We are planning to ride our motorbikes to the Isle of Bute and back.
  • Day12

    Day 12 home safely

    September 3 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We left Bristol just before 9, and slogged it out down the motorway and A30 through drizzly rain, stopping twice for fuel (Gordano and Okehampton) and arrived home safely just before 12.

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  • Day11

    Day 11

    September 2 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    After our cereal and croissants in Shrewsbury, we set off for Bristol, stopping at Asda for fuel and a picnic on the way out of the town. We took the road directly south to Symonds Yat Rock which was unfortunately the main road through the area and was very busy with traffic going both ways and many many lorries, so it was a slow, fairly painful journey.

    We had a cup of tea at the top of the hill, then took our picnic down to the river where we ate it watching the local entertainment of canoeists posting in the rapids.

    We had started off following the yellow arrows for a circular walk, but quickly lost them, so followed the river for a while until we could find a path back up the hill. It turned into a rather longer walk than it was meant to be. We definitely deserved the tea and cake back at the café.

    We set off again for Bristol and arrived at Becky and David's just before 4.

    We were fed a lovely dinner of home made pizza and salad and chocolate cheese cake and prosecco!
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  • Day10

    Day 10

    September 1 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    We were lucky enough to be woken up this morning with a cup of tea by Bella before the girls all headed out to the stables and the boys off to the farm.

    We packed up and helped ourselves to breakfast then I spent a few minutes psyching myself up for the return journey up the hill. I was feeling more confident, but still had to tell Lindsey not to watch! It was pretty scary, but I made it without dropping the bike and without putting my feet down! So proud!

    We took the A66 to Brough then the A685 to Kirkby Stephen as usual, but decided to avoid the motorway as far as we could and took the A683 all the way to Lancaster. It was truly the most beautiful and fun road road we'd been on all trip. I could have stopped 10 times for photos, but was enjoying the ride so much we didn't stop at all. But the views along the valley, to the hills, to the waterfalls were just stunning. We hardly saw any traffic the whole way, but maybe we were just lucky.

    We took the M6 around Liverpool, and the M56 to Chester then headed south to Shrewsbury. We had rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine.

    We decided to get to Wales for lunch and stopped in Wrexham to find a nice pub. Oops. Nevermind, we never have to go back there.

    We arrived in Shrewsbury just before 3 and have a lovely bedroom, our own kitchen, bathroom and dining room, all 10 minutes walk from the town centre and breakfast included. Not bad for £46.

    We had a cup of tea then headed into town to explore. We walked all along the river, further than we meant to, then criss-crossed the town centre trying to see all the sights before finally deciding on a pub for a quick cider - the Loopy Shrew.

    We walked back to the river to the Armoury for dinner, then home again via Tesco for chocolate.
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  • Day9

    Day 9

    August 31 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    I am rapidly going off the blog! I've already written this post, and it has disappeared again, so apologies if this comes across as less than enthusiastic.

    We managed to get up and out, and load the bikes by 8 this morning with the aim of catching the 9am ferry from Rothesay. We were a bit too early, and it was pouring with rain so we sheltered in the waiting room for half an hour or so, but were still pretty soggy by the time we boarded the ferry.

    Luckily it had just about stopped raining by the time we arrived on the mainland (or maybe it was only raining on Bute), but the road was regularly covered in water that we had to lift our legs as high as we could as we drove through to avoid getting boots full of water.

    We stopped for lunch (and to put on extra clothes - we had already had our heated grips on) at a fab farm shop/cafe and experienced our first Scottish breakfast, including haggis and potato cakes.

    We then decided to ignore the advice of Google and headed for the A75 despite it being closed. The detour was about 5 miles of stationary traffic through a small town full of traffic lights which would have easily added over an hour to our journey, but luckily as we were on bikes it didn't hold us up too long.

    We arrived at Lindsey's about 2:30 and after a lot of internal deliberation and contemplation I made the tough decision to ride all the way down the steep gravel track to the house. Jamie was ok, his bike is a lot lighter, has lighter luggage, and knobbly tyres, but mine is heavier with road tyres. I made it all the way down without dropping it once, though did have my feet on the ground most of the way.

    We had a short walk around the fields to the farm to visit Bella's sheep, then the rest of the day was mainly spent doing gymnastics tricks with Bella and taking photos of puppies.
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  • Day8

    Day 8

    August 30 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    We were expecting rain all day today so planned to spend time indoors exploring Mount Stuart house. We arrived just in time for the 11am tour and were really glad we made it. The house is incredible, and there is so much detail and interesting facts that we would have missed had we not had a tour guide. Every available surface of the house was intricately carved, painted or woven with the most incredible detail and intricate patterns. We were blown away by the amount of work that must have gone into it, and how they even managed to get the materials to the island in the first place. The marble came from Italy.

    It was actually not raining by the time we finished the tour of the house so we managed to get round part of the gardens too before we had lunch in the cafe. And we spotted a submarine out to sea.

    By that time it was raining pretty hard, so we headed home along the last bit of main road that we hadn't yet ridden on.

    The afternoon was spent packing, reading and watching films with the vague hope that it might stop raining long enough for a quick walk, but it didn't.
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  • Day7

    Day 7

    August 29 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    The weather wasn't predicted to be great today, but we have since learned to ignore the weather forecast and look out of the window!
    We decided to brave the rain anyway and head out for a walk around the North of the island. We rode as far north as we could to the place the short ferry goes across to the mainland, and left the bikes and our gear there. We only had trainers with us for walking, so our feet were wet through within minutes.

