We crossed back into Britain after visiting France going from Le Havre to Portsmouth and met fellow biker Nick at the port. We got chatting and discovered he was riding back from Italy having just ridden to the Stella Alpina rally on his Moto Guzzi. We spent a very pleasant journey in his company talking about all manner of motorcycle related goings on and he invited us to bunk at his house for the night as he felt that our plan of finding a campsite in Portsmouth at 10 pm might be a shade unsuccessful.
The following morning we set out on our way to explore the South West of the country, riding along narrow, hedge lined country lanes, through little market towns to a wee farm campsite near Luxulyan where we stayed the night with the plan of visiting the Eden Project the following morning. We spent the night camped next to a young couple who had a fondness for Duran Duran played at high volume but after our training in the campsites of Chile we were quite able to get a full night’s sleep. We were up early the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed unlike many of the other campers and were at the Eden Project gates for opening time. After we’d been relieved of a not inconsiderable amount of money we pushed our way through the crowds of very excited children and their enthusiastic parents to begin our tour of the site. It was fantastic. The domes in particular delighted us and the day was gone before we knew it. We made our way back to the bikes through the same crowds of children and parents, this time the youngsters were screaming with fatigue and the adults were thin lipped with stretched patience.
We rode on, stopping to visit Lands End before looking for place to camp for the night. Lands End is just as exposed and wild looking as John O’Groats but did have a little more charm to it. We sneaked a photo at the sign and debated whether or not to pay £5 for a Cornish pasty. With the answer to that as a resounding NO, and the rain beginning to fall we left and returned to Penzance where we had spotted a campsite on the edge of town.
On the way we popped in to the Toutatech shop north of Swansea. We had bought the sat nav bracket for Nom’s bike through their mail order service and wanted to see if they could help out with the lock which had never worked properly. With the promise of a replacement and after a wee photo session we were on the move again.
Ewan McGregor is rumoured to be playing the part of Nom in the film of our epic journey! Does that mean that Charlie Boorman will be donning a black wig to play me?
Our time at the bike rally was just great great fun. Our good friends Ian, Shona and Lesley had ridden down from Scotland to meet us and along with Brian and Keith from the club we had a brilliant time catching up with each others news.
Nom, Lesley and Keith
We collected a special award from Bryan as our 41500 miles entered in the sign in book under distance travelled was a wee bit further than the other entries and then packed up the bikes. Our time living in a tent was over (for this trip) and the end of our adventure was a day away. With a stop over in the Borders with my sister Jen and my brother-in-law Willie we headed North towards Aberdeen with the rain threatening but thankfully not delivering. Over the Glens of Foundland and towards Huntly where a lovely welcoming party was waiting for us at the front gate of my parents’ house, complete with bunting, balloons and waving hands.
After over a year on the road and moving on to a new place everyday, meeting new friends and seeing new landscapes it’s time to stop for a while and return to the familiar, catch up with old friends and remind ourselves just how beautiful Scotland is!
News fae Nom
Weel,at’s us back hame ti Scotland. It wiz guid ti hae a tour aboot England and Wales on i wiy back up I road; yi dinna need ti go far for some great scenery and friendly folk. For us noo it will be back to oor jobs and trying ti adapt to not moving on to a new place daily. It dis feel a bitty strange, but hey ho! A year on i road is expensive; sacrifices were made and it will taak time to get back ti ‘normal’. But nae regrets! I things wi hiv seen, i challenges wi faced and overcame, and best iv aa i kindness of aa i fowk wi met and spent time wee them will be our best memories of our trip, so a massive thanks to you all !
Bike News Last but by no means least, to our two companions for the year, always there to get us through the challenges, never complained or let us down, brought a smile to our faces and so many others all around the world. The Triumphs made it all possible, took us all the way with 100% relibility. So, 42000 miles in a year sounds like a hard time for the bikes but I was surprised how things lasted with the first sets of chain and sprockets getting us to the United States, lasting an incredible 35000 miles. All I did was use a small paint brush and apply engine oil every 3 or 4 days. Both bikes needed only one set of front brake pads for the entire trip. I only put the spare sets in at Canada to save carrying them in the luggage on the plane. We did 7 oil and filter changes using a variety of brands of oil depending on what was available. The engines did not burn or use oil at all and never needed topped up. I changed the spark plugs 3 times, washed the KandN air filters twice. My Triumph got all the way back to Britain on two sets of tyres with the Michelin Anakees lasting until Australia, then the Heidenaus got me to Britain. The metal mule panniers did the job being totally waterproof and tough with only my rear rack breaking towards the end of the trip. The garmin sat nav was a massive help, especially in big cities, for planning fuel stops and finding accommodation. I think if you are planning a big trip, you don’t need the latest big adventure bike, and loads of fancy gear. The bike and kit you have just now is probably fine, just plan, save and go for it!