, sheep, cows just as far as the eye can see…Purging along, feeling Em wanting to open up and gain some speed for the upcoming corners, passing through like we’re flying, no wind resistance, no cars, dry roads… I almost feel like I’m in heaven.

85 miles ticking over on the odometer, just 20 more miles and I’m there thinking to myself, although I didn’t realise I was going the wrong way at the time, laughing now about how many wrong turns I actually took, but, it adds to the adventure right? Right.

Cwmnanthir Camp, Wales.

Anyway, sat here now, having arrived from home 135 miles later, half a tank of fuel and a free headache I can’t believe where I am, so peaceful yet full of life, green green grass, trees packed full of leaves, the sound of water crashing over century old rocks so rounded and full of history, then you have the smell of waterlogged wood being burnt by a group of people who, quite frankly, have no outdoors experience but we’ll see if they manage the fire ok later on tonight…(reporting back, the fire was horrifically bad).

Looking into the Wye Valley 1 mile from Monmouth, UK.

So, the NCX, I love it if you wondered. I have ridden it on the road, about 20 miles of green lanes (stupidly on Bridgestone BT23R’s – Wouldn’t advise it) I am an experienced Mountain biker so could pre judge what was going to happen, however slippery tyres aside, the bike was compelling, handled remarkably, stood up on the pegs (I’d advise SW Motech aftermarket studded pegs for green lanes) I rode comfortably, as comfortably as that of the GL1600 the only difference being I was where that couldn’t get to but I brought the comfort of it with me.

NCX at Cwmnanthir

Waking up to the birds, as you would on any camping trip, well most. I got packing up my camping gear, using my Givi Tw01 40L holdall and Givi E52 topcase, fitting just about everything back in again with much room to spare. Steep gravel tracks with high ridges made exiting the campsite somewhat difficult, especially with the extra weight and at such an angle where I couldn’t touch the floor whatsoever, something I would have been uneasy doing on another bike but with the NCX, I have no problem putting faith into it. It’s a bike, a soulmate and one I hope to have many more adventurous trips on in the coming year!

Henrhyd Falls, Wales.

**          **          **

 A map of my route:

Now then, where next…