Sunday, June 30, 2013

Towards Scotland

We left London with high hopes for the better. We were happy to get out of our dungeon and this city life which was (and is) really not for us. Direction straight north, on to the A1. After we got out of the suburban area, we went back to smaller roads and made it to Cambridge for lunch to the only open vegan restaurant (Cam Yoga). On a positive note, we realized that motorbikes - even those with a sidecar - do not need to pay toll in tunnels and bridges. Convenient :)

The average speed on smaller roads was ridiculous due to roundabouts every few kilometers if there are even kilometers between them. Brits really seem to love roundabouts!!! Yet, we did not give up and continued to Peterborough, where we had already booked a motel for the night. We went to the local supermarket to get some food and we were truly surprised about the vegan options as well as generally their healthier food selection! :)

Riding on the left side of the road with a solo bike is not difficult at all. We had this experience already when we visited Australia and New Zealand a few years back. The only new thing here was the usage of mph instead of kmh - not so big deal. We went with the feeling of speed and it will be fine. Riding a sidecar on the left side is new to me and especially the fact that the sidecar is mounted on the right side. Since people in the UK seem to "protect" their street with all sorts of bushes and walls just beside the street, the visibility in left curves is close to zero, which makes it a little more exciting riding with 50mph into such one in the hope there is nothing blocking the way ;)

Another observation which amazed is that so many traffic signs are hidden behind bushes, branches of trees etc. This causes sudden changes in directions or stops where I need to consult my GPS. Also the weather in UK has not disappointed us. We've had plenty of cloudy, rainy, windy days with short sunny moments.

We did not book a budget accommodation for the next night so we decided to go camping - what could possible go wrong there? Next morning, we packed our stuff and hit again to smaller roads. This time we were more lucky and found curvy stretches of up to 12km without any circle! We rode over the bridge to Barton upon Humber and continued around many circles towards North York Moors National Park. We did check two campsites beforehand in the internet and both seemed fine.

We went to first one, it looked all promising and when we came to reception they said they are closed for renovation. What the F***! And nothing about this in their webpage. OK - we knew there is another coming a few miles later and it was the same place this guy recommended to us. So, we thought what the heck - a few km more are not so bad, I had no idea what time it was, but there was still plenty of light. We rode to this other place and wanted to check in for several nights. When they asked how many dogs I have, I answered three and then they said, that they cannot take us. They have a strict limit of two dogs/tent, so we cannot camp here. After telling them that we did ride whole day, Skippy had started to get a flu and one of the dogs is the size of a mouse. They would have allow us in, if we are not showing all three dogs at once - max two. If the park owner sees three dogs, we will be asked to leave! What the heck is going on here? By now, it was getting late and we got desperate. They gave us a hint, where we might be able to camp. First, we tried the two motels in the village - both fully booked. We went to this nice lady who works (or owns) the local pub and she was really understanding. Since she owned a field which was currently not used, she allowed us to pitch our tent there. We went to her farm house to fetch some water and so we stayed one night in the fence together with two (other black) sheep :D

First wild camping (a bit involuntarily though)

The view from our camp site was nice and enough space to walk the dogs :)

Lucky us the village had some public toilets so we could refresh ourselves a little next morning, have breakfast on the parking lot and get going towards north.

Hertta found a new position to enjoy the ride and the breaks.

... and then we found this almost perfect break/camp site

View in North York Moors National Park

Beautiful cottongrass fields everywhere.

This was a lesson. For our next stop, I consulted my GPS map for some camp sites and called them beforehand to figure out whether they are open and allow three dogs. The plan of calling beforehand did not really work out. Two places which were nearby Holy Island did not answer and the call was diverted to an answering machine. One place answered and they allowed three dogs, however they were a little too close for a day's ride as we wanted to ride a bit more this day. The phone line of the other candidate place was always busy (good sign - many customers?). Anyway, we gave it a shot and we were lucky. They were open and had no problem with three dogs since they were so small. Now we had a place to stay a few nights to get Skippy in better fit for Scotland.

Rules in the UK ...
The story goes like this. We had two neighbors at the camping site, one friendly old gentleman who likes to take pictures of wildlife seabirds and then there was a mother/parent with two daughters who enjoyed playing outside. We came to talk to the gentleman right away and he was impressed by what we do and asked whether he can take some pics of my bike. I said sure and then later that afternoon he came with his tripod and old fashioned film camera to take a few shots. Some hours later the police came and we could first not understand why the police was here and what they talked to both of our neighbors (innocently as we are with a Finnish mindset). When the police was gone, I asked the old fellow what was that all about and he told, that the mother/parent accused him of taking (secret) pictures (remember with a tripod!!!) of her daughters. He was then asked to hand over the film to the police for destruction and he needed to leave the camping place INSTANTLY!!! Well, it seems that the other ones needed to leave too. Hey, come on you Brits - a little bit more relaxing would do you well! The good thing was that now we had one whole side of the tent area for us, and we used it to play with our dogs (which was also forbidden!!!).

Testing our new tarp

Skippy making salad dressing with on board electricity

Almost alone in the entire tent area

Testing local beer - quite good, a bit expensive though
Hyvää Juhannusta!

Walking the dogs in the neighbourhood

In order to get to the public footpaths I needed to climb over the fences. Typically those had some kind of steps for that. At least some were not made for dogs ... click here Lyra finding her way :D

Lyra and Ulpu - always wanting to be above ground :)
Weekend came and camping site got busy ...
We relaxed a few nights there and then we continued our ride - next via point was Holy Island. The interesting aspect of the island is that it is cut off from the mainland in high tides. If you want to go there, you need to be aware of the tide time tables. We did a small walk around the village, Skippy was still not doing too great and so we moved on towards Falkirk...

Castle at Holy Island
and who cleans the poop of the sheep?
The rescue tower for those who test their luck with the tides
Somewhere on the way to Scotland
Jipiii - we made it

∼ Wolfi

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