England, Wales, Scotland, May 2006 − Travels − Captain Tom

England, Wales, Scotland, May 2006

The big loop. First I wanted to visit the Mahler family in Shrewsburry. So I went from Weserbergland to Rotterdamm, then by ferry to Kingston upon Hull and from there through the Yorkshire Dales to Shrewsbury close to the border between England and Wales. Then I proceeded to Scotland for a week holidays with some friends. From there I returned back to Berlin.

1 The ride to England

For getting to England I booked a P&O ferry from Rotterdam to Kingston upon Hull. Something new and quite ok. Befor this trip I used always Scandinavian Seaways.

On the way to the ferry I notice the elevation (upper right corner). I am in the Netherlands obviously.
Pride of Rotterdam is waiting for me in Rotterdam
Boarding is ongoing. The narrow bridge high over the water is quite unusual and not so easy to pass for motorbikes
Departure requires an experienced captain. The ferry turns around in the narrow dock in between two other boats with the rear still tied
Rear still tied ...
... the bow passes in little distance another boat ...
... and then leaves the dock
Container terminal
Harbor exit
Rotterdam roadsted
Kingston upon Hull receives me the next day with sunny weather and Late May Bank Holiday
In a distance Humber Bridge. I missed watching passing through but I will have closer look later on.
On the island.
Humber bridge was in the year of opening 1981 the world's longest suspension bridge (1410 m/4626 ft between the pylons). It is still in the top 10.
Unfortunately it started raining on my way to the Yorkshire Dales so I was not able to take more picture of the ride
2 Wales ride

One day of my stay with the Mahler family was reserved for a big tour through Wales. It was in particular about refreshing memories. I wanted to revisit places I knew. But I found something new too.

Llangollen, hometown of Debbie in the valley. On the opposite side the ruins of Dinas Bran Castle
My favorite viewpoint on Panorama route on the other side of Llangollen valley with a brilliant view to Dinas Bran Castle and Llangollen
Same place, view to Llangollen
The mandatory Worlds End picture
I proceed to Anglesey
Convy Castle
Convy Bay
Already on Anglesey island: Castle Beaumaris
Bull Bay on the eastern side of the island
In Holyhead depart the ferries to Ireland
Back to the mainland I pass Cernafon Castle (where Prince Charles got crowned Prince of Wales)
On the way back I have a break at Llyn Celyn Reservoir.
And in the end I found solitude where I did not expect it. Klaus recommended Shropshire Hills in England and there is nothing but hills, sheep and solitude. Very nice.
3 Mount Snowdon

A tour together with the complete Mahler family. We climb Mount Snowdon again. The last time we went up the Tourist's track from Llanberris. This time we tried Pyg track. Difficulty was supposed to be between Tourist's track and the partially quite steep Miner's track. We did not really understand this classification. We had the feeling that Pyg track is much more difficult so we took Miner's track on the way back.

Both boys are ready ...
... and went ahead in the beginning
Pyg track - quite challenging
Klaus as mountaineer
View back to Llanberris
Happy (more or less) hikers
Vie down to the start of the steep section of Miner's track. We are already much higher but still have to climb
Brilliant view on the edge
Anglesey island in a distance
Summit picture Max
Rebecca is already half the way down. Benjamin too.
And Debbie finds her way down too
Sky shadows on mountains
4 Ride to Scotland

It is quite a distance between Shrewsburry in England and Crianlarich in Scotland and so I make it a two days tour with an overnight stop in Grange-over-Sands at the southern edge of Lake District. On my way there I pass two very scenic areas: Peak District and Yorkshire Dales.

Nice cultured landscape in Peak District
Hilly loneliness in the Yorkshire Dales
The Lymehurst Hotel in Grange-over-Sands
Lake district seems to consist of more mountains than lakes
View from the northern ramp of Kirstone Pass. Not high but quite mountainous
But there are lakes too. This is Lake Ullswater
Solitude on single track roads
The section to Glasgow is a little bit boring but then it gets scenic again
Almost there: Loch Lomond
5 Scotland holidays

In Crialarich I have meet friends who have had a week of Scotland holidays already. We will have another week in a small cottage in a resort called Portnellan next to Glen Dorchart below Ben More. So I have named the most important geographic words: Glen, Ben and Loch are river, mountain and lake. We learn quite quickly that many lochs are indeed sea bays with tides. The resort is quite extensive with it's own stream and a nice view to Ben More. The mountain is 1174 m (3852 ft) high - almost the same elevation as Mount Snowdon)

