So all the tour group members have arrived in Liverpool and we are enjoying the sunshine and hoping that the indian summer continues for at least the next 11 days!! The weather is really great currently and another plus is that the school holidays end this week so hopefully there will not be so much tourist traffic around. The briefing is completed, the bike handover is done and everyone is raring to go tomorrow morning. First destination tomorrow morning, the Port of Heysham and then ferry to the Isle of Man.
On our first day of riding, we started with one of the most demanding challenges of our entire journey. While we got used to the bikes for the first few yards, we got to know the left-hand traffic and roundabouts for the exciting first few yards as we battled our way north through rush hour traffic out of the city of Liverpool.
Challenge accepted and successfully mastered, we left Liverpool, drove along the coast to Southport, drank a delicious coffee and reached the ferry in Heysham on time to the Manx, as the locals affectionately call your Isle of Man.
A quick check in, then we relaxed the great weather on deck on the 4 hour crossing through the Irish Sea on the way to Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man. In the evening we ended our first evening together with good food and one or the other MPA (Manx Pale Ale).
Welcome to the Isle of Man.
After a hearty breakfast, the first special highlight awaited us in good weather (no rain!!!), the motorcycle racing course. Of course we started at the main grandstand, TT Grandstand, and didn't miss the opportunity to experience this legendary race track with skin and hair. The 60 kilometers of pure driving pleasure and fascination with the performance of the racers, who fought their way through many towns on normal roads, through tight corners at low altitude, through the mountains with jumps over bridges and at top speed, were quickly over. We almost broke the lap record!
After a short coffee stop in Douglas, we visited Mr. Murray, a keen motorcycle enthusiast who has collected over 100 motorcycles in his museum over many decades. If you have any questions about the Isle of Man, you will find all the answers there! Shortly thereafter we reached the Fairy Bridge. According to legend, the Fairy Bridge is the home of the "little people", the spirits of the Isle of Man. Locals wave to say hello to the fairies as they drive across the Fairy Bridge, vouching for the spirits to ward off impending bad luck and disaster. Even the TT racers follow this superstition, pay a visit to the spirits before the race and ask for their blessings before venturing onto the track.
Further along the southern coast we reached the cafe "the Sound Cafe" at the southern end of the Manx at noon. A fantastic sight and curious seals welcomed us there. After the lunch break, we went north again on the west side along the coast to Peel and we looked at Peel Castle together, a castle ruin originally built by the Vikings.
Further on our circuit we of course also visited the Joey Dunlop memorial to pay our respects to what is probably the most famous racing driver in Great Britain and far beyond the borders.
After another 30 minutes of driving pleasure, we reached our hotel again and everyone was able to explore Douglas according to their own interests and let the evening fade away.
Today we started early at 7.30 a.m. after a hearty breakfast for the ferry back to England.
Around 13.00 Heysham arrived and the motorcycling could finally begin.
We quickly went to Windermore to have lunch at Lake Windermore.
Then a very special challenge awaited us, the Hardknott Pass. With a gradient of up to 30%, very sharp hairpin bends and rain, it is definitely the most demanding challenge of the entire tour. We bravely accepted the challenge and successfully completed it, with a big grin on our face and the pouring rain, we reached the top of the pass. What a great view!
After that it went on quickly. We happily skipped another coffee stop and enjoyed the great scenery and atmosphere of the Lake District.
We reached the hotel around 6:00 p.m. and ended the evening in the great, rustic atmosphere of the 17th-century hotel.
What a great day of riding!
Today we started early at around 8.30 a.m. from the hotel in the Lake District towards Edinburgh. Although it was cloudy it hardly rained all day so we were very lucky and had good British weather! Our first stop took us to Hartside Pass and we were able to get an overview of northern England with a fantastic view. A good hour later we stopped for a quick coffee and scones and a castle tour at Lancley Castle, an impressive 14th century, incredibly massive stone fortress. Shortly thereafter we reached Hadrian's Wall and were able to stretch our legs a bit. After this highlight of the day we enjoyed a hearty lunch before we finally reached the Scottish border. In the afternoon we stopped at Melroes Abbey for a quick coffee before we reached the hotel near Edinburgh around 5pm. With IPA, Guinnes and a whiskey or two, it was very easy for us to end another fantastic day of driving.
Tomorrow we will head straight towards Ballachulish.
Heute sind wir zeitig gegen 8.30 Uhr am Hotel im Lake District Richtung Edinburgh gestartet. Auch wenn es bewölkt war hat es den Tag über kaum geregnet, wir hatten also sehr viel Glück und gutes, britisches Wetter! Unser erster Stop führte uns zum Hartside Pass und wir konnten uns bei phantastischer Aussicht einen Überblick über Nordengland verschaffen. Eine gute Stunde später hielten wir für einen schnellen Kaffee und Scones sowie einer Burgbesichtigung im Lancley Castle, einer beeindruckenden, im 14.Jahrhundert erbauten, unglaublich massiven Steinfestung. Kurz danach erreichten wir den Hadrians Wall und konnten uns etwas die Beine vertreten. Nach diesem Tageshighlight ließen wir es uns bei einem ausgiebigen Mittagessen gut gehen bevor wir schliesslich endlich die schottische Grenze erreichten. Am Nachmittag hielten für einen schnellen Kaffee noch am Melroes Abbey bevor wir gegen 17.00 Uhr das Hotel Nähe Edinburgh erreichten. Bei IPA, Guinnes und dem ein oder anderen Whisky fiel es uns sehr leicht, einen weiteren, phantastischen Fahrtag ausklingen zu lassen.
