In 2013 and after our return trip “Looking for Crescent” We decided that the next destination would Scotland. We came 2014 and the trip had to be replaced by a 15 – day trip through Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic, which we titled “The Last Bison of Europe”. In 2015 again our desire to head north were dashed, and it was not until 2016 when we can say that we have met the target.
Leveraging our geographic proximity, in just 9 days we had the chance to take a true reflection of what is Scotland, covering more than 2000 km through tiny roads that left us breathless at every turn discovering landscapes worthy of a story.
All motorcycle trip is undertaken with excitement and some nervousness, at least it is what happens to me. And it does not matter whether to cross half of Europe or a getaway weekend, simply go kilometers above that machine for me has a soul, feel the wind in your face, the sun and perceive as light is changing throughout the day it is enough to leave behind any problem.
So join us in this brief account through which to us was the trip of “The Land of Wind.”
On August 4 we start from Aachen bound the Rotterdam Europort, it would be the first time that we started one tucking Edelweiss in the guts of a boat trip. Since the “Pride Of Rotterdam” watched as the iron monster that had embarked gobbled nonstop endless lines of trucks, auto caravans, trailers, containers of goods and people – so many people we fit in here – thought within me.
The journey passes safely, the combination of seasickness pills and beer are the winning hand that envelops us in a murky sense of exhaustion and drowsiness, barely arrived at our cabin, not to call cabinet given its size, where we we drop overnight. The next morning the Pride of Rotterdam reaches Hull, small English coastal town 400km from the border with Scotland.
The bikes out first and we formed a row to begin shooting the first kilometers on the Big Island. Inboard I repeated like a mantra … always remembers driving on the left, roundabouts also not make the mistake that will liar -. This trip for me contained four main objectives, the first of which was to visit Hadrian’s Wall.
We must travel back in time to the year 122, at which time he began the construction of this defensive fortification and would not end until 132. The Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered the construction of the wall to protect the empire from attack by the tribes of the Picts , making it the northernmost frontier of the Roman empire. Its original length was 117km and a height of about 5m. In 1987 Unesco declared it a World Heritage Site.
On a motorcycle trip is a thing that is impossible to save, fuel, always repostas wherever necessary, whether a few kilometers later there is a gas station with better prices. But what does that can scratch a few cents is in the housing. For this trip we decided to take all steps booked through airbnb, a website that allows you to contact individuals who rent a room in your home. In this way we have done much of all our trips and this was no exception. In addition to being able to sleep for a small fee it allows you to meet local people and share experiences.
Europe is a continent where you can still see the scars left by the First and Second World War, the latter more present. It not is going to be different on our trip through Scotland find a memorial in honor of the fallen beyond the narrow and had as training camp Scottish Highland soldiers.
Our route continues along the A87 in the direction of the Isle of Skye, famous for its wild nature, incredible landscapes and being subjected to the scourge of wind almost constantly. In fact it was the general tone of this trip, we are faced with wind gusts of more than 60km / h in some points. The section from Eilean Donan Castle to the Isle of Skye was the hardest of all. We try to shorten a stretch of road use any ferry, but they were all canceled due to weather conditions. So no choice but to go forward against all odds.
In the town of Dunvegan we slept in a cozy house in which we can stop the bike safely. People who know that traveling by motorbike always ask us what we do with the luggage we carry suitcases, one that is simply tied with a pair of straps. The truth is that we never had the slightest problem. Only once, by a distrust based on pure ignorance, try to secure luggage tucking inside a metal mesh PacSafe brand, was the first and last time we did.
To travel by motorcycle must try to follow some assumptions and logical precautions, but we must also have a more open mind. Obviously out of suitcases let alone what if we steal we will not ruin the rest of the trip, but not exaggerated take measures to prevent this from happening. So we have traveled much of Europe, leaving the bike in unlikely places, up leaving to walk for over an hour and we return without missing anything. The only thing that if chained in the case of not wanting to take him with us are the helmets and jackets, nothing more.
Scotland was no exception motera our experience, people are friendly and polite to the utmost, so I left the bike parked where it was and we were going to walk without asking not even that could fail us back something. In front of our accommodation in Dunvegan was a military cemetery of the Commonwealth.
I have always seemed fascinating places where you can get intimate and personal photographs, Scotland I discovered many small cemeteries, abandoned to the whim of the elements, where nature was retaking possession of what belonged, offering singular images.
We were fortunate to go to dinner at a restaurant where he worked a Spanish waiter. Roberto, Madrid and three years leading going every summer to work at Dunvegan, advised us where we should take a good photograph at Neist Point, must see on the island.
Arriving Neist Point can walk down to the lighthouse, but the best place to take a good photograph is climbing the small hill that is in the visitor parking. After about five minutes walk to the perfect angle to photograph the lighthouse, the cliffs and blue horizon as a backdrop it is achieved. That day we were lucky with the weather. Our next destination would take us from the Isle of Skye to Ullapool, famous fishing village, where again delighted with Scottish hospitality would be left.
Leaving Skye by the A87, joining the A890 to Achnashee, from there we start towards the coast by the A832 to connect with the A835 which will take us to Ullapool. From Ullapool we walked all over the north coast to Occumster, across the road through Durness, Thurso to John O’Groats, the northernmost point of the Big Island. For lack of time we could not visit the islands further north, where is the town of Kirkwall, where you can watch whales and seals, but it is the perfect excuse to repeat this trip with a little more time.
