Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 5 Lands End - John O'Groats - Lands End On A Honda C90

Up bright and early after a good nights sleep, packed and away by just after 0830hrs so not too shabby a start.

Back on the A16 and headed for Grimsby, and yes it was a bit grim as you have to go right through the middle of the place to get onto the A180 and my next hurdle - the Humber Bridge!

The Humber Bridge is the 7th longest single span bridge in the world and it was with some trepidation that I approached it.

Thankfully the wind had died down and the crossing was smooth with some spectacular views to either side. Not that I had much chance of looking around trying to keep "Lucille" on the straight and narrow.

Once crossed it was straight on and heading for York. The miles today flew by with many stops for fuel, but as soon as the tank was brimmed it was straight off with no time to spare.

"Lucille" was performing well, but my back tyre was wearing fast which I was a little surprised at as it was a new Continental tyre fitted just before I had bought the bike. With so little mileage on it I was a little concerned over it's wear rate.

Not being even half way a number of tyres was looking a possibility. Continental being a good make I didn't hold out too much hope for my mega cheap Chinese tyres I was carrying as spares. Yes those are spares on the back of the bike and not a paddling pool as some have hinted at!

I decided that as soon as I could and definitely before I hit the Highlands I would get a new tyre fitted.

But in the mean time, onwards!!

Around York and onto the A19 at Thirsk I branched off and took the A168 to Northallerton and straight on to Darlington.

Being an old drinking haunt from my early Army days, I must say I remembered nothing of the place as I passed through it.

The A68 is a long road and this was the road that took me through the Northumberland National Park.

Once more many memories came flooding back of my basic training in the Army as we spent some considerable time on the moors of Otterburn. I passed the sign for the camp and swiftly kept on going with a slight shudder at the horrors we had had to endure!

It always seemed to be cold and wet when I was last there, a number of things stick in my mind. One was being one of the few who remained OK after several days of heavy freezing rain. The others were dropping like flies with hypothermia, myself and Mark Renshaw were happy as Larry and brewing up as most of the others were being carted off to the medical centre!

I also remember in the middle of January swimming out to a canoe which was 40ft out in Kielder Lake, bobbing under it and swimming back. I should mention that the first few feet in we had to walk bare footed through ice!!!!

Character building stuff, which is exactly why I've probably ended up riding 3000 miles on a Honda C90!

The Scottish border represented a major milestone in the journey, and you could of predicted that it was wet and windy as I crossed it.

There was no one around at all to take my picture so had to do it myself, I managed to get most of us in! Getting the bike up on to the wet grassy bank was fun, not!

It was getting late in the day and it had been a bit of a monstrous day mileage wise at well over 200 miles and as I hadn't eaten properly all day and was feeling a bit jaded decided that it was time to find a camp site.

Once over the border I turned off the A68 and headed for Hawick on the A6088 through Bonchester Bridge, for those of you not in the know it is pronounced Hoik, and not as you would expect, so to impress the locals use the correct pronunciation! 

This was my first proper taste of narrow A roads with some fantastic views, but I knew that this was just a taster of what was in store for me.

As I got closer to Hawick I noticed a brown sign with the camp site symbol on it, but decided to push on. Got into Hawick itself and decided that I needed fuel, Once I had stopped and sorted out "Lucille" I decided to retrace my steps to the camp site a few miles back down the road.

I pulled into Riverside Caravan Park, reception was closed, but there was a number to call, spoke to the owners who just said, pitch up and settle up in the morning.

The site itself has seen a major refurbishment not only of the grounds but of the shower and loo block, talk about plush!

After going through my routine of setting up camp and a steaming hot shower which was very welcome after a long day, I decided that the very next morning I would take time to sort out my rear tyre. So far the roads had been dry but it was starting to look a bit like a slick racing tyre and I didn't fancy knee down Barry Sheen style riding.

The next morning I woke to frosty view, living on the South Coast and after having a very mild if not a tad wet winter it was a little bit of a surprise!

After settling up with the owners and a chat, they gave me directions to a local tyre guy who hopefully will help with my tyre issue!

The journey continues............

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