It had been over six years since I'd finished my around the world trip on Winston so I was feeling a bit rusty but excited to be starting another long-term motorcycle ride. The original plan was to ride Scotland, Isle of Man and all of Europe. The plan has changed, so now I will ride Scotland and the Isle of Man and travel Europe with my daughter in her campervan.
I have a new bike, a 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XCA with 2700 miles on the clock. It came with all the bells and whistles as well as lots of extras, Arrow slip on exhaust, Triumph panniers and top box, a Triumph low seat along with the standard heated seat and Triumph tank bag. I've added Barkbuster hand guards, Garmin Zumo XT GPS, Touratech lockable GPS holder, a stiffer spring to the rear shock. With all this done I'm ready for the adventure.
I've named the bike James, after the great English explorer James Cook.
I won't be riding Scotland alone, I will be heading off with a fellow Tiger rider, Vince. Vince is riding a white Tiger 900 Rally Pro.
The time had come to leave Vince's place in Devon and head up to Donington via Hinckley. We were no more than 10 minutes into the ride when I realised, I'd left my backpack at Vince's place, not a good start to the day. I headed back, picked up the bag and then headed back to Vince and we were back on our way again.
We arrived at Hinckley and visited the Triumph Experience Museum where they had the first production Triumph on display along with many more specials.
From there we headed to Donington race track and set up camp in the neighboring field ready to watch the British Superbike racing tomorrow.
We covered over 250 miles today on mainly motorways.
What a great day at the British Superbikes. Large number of racers in each category, very little downtime between races and great racing
We headed north to Bonnie Scotland via Lindisfarne. Lindisfarne was where the Vikings began their invasion of England.
Tonight, we are camping near Blairgowrie, Scotland
Today we rode to John o Groats which is the furthest North in mainland Britain.
We stopped at Prince Albert pyramid, which is a memorial from Queen Victoria's late husband, situated near Balmoral castle. We then visited Dunrobin Castle before setting up camp in John o Groats.
The weather forecast was for wind and rain through the day.
Lying in my cosy sleeping bag listening to the rain slowly subside meant it was time to get up and pack up before the next shower turned up.
Once packed up we headed to Duncansby head light house, which is a five-minute ride around the coast. When we arrived, it started to rain and by the time we had walked to the viewing area the view was hazy.
Then off we went for a hot breakfast to dry out and warm up before we headed to the ferry to Orkney.
While waiting at the ferry terminal the heavens opened and down came torrential rain.
The ferry ride took around an hour and was smooth sailing. I saw my first Puffins flying above the sea. They really have to flap their wings to get anywhere.
Once on Orkney we travelled to Kirkwall via Churchill Barrier (Churchill ordered ships to be sunk to block German u boats entering allied waters) then the Italian church (which was built by Italian prisoners in the Second World War) We arrived at Kirkwall then set up camp in strong winds. We then headed off to see some 4000-year-old stone circles.
We spent today riding around Orkney visiting the sites, viewing the baron scenery, in sun, showers, high winds and temperatures ranging from 7 to 10.5 Celsius………bbrrr!!
My hi light was Skara Brae. It’s a 5000-year-old Neolithic village, the oldest in Europe and a world heritage site.
It was discovered in 1850 after a large storm ripped away the earth revealing part of the village. It was later excavated.
We ended the day camping in Thurso back in mainland Scotland
After a day of cross winds, rain, 8 to 10 degrees, and beautiful Scottish scenery we finally made camp at Gairlock.
We were wet and cold; it was great to have a long hot shower after pitching the tents
Best scenery so far on this trip.
Applecross takes you via a single lane that winds it’s way through the mountains.
A ride through the isle of Skye and then the ferry to Harris Island in the Hebrides.
We arrived at Harris Island in the Hebrides and headed south past some stunning beaches; the roads were beautifully paved until we got to the single track.
We couldn’t find anywhere to camp until we hit the end of the island where we free camped for the night.
We had three sheep as neighbours.
As we were as far south as we could go, we headed north in showery, cold blustery winds to view the Calanais standing stones, which are over 5000 years old.
Then on to the furthest Northpoint, Ness lighthouse.
Today we packed the tents in light showers and left Uig heading south to Oban.
We hit some heavy rain and hail with temperatures of 7 degrees.
The weather improved in the evening.
We experience the world famous Scottish midgies for the first time. An experience we could do without.
We spent the evening chatting to some fellow bikers from Burnley.
Today we went to the Mull of Kintyre, made famous by Paul McCartney and his group Wings.
Lots of twisting roads, some wet, some windy. We had the standard rain and hail today. It is getting warmer as we head south.
Today we rode to Caerlaverock castle, then on to Gretna Green (famous for people eloping to Scotland from England. Greta Green is just over the border) then to Hawes where we set up camp for the night.
We strolled down the hill and frequented three of the pubs. It was a more sedate ride today.
Today we rode a road that many bikers in England rate as a great motorcycling experience.
We headed to Ribblehead viaduct. A very impressive structure
It was Vince and my last day riding together as I’m catching the 3:30am ferry the Isle of Man.
It was nice to share the last two weeks with Vince Thanks mate!