One thing that caught my attention of our trip is the amount of kilometers we hit without coming across a single person. The north of the country seems to be populated only by sheep. The night we slept in Occumster we discussed the family that hosted us and told us it was due to the decision they made between S. XVII and XVIII “Land Lords” Lords of the Land.
Before inhabited by families of farmers, landowners saw obtain greater benefits raising cattle that were barely pay any attention, so they evacuated thousands of families to replace them by sheep. Today a vast expanse of the country is inhabited almost solely by sheep. This makes many roads alerting you find the possibility of finding animals on the road, something happened to us quite often notices.
You have to drive carefully because here the sheep govern at will. Our day from Occumster to Dores, Loch Ness, time did not allow us to take pictures. Strong winds and intermittent rain forced us to focus on reaching as soon as possible and we could not entertain us as just. As important information for future travelers, circumambulate the Loch Ness as a whole can take more than an hour, it is much bigger than it looks on a map. To this must be added the tourist traffic by car caravans and if the weather is not favorable route can be demanding. The A82 is the one that lengthens the lake, the tourist. But the B852 has a flight that departs somewhat, gaining altitude and climbing a small harbor with spectacular views. If you’re fortunate that the weather is benign, it is worth stopping and enjoying the scenery picnicking.
The morning we woke Dores presents ugly. Aluminum suitcases, and tanned on many trips are somewhat distorted by the falls I’ve had in six years, so not close to perfection as the first day, so during the night have been filled with water. Removing water bags, wrapping luggage in a plastic bag garden and prepare the bike under a steady rain is not liked by anyone … but you have to travel on a motorcycle, it is sometimes wonderful and sometimes a small torture.
The route will take us to Kirriemuir, town famous for being the place that gave birth to Sir JM Barrie, best known as the author of the play “Peter Pan” was a curious coincidence that cheered Lidia, as good philologist and lover books, we invest some of our time to go to visit the house where the author was born and find the cemetery where rests. The roads we follow are the A9 until you reach the A938, A939 there until that takes us to the town of Ballater. From this town along the river by the A93 and B951 Kirriemuir you are reached. Kirriemuir stayed at the house of a grandmother who was widowed a few years.
Tired of spending days alone at home online decided to offer accommodation to travelers wishing to spend the night. The reception was typically Scottish, tea and pastries. Our penultimate day trip took us from Kirriemuir to Kelso, a town next to the border with England, doing must stop at the Abbey of St. Andrews. The city of Saint Andrews is not only known for its abbey ruins, but also for being the birthplace of golf, the oldest club in the world is here.
His public course is packed with enthusiasts of the sport and well worth traveling the road that runs parallel between the countryside and the beach, spectacular. A very lively city, full of tourists and students, Saint Andrews is a city to stay a couple of days. Unfortunately we lacked sufficient time to do so is a pretext that binds to the list to make a second trip to Scotland.
All we traveled by motorcycle we ask a series of recurring when we learned that a colleague has returned from a trip we want to go, I hope the following FAQ satisfy the curious.
Did you have trouble finding fuel?
Not at all. Even in the most unpopulated roads in the north of the country always we found somewhere to refuel. Prices are in pence per liter.
It has been an expensive trip?
Leaving from Aachen we have saved enough fuel compared to someone who comes from Spain. For lack of time we had to use the ferry, which determines quite the travel dates, both outward and return. In fact it was probably the most expensive part of the trip, just over € 600 round trip + bike two people in the smaller cabin that was. All accommodation units in private homes, so we saved up to 30 € of difference compared to a conventional hotel. The cheapest night cost us 30 € the two and the most expensive € 100. Almost everywhere we had breakfast included, so we filled well guts to shoot many kilometers without stopping. Absolutely everywhere you find Tea Shops, where for about 7 € / person can eat a sandwich and coffee to keep you up until dinner. We know that some people choose to camp in Scotland, fortunately we not take that option because every day we had rain and wind would have been awful mount the tent in such conditions.
Is it true about the dreaded mosquitoes in Scotland?
It is true that Scotland is littered with some tiny mosquitoes that can make your life miserable. Fortunately we do not suffer more than a night at Banavie and just the way the pub to the house where we slept that night. One more reason not to camp.
How do you apañasteis with the change of currency?
We take Britain announced Brexit and Libra is quite devalued to go to the bank and buy Pounds to carry cash. Accommodation and ferry were already paid in advance, so only paid fuel card cash and use it to pay for meals.
Any advice regarding kit?
Lidia had their equipment Revi’t Lady Sand, which is between time, with a waterproof membrane and a fleece lining. Above all that wearing a raincoat. I wore a kit that gave Rukka size throughout the trip despite having several days that it rained for many kilometers without rest. None got wet, but certainly Lidia was uncomfortable having to wear more layers of clothing.
Something repetiríais or not you would return to do?
We would repeat the whole trip with a few more days. We would never go through the Edinburgh Crossroads, where we had a monumental traffic jam on the highway and we almost cost a mechanical failure of the bike from overheating by having to run at very low speed for more than an hour.