Morgen geht es auf direktem Weg Richtung Ballachulish!
What a great day this turned out to be. After looking at a terrible weather forecast, it poured overnight but by first thing in the morning the last raindrops were already disappearing. We set off in the sunshine heading for Falkirk and its famous "boat lift" wheel. It's really an impressive thing to see this and well worth a visit, even if you dont take the boat trip.From there we head to Stirling Castle sat atop castle hill. We take a walk around and ther's lots to see there. Afterwards we drop into the Portcullis restaurant just down the hill for lunch. The afternoon ride takes us to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and now thinhs are getting better. Small windy roads and beautiful countryside but there's still a bit of holiday traffic to contend with. But this is the Scotland everyone has come to see. We arrive in Glencoe/Ballacuish and Jochen greets us with a boot beer - there's no better way to end the day!!
Today we are heading to Skye. We leave the hotel and the weather gods are still with is. A short hop to Corran and we take the ferry to cross to the far shore of Loch Eil. The single track road on the other side presents us no probles as it still early and theres zero traffic. Our first stop is Glenfinnan, but its very busy. But we park easily and have toime to visit the Bonnie Prince Charlie memorial before the Jacobite (steam train) passes across the Glenfinnan viaduct at 10:45. From there we head to Eilean Donan Castle (famous for many films but primarily Highlander) and stop for lunch follwed by some sightseeing. From there its but a short hop to our hotel in Broadford on the Isle of Skye. But the best is yet to come. We make a clockwise circuit of the island and its just amazing. Small roads, harbours, mountainous landscapes and sea cliffs. We arrive back at the hotel later than expected but it's been an awesome way to end the day and nobody cares. We have a quick boot beer in the Bothy bar then it's already dinner time. Tomorrow the NC 500 awaits......
Well......we have just had another stunningly amazing day in the Scottish Highlands. We leave the Isle of Skye in bright sunshine and head back towards the Scotttissh Highlands and our first stop of the day - Applecross Pass. It's a single track road famous for being tough and beautiful - and it doesn't disappoint. There are fantastic vistas from the top, and that on top of a breathtaking ride up there!! We make a quick coffee stop at the walled garden cafe in Applecross and then it's onwards to our picnic lunch whisked up by Chef Jochen on the waterfront of Beinn Eighe National Nature reserve. It's a dleightful place for a picnic although nobody seems too keen on swimming!! After lunch we hug the coastline on the NC500 route and meet some Highland cattle along the way - they are beautiful. As we approach Corrieshalloch it just starts to rain a bit, so we skip the werfalls, don our waterproofs and head towards our destination of Inverness. But it turns out to be just a light shower and by the time we reach Inverness the sun has come back out again. We can only hope our luck with the weather holds for tomorrow when we go in search of Nessie!!
Today, the rest of the day in Inverness, we took it easy. After a hearty breakfast, we decided to take a short stroll around Loch Ness so that we could see the city and its sights in peace in the afternoon. We drove over narrow roads through many different, rapidly changing landscapes that presented the beauty of all of Scotland. At the southern end we stopped in Fort Augustis for coffee and marveled at the locks and swing bridge of the Caledonian Canal on site. Heavy clouds on the horizon made us drive a little faster on the way back so that we soon reached the hotel again before the heavy rain started. We spent the afternoon in the city of Inverness and ended a wonderful day with a pint or two of IPA.
Today we left Inverness early in the direction of Aberdeen. It was cloudy, but fortunately it didn't rain all day and the sun even came out at noon. Our first stop took us to the mountains, more precisely to the Cairngorm Mountains, Great Britain's largest national park, which is also the most extensive mountain range in the entire kingdom. At a refreshing 14 degrees, we were able to enjoy a fantastic view of our surroundings. To warm up, we enjoyed a warm cappuchino and then set off on the Wisky trail to the sight of the day, the Glenfiddish distillery. Of course there was no whiskey tasting for us sensible motorcyclists, but everyone could stock up on first-class single malt Scotch according to their own needs and interests. Afterwards it was said "All aboard please" and we strengthened ourselves with Sadwich and salad in a train cafe. We spent the rest of the day driving through all of Scotland's scenic landscapes along wonderfully inviting motorcycle roads, finally arriving at the hotel in the late afternoon.
It's unbelievable how quickly time flies, are we really on the last leg of our Scotland tour today?
In great weather with sunshine we started from Aberdeen towards Edinburgh. First we reached Balmoral Castle, however, out of respect for the late Queen, we did not stop as planned, but continued straight towards Cairnwell Pass and the breathtaking valley of Glenn shee. Like a roller coaster at Disneyland, it went up and down, left and right along the winding road. A little later we stopped at a nice golf cafe for lunch. The afternoon took us the last 100 miles through the countryside of Scotland, finally reaching the impressive Firth of Forth railway bridge.
With a cold beer and exclusive whiskey, we ended the last evening together in memories of this fantastic adventure.