ENGLAND's NORTH: Just passin' through.

Click on images to enlarge them.

Sorry – we have few/no photos of early part of the trip;
new-camera teething problems. Later blogs have photos & videos.

Travels: We arrived in London Heathrow July 14, 2008.

Having seen London a few times, plus having no clothes or wash kits thanks to Air Transat losing our stuff, we rode straight to Manchester to spend time with very dear uncle Peter & aunt Paulene. (And to buy some make-do clothes while we awaited ours for too many damn days.)

Peter is a Czech-born, still-very-active 80 year old orthopedic surgeon with great humor, a highly cultured arts nut, who skis and drives like a lunatic. Paulene is his brilliant bride and perfect match in the humour dept, helping greatly in the surgical practice as well. They're the best. And they are always so hospitable to us.

Fish and house guests – especially Canadian biker trash – normally become malodorous after a couple days, but ours was a great ten-day visit, hopefully not outstaying our warm welcome. I'm so lucky to have such relatives – and to know such great folks.

Uncle Peter. Too bad no pics of Paulene, she's way too good looking for him.

Finally, we're here and ready. See Getting There blog about the very nervous-making lost luggage fiasco.

Time to start riding...

We didn’t spend much time touring England, being anxious to get to more exotic locations.

Please do not misunderstand: This is not to brush aside UK and Europe travel at all! If that is your goal it is a highly desirable one. Europe is, duh, awesome with limitless touring variety, such different cultures, amazing cuisines, history, geography, architecture, art, all kinds of roads and public transport, the works – it's endless holidays of must-do's year round. Not cheap, but if you haven't seen it ... worth every Euro, do it!

But for us, on this trip, we both have traveled Europe many times, even lived there.

This trip is about more exotic places, Europe & UK are largely just-passin'-thru. Besides, Wheezy can travel Europe when he's too old to motorcycle exotic places.

However, we're sure glad we took the time to tour Scotland and the countryside route north from Manchester. Both are superb, especially if lucky about the weather, and we were.


North to Scotland: I promise you won’t be sorry if you try the following scenic off-the-track route [map link]:
. . .- Go north from Manchester to town of Settle next to A65.
. . .- From Settle take B6479 then right NE on B6255 that gets you
..... . .to Hawes in Yorkshire Dales National Park.
. . .- Go north on B6259 to Brough.
. . .- Find the Tanhill Pub (wisely recommended by a UK biker)
.... . .it’s the highest elevation pub in UK.
. . .- We do not know the road's name but ask around, everyone knows
.... ...the pub. It’s a good place for a coffee, meal and/or hike, also a
...... .hotel where you can stay.
. . .- Countryside scenic isolation, memorable. Great riding!

Small is beautiful there roads-wise. Drive around, take the smallest roads on your map, avoid the highways. Here are some other people's photos [link].

Plus, an accidental but memorable fun cross-country ride we had, high recommendation. Do this little detour, we dare you – you will thank us for it:
. . .Just after the Tanhill Pub, if it's not pouring,
. . .you can do it in any small car; we did on loaded Black Bike, mostly in
. . .2nd gear and didn't fall. It's no Autobahn! A cross-country route from
. . .Tanhill Pub to Barnard Castle, versus the alternative asphalt [map link.]
. . .The previous link does not show it exactly as Google Maps does not
. . .have this road, but you'll find it if you do as suggested below.

. . .
- Turn left out of Tan Hill's parking lot.
. . .- About 2-3 miles from the Pub, on the same side of the road (a left turn),
.... . .there is a small arrow sign on a post that points to 'Barnard Castle'.
. . .- Follow the unpaved grassy-muddy-gravely track for maybe ten miles.
. . .- At one point you must open a cow gate (!), it's not locked.
. . .- Go slowly down that steep rocky hill that leads to a farm.
. . .- When you get to the only fork in the road before the cow gate, stay right,
.. .. .there is no sign. I gambled correctly.
. . .- It all looks like a private farm road but belongs to the British Crown.
. . .- Major Brit bucolic splendor, a memorable little adventure on this long trip.
. . .- Perfectly safe even in a normal little car.
. . .- Keep going ... you will end up in the town of Barnard Castle.

Or, follow the map and asphalt to the same place. Barnard Castle is a charming town worth a couple hours and a coffee, but we did not tour the Castle per se.

The Lake District was a tad touristy to us, nice driving but not a big discovery. We did
Windermere, Keswick, Carlisle, Hadrian's Wall.

Nice scenic driving, but so is Muskoka at home; it's pretty hard to impress Canadians with lakes, forests, and such, eh? Also nice homes in the area, but not worthy of a big diversion to us.

Big old Roman Wall, Hadrian's [photos link]; if in the area go see it if time allows, perhaps make a hike out of it. There are more impressive Roman ruins across the Channel; however, witnessing the ancient Roman presence here is a history-reality factor. Not worth it to us time-wise, so much else to see, but you may feel differently.

Hadrian's Wall section.

Scotland however – that's another matter!

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