    It did keep trying to rain, but the showers were fairly light, and much of the walk was through the trees so it wasn't too bad. The walk took us up round the northern part of the island and out to a WWII bunker used as a decoy in the war which had amazing views out to sea.

    We saw loads of toadstools, mushrooms and a large ants nest.

    We finally stopped for our Scottish picnic lunch once we found our way back down to the sea front. We sheltered under a tree and ate our scotch pies, home grown tomatoes and apples, then walked much of the way back to the bikes along the shore front looking for shells.

    It was quite a tough walk, though disappointingly we didn't make it to the top of any of the hills due to the weather and our unsuitable footwear, so we headed back to town for tea and cake!

    We popped back home to get some dry clothes, then headed out again to Ettrick bay for another walk and a hot chocolate in the tea room as it had stopped raining.

    Dinner was omelette with the eggs, tomatoes and peas we were given which was proper yummy, and we had a cosy evening watching a film.
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  • Day6

    Day 6

    August 28 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We set off from Edinburgh after a lovely breakfast about 9:30, and sat in traffic for a while until we got to the M8 which we followed as far as Glasgow. We came off and took the A760 to the coast and up the A78 to Wemyss to catch the ferry. A much nicer road which was within a couple of metres of the sea for much of the time.
    The sky had looked threatening all the way from Edinburgh but it only actually started raining a couple of miles short of the ferry, but it was coming down hard by the time we stopped.
    We timed our arrival perfectly and within 20 minutes we were heading for Bute.
    It was still raining as we arrived, but seemed to be easing up, so we headed for the first cafe we spotted for lunch, The Kettledrum. By the time we'd finished the rain had just about stopped, so we had a walk around the town and grabbed some supplies from the co-op before riding across the island to our home for the next 3 nights.

    The cottage is in the middle of nowhere, as far as that's possible on an island only about 6 miles wide, near the loch and about a mile from the beach. It's really spacious for just 2 of us, and we were left fresh eggs and home grown tomatoes and peas by the host.

    After some of us had a short nap, we headed out for a walk to Scalpsie beach and along the coast a little to spot our first seals which were sitting on rocks just off the beach. There are also jellyfish everywhere, some really very large, dotted all along the shore line.

    The weather was beautiful, so knowing that it was going to change tomorrow we tried to make the most of it.
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  • Day5

    Day 5 afternoon in Edinburgh

    August 27 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We love Edinburgh. The streets are so wide, it feels really spacious. Even the busy bits don't feel overwhelmingly busy, though I know we wouldn't be saying that if we'd been here a week ago. It doesn't feel as dirty as other cities either. The buildings are amazing, they just go on up, and not ones made of steel and glass, these are really old houses and other buildings built before there were cranes! They are so higgledy piggledy and beautiful.

    We walked in to the city from the air BnB for about half an hour along a quiet pedestrian path away from the roads, through King George's park where we stopped for a picnic lunch.

    We walked up to the castle and got as close as we could without paying, used their toilets and then headed back down the hill. Without seeing the inside of the castle, the most impressive thing was the temporary structure built for the Military Tattoo for the festival that they were just starting to take down. Eleanor had told us about it, but once we saw it we genuinely didn't believe that it could possibly be temporary until we asked one of the visitor guides! It's amazing - it takes them 6 weeks to put it up and take it down for a month of usage during the festival.

    We then walked down the royal mile, and out to the Scottish parliament, and Holyrood palace before climbing Arthur's seat. It was pretty hot, and a really tough climb. I'm reasonably fit, but I was knackered by the time we got to the top! And there were so many people up there: small children, people wearing completely inappropriate footwear, much older people than us... I can't believe they all made it up there! We did walk pretty quickly, but still!

    On returning to the city we found a cake shop to replenish our energy reserves, then a pub to replenish our cider reserves. We walked round the city a bit longer until it was a reasonable time to get dinner, and found a fab place to eat.
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  • Day4

    Day 4

    August 26 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Only 16 miles today! And a gorgeous road from Wooler to Tweed mouth, but slight slower than usual as Judith came with us to see Eleanor for the day.
    We took a picnic with us, and Eleanor and John took us took us to an amazing spot on the river Whiteadder for a swim and to jump in off the rocks. Near the rocks the water was so deep we never managed to touch the bottom.

    Judith headed home after we had finished our lunch and the rest of us went on to Chain Bridge Honey Farm so Jamie could visit Scotland for the first time, and we could have a cup of tea.

    We had a good walk around the town walls of Berwick, all the way down to the lighthouse and then stopped in a cute little bar for a quick pint before dinner.
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  • Day4

    Day 5

    August 26 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We left Eleanor's this morning and headed straight to a local bike mechanic she had found for us. Unfortunately he wasn't working today, but his neighbours gave us directions to another one who luckily was working and who was awesome enough to fix Jamie's bike.
    When we arrived in Bath on Friday he realised that his clutch cable was fraying, and ever since then we had been trying to keep to clear roads and avoid having to stop, speed up or slow down too frequently so that he didn't have to change gear!Each day he lost a few more strands and by today there really weren't many left. We did try to get hold of a new cable but there weren't any in the country, and we had to order one from Germany which is going to arrive on Wednesday. As it was also bank holiday weekend, we struggled to find anyone available or willing to help, so we just had to keep going until today in the hope we'd find someone in Berwick.
    But Tim the lovely mechanic replaced the cable and we are now good as new!

    With happy bikes we were able to take the scenic route to Edinburgh up the B6355 across the moorland and over the hills which was gorgeous. We saw about 6 cars the whole way, and the views were amazing.
    We arrived in Edinburgh about 1:30 and were luckily able to get into the air BnB to leave our stuff before heading into the city.
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