The short way round

Our web blokes managed to convince me that some people may be interested in my recent motorcycling trips. I reckon they just needed some cannon fodder myself! If you’re quick you can backtrack now, however if you aren’t, you’ll need to increase your caffeine levels before you read on. Sorry – some of you may or may not be aware that I have had a bit of a thing for motorcycles.

If the truth be known, there hasn’t been a long spell without one since I was sixteen (back in 1783!).

Like many closet bikers (not sure I like the sound of that) I was inspired by the highly publicised Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman series, ‘The Long Way Round’. I traded in my beloved Harley (pet name – Fatty Arbuckle) and rode away on a ‘BMW Adventure’ (for those of you that don’t know what that is …it’s a large enduro style motorcycle, now known affectionately as, ‘de tractor’) – these things are like Marmite, you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. My wife thought I was totally mad (but then she always has done) and fell into the latter of the categories which may explain why she has never been on the back of any of them! However, I am pleased and slightly proud to say I have chalked up quite a number of tours on it.

This calls for a quick synopsis: early 2006 she took me to Le Mans for the 24-hour race, later that year we plodded off to tour the Isle of Man (non-race weekend), 2007 saw us riding to Venice, travelling through 11 countries (a great experience & picture used on and the latest ‘tour of 2008′ saw us travel up into Scotland, across into Ireland (Stranraer to Larne), across the top visiting the Giants Causeway, then west across to Londonderry and south down to Galway… I am sure you don’t want a town-by-town blow of the tour!

‘We’ (my brother-in-law Gary who was armed with the same sort of machinery) travelled pretty much all the way round in four days, taking in the sights of Limerick, The Cliffs at Mohar and yes, I did kiss the old Blarney Stone and may have sank the odd pot of the black stuff – well it had to be done! We also met up with John Kennedy (an ex-Freestone man who some of you might of known – 1802) who now lives near Cork (nice bloke).

To cut the story short, the Irish part of our tour culminated in Dublin. I might add that although the B&Bs all cost roughly the same, there was a massive, massive difference in quality (see pictures). You never knew where you were checking into!

Friday morning saw us up with the sparrows and on the ferry to Holyhead. Riding on through Snowdonia produced stunning views, great roads, dodgy burgers and funny tasting tea. Trip now nearing its end, Gary went North to Manchester (seeya mate) and I travelled south down through the cotswolds, which was cool, but so was arriving home too! (Well, the dog was pleased to see me… I think!). All in all we covered approximately 1,200 miles on our journey – you can see a map of our route here. An altogether great trip. If you read all of that then there’s an OBE in the post!