Our cottage with Ben More in the background
Möni explores the stream
The little one too...
... and takes a bath
I put at least my feet into it
Parts of our fleet
6 Sightseeing 1

Stirling Castle was residence of the Scottish Kings in medieval times and location of many battles
Sightseeing starts
Max looks around ...
... and sees Wallace Monument. It reminds a very succesful commander
The cemtery below the castle
The castle is hard to conquer but it happend several times
Coat of arms in the throne room
Majesties take their place
After all the old stuff we visit something very modern. Falkirk Wheel is a boat lift built in a very unconventional way.
The little houseboats use the channels which have been the infrastructure backbone during the times of industrialization
End of sightseeing
7 Ride with Möni

My ride with Möni brought us along some lochs at the western coast. Quite nice there.

Loch Leven
Castle Stalker - looks quite small
Short break in the solitude at Loch Creran
Max goes canoeing while we are away
8 Ride with Andreas

The ride is a loop towards South West

Nice view over Seil Sound towards the islands of Luing and Shuna
We are excited
During the tour we had a ferry ride from Tarbert to Protavadie over Loch Fyne
View over Loch Fyne
Ferry terminal
View to island Arran in the background with Skipnesspoint in front of it
Andreas aboard
We get a very nice view to Loch Riddon shortly after leaving the ferry. Isle of Bute to the right.
Andreas is impressed too
9 Swimming in Glen Orchy

Glen Orchy is a small river in a very scenic area and offers good opportunities for a swim. We needed it in this warm weather
Möni and Max use the opportunity
The dam project gets executed
I am rather sceptical
Later on I will have a short tour with Möni. The little one prepars himself too
We find more splendid solitude above Loch Tay on freshly prepared single track roads
Water power plant at Lochan na Lairige
10 Sightseeing #2

This time to Jacobite Steam Train and ot Oban Whiskey Destillery

Jacobite Steam Train goes from Fort William to Mallaig. You can get out earlier. The train is know by everyone having seen Harry Potter. We decide to let Möni and Max ride one stop with the train and we collect them at this station.
Before departure
Details of the locomotive
The train goes over the viadukt close to Glenfinnan
We can watch the train directly after the stop from a road bridge
We proceed to Oban. On our way we have another ferry crossing over Loch Linnhe with view to Fort William and Ben Nevis (highest peak of the UK) - if you can see it. 300 days of fog do not leave much opportunity to do so. We have not seen it either.
Loch Linnhe towards Fort William (northbound)
The ferry arrives
Loch Linnhe view to Isle of Mull (southbound)
Max checks that everything is alright
On our way to Oban we see Castle Stalker again
We even get some sun in Oban. It is a tiny city opposite of Isle of Mull and with much ferry traffic. The island group of Hebrides are majorly accessible via port of Oban
Destillery directly at the main street. On top of the hill a building called McCaighs Tower
We visit the Destillery. No photos allowed. The we go up to McCaighs Tower
We get a gorgeous view to the harbor, island of Kerrera and behind it in a distande Isle of Mull
11 Having a bath in the stream

There is a stream in the resort coming from Ben More. You can have a swim when it is too hot outside
12 Red telephone booth

Also in the resort there is a red telephone booth which is well suited for mandatory telephone booth pictures

The last evening we get an amazing sunset. Sun is already behind the mountains but the clouds get nicely colored
13 Journey back to Berlin

The journey back starts with a ride to the ferry in Newcastle. Andreas escorts me while Möni takes Max, car and trailer. I pass the Norththumberland National Park with Andreas before we all get onto the ferry in Newcastle. It will bring us to Amsterdam overnight.

Getting Andreas' bike onto the trailer
... done
Waiting for boarding
Other vehicles boarding
Cast off!
Cast off!
A cruise ship gets escorted by three towboats
Old docks
The lighthouse on the mole. We are leaving England
Europe welcomes us with sun the next day
Land ahoy
Getting into the port of Amsterdam
I wait with many other bikers for disembarkment
Boat is in the dock
Now I have to get home.
14 What else?

Berlin is still in soccer fever. Yesterday the opening game of the world championship took place
I took seven different ferries during my tour
  • one time river Elbe
  • one time river Weser
  • two times North Sea
  • one time Loch Fyne
  • one time Loch Linnhe
I have learned on a ride with the resort owner that you can have a lot of fun on a bike when you are aged 60+. And you do not need to be slow.
I have seen that the English, the Welch and the Scots don't like a lot of things but they like roundabouts for sure.
It was a great vacation
Thanks to all involved
Debbie, Klaus, Benjamin, Max, Rebecca
Möni, Andreas, Max