Monday, 13 June 2016

A few lanes around Newark

Work has taken me to the East Midlands for awhile, so as part of a bigger project, I looked up a bunch of lanes around Newark and did a bit of research to put a route together.

Geoff & I hooked up to go have a play and we found some good stuff, a fair bit of tarmac was needed to link them but they were really pretty with some beautiful hidden away villages next to the A1!

Although the lanes were pretty dry at this time of year, I'm guessing they become a mud fest in the winter, the soil around here has a clay base to it and it's pretty gooey, tyre sucking stuff...

Everything is lushly overgrown too at the moment with this mix of warm sun and showers floating around...

I'm aware there is a lot of controversy about dirt bikes around the Mansfield area and this was evident when we rode down a lane and met a farmer, who was pretty surly before we'd even turned off any engines. No explanantions just 'get off my land' comments and lots of pointing hands... we just turned around and left after a very brief discussion, found the other end of the lane and rode it there and back. I've emailed Newark CC for a clarification about the status of the appoach road to that lane and whether it is a private road or not. We'll see

For the rest of the lanes though, everyone we met was smiley and chatty, this was mostly around the villages though, as for the most part the lanes were empty of anyone.

We had to cross a railway line at one point and the 'look left and right' sign was very poinent as Geoff had already crossed to open the gate as I closed the initial gate, as I turned around there was a train horn sounding and an express train went by at a good rate of knotts... glad I'd taken my time there!!!

We finished the afternoon with a pait of properly muddy bikes and still plenty of lanes to look at for another time...

Great stuff, more lovely exploring in the UK countryside with good mates...

Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Mull of Galloway...

Two friends of ours, Richard & Jo, planned a biking weekend with us, Lucy & Jo hatched the plan and Richard did most of the navigating for the weekend which left me free to just pootle at the back of the group, great! I'm knackered at the moment from too much work!!

We set of Friday afternoon heading for Kirkcudbright of the south coast of Scotland. The main aim of the ride ou was to get to the Mull of Kintyre without using the M6 or A75 if at all possible. Turns out it mostly is!!

Meeting up in Carlisle in the late afternoon, saw us fuelled up and heading first north onto the old road to Rockcliffe, the B721, then across the Scottish border and into Gretna Green... It's a much quieter route to Dumfries and has lots of odd bits of history including the Devil's Porridge museum!!

After Dumfries, we turned south to Caerlaverock Castle for much needed tea and cake, then out to New Abbey and it's great old ruins, calling in at Dalbeattie for some shopping before we headed out to wild camp on the beach somewhere.

Fuel and bike shop in Dalbeattie

Hunting for a bivvy site on the coast
We eventually came across a lovely little beach, so promptly parked up and got a fire going, before drinking a beer from out shopping trip... tents up after dark saw us sitting on the beach chatting, when a lass from a group celebrating a birthday further down the beach turned up offering us some great chunks of firewood as they were just leaving, a good chat and a bit of a walk saw us with a lovely big bonfire to keep the chill off and a view of a very red Mars in the dark sky!

Saturday dawned grey and a little cooler, so bacon butties and plenty of tea and coffee saw us all packed up and heading west again.

Richards new light weight Trangia stove

The roads and towns around here don't seem to have changed for donkey's years. The architecture is generally all classic Scottish croft and granite built houses. I love all this traditional stuff of the Southern Uplands area, but I bet it's hard to maintain and live with these days...

You can see some more modern building appearing but they look a little crass in this setting really...

We called into the Isle of Whithorn, which is a proper sleepy little seaside town, more reminiscent of Cornwall than Scotland, more tea and cake followed before heading out again towards the Mull.

The Mull of Kintyre is Scotland's southerly most point, on a clear day you can see both the tip of the Cumbrian headland and its mountains as well as across to the Isle of Man.

For us, it was blue skies all the way and after mooching around the lighthouse, we discovered a beautiful little bay which just seemed too good to pass up as our camp for the night.

Some shopping in Stranraer saw us with a bottle of whisky and some BBQ stuff, so we sat on the beach and just watched world go by whilst talking shite, as you do!!

The next morning brought a proper feast of haggis, lorn sausage and bacon to start the day, the farmer arrived and collected his camp fee, we then went back to the light house for another mooch around before heading back east and home.

The route home took us a bit further north onto the A712 from Newton Stuart through the Galloway Forest Park and eventually onto New Galloway. This is a perfect bike road, fast and superb bends, with great views. We stopped for pictures at the Craigencallie Lake before continuing on a north easterly route to Monaive via the B7075 and the A702, both lovely roads, although you do have to watch for the odd bit of gravel on the corners!

I did my good deed for the day by pulling a guy on his very crashed Fireblade out of the bushes, he'd obviously drifted over too far and all his plastics had suffered the consequences of this!
He was OK so once the bike was back on tarmac and he had called his recovery company I left him to it to catch up with the others.

We were back home by 5pm, Lucy with a big smile on her face as this was her first 'road trip' with camping on her bike and me with a greater appreciation of my Triumph Tiger, it is heavy with soft suspension but it is a lovely bike to ride!!

Happy days... Now it's back to work for awhile again!!