Gallows Hill to Home

This is such a good campsite. Its just a field with some basic facilities and it can only make a small amount of money for its owner but it does a good job. Its on a gentle slope and had a beautiful view over the valley. Chickens scratch around the site and in the next field are sheep and horses. On my two visits its not been crowded and reminds me of the Wee Campsite up in Scotland that was hopeless in terms of noise and disturbance as everyone was packed so close like terraced housing. Gallows Hill has so much space. Its also perfectly placed for a journey from the south up to Scotland.
Traveling back home was easy. With earplugs in I sat in the outside lane for much of the journey and thundered back home. Out of curiosity I left the A1 to see what Grantham had to offer, assuming it would be a pretty coaching town like Stamford. If it was I didn’t see it. Tired after just over two hours on the bike I tried to park in a car park there but it was built on such a slope that it was impossible to get off the bike so I headed off – without earplugs. Already I can’t believe how I rode without them. They make you go faster!
The trip was 1400 miles with 33 hours of riding.
So now I’m back home and thinking about the next trip. Lets chose somewhere a little more exotic and somewhere with better weather. Suggestions?

In Bates motel

Well not really Bates Motel but it might be. It’s a guest house with a number of little rooms. I’m number 6. Despite the moment of beauty last night at Durness I woke to drizzle and heavy skies with the forecast for heavy rain all day. So I abandoned my plan to get the ferry over to Cape Wrath and packed up instead dressed in rain gear and warm scarf I headed south aiming for Glencoe. And it rained and rained. For a strange reason my visor misted up inside and I couldn’t clear it whatever I tried. There was nowhere under shelter to stop in. I tried tilting my head and going fast. Eventually I stopped to fill up and lingered as long as I could under the canopy of the petrol station. I vowed not to camp tonight. I had no heart for pitting up a tent in the rain in wet clothes so I tried a few hotels near Glencoe. The first wanted £145 for bed and breakfast. The second looked much more down to earth staffed by Australians but they had no room. The third also was full but phoned through to this guest house. An Australian woman answered but she is nowhere to be seen instead a very helpful man who keeps stuffed birds everywhere. He lives over the way with the mysterious woman. It’s deathly quiet or that could be the result of not wearing earplugs for today’s 5 and a half hour ride. There’s a toasty drying room which I would have loved to stay in all evening. Bertha will turn 20,000 tomorrow.

Sango Sands at Durness

Is it this tiny iPhone or the inclement conditions that abbreviate this travel account? Today I was pleased to get away from the Wee campsite which started off so well got exciting even with the arrival if the German duo with sidecars (and a scots bike veteran pointed out to me he knew they were foreign because the sidecars were on the wrong side and I noticed that one had reverse gear so mo wonder it manoeuvred so neatly) but it was the family with tantrumming boy and their own very apparent stupidity right next door that drive me nuts. “the professionals say there’s nothing wrong with him but we can’t cope” they complained to eachother. They arrived back after 9pm to fry bacon when I was already in my sleeping bag reading Big Sur as it got dark. Before them was another couple with too many children one crying and father losing his rag. But today was lovely after my getaway and a lovely ride on the sunshine to Ullapool for bagel and a pot of tea then restock at the last Tesco and throw out that nasty wine that gave me a headache tasted awful and finally leaked in my bag. Then after I turned left north and all the other traffic turned right so I am on my own to zoom past the sheep and tourists to arrive here at 2.30 where it’s good to arrive early to get the good places mine down by the fantastic cliff though there is a huge space by the entrance with scores of campervans. This is like a separate place, quite so far though there is a space next to me. The waves are crashing. Tomorrow I plan to take theinibus to Cape Wrath then on Monday head back south to Glen Coe again in one day.

More poised

I’ve made a more poised entry to the Wee campsite number 30 in the Cool Camping book. The midges are just appearing but though it’s overcast it’s dry – well it’s not raining. This little site seems to attract people from all over Europe who sit on easy chairs in couples quietly reading paperbacks. The view is over a loch and there is sunlight on distant mountains but I hardly look at the view. I rode through breathtaking scenery and as I was warned you begin to take it for granted. You almost have to. I met four Spanish bike riders from Spain who find Scotland to be paradise although they told me at home it was already 30 degrees and not raining. I stopped and chatted and caught them up thanks to my new found countersteering skill which zooms me around corners. I road 80 miles in vain fro the Mallaig ferry only to find it was all booked till 4:30. This is a pretty little site with basic facilities. My neighbours in a huge tent are still out. We are all a bit squashed and a man about 20 feet away continually coughs in a way that suggests he won’t be holidaying next year. Tomorrow I will make it up to the top of this beautiful country. To Durness.