Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

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mc Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Sun Apr 19 2015, 23:34

I made a New Year's Resolution this year to keep a diary of all our rideouts for this year.  I have been faithfully keeping this diary in old fashioned paper & pen format but Fatcat just pointed out that it might also be fun to have the diary in digital format.  So I have chosen you lucky souls to be the ones to put up with my insane ramblings  tongue

I won't bore you all with my entries from earlier in the year, afterall who wants to hear about my embarrassing lowside down the fast lane of the A77 after hitting a patch of oil/diesel back in February whistle  So I will start at the beginning of this month and our first camping trip in years to the Lake District.

Lake District Camping Trip Day 1: Sat Apr 4 2015
Participants: Me on my Fixxer & Fatcat on his Cat
Weather: Dry, sunny, wee bit of cloud, pretty much no wind
Route: Home (Troon) - New Galloway - Dumfries - Gretna - Carlisle - Cockermouth - Keswick

After managing to pack all our camping paraphernalia onto the bikes for the first time (with room to spare I might add), we headed off down to New Galloway.  I love this road (A713) and it was lovely and quiet as usual.  Instead of heading into New Galloway, we took the lefthand turn at the crossroads and the A712 which joins the A75 at Crocketford.  First time on this road and won't be the last, lovely twisty quiet road again, a lot of fun!  

Only dampner came in the form of Fatcat moaning about not being able to hear me very well on the Scala.  This is odd because I am using a brand new corded mike on my equally brand new fullface Arai.  Upon joining the A75 the satnav promptly decided to take us off it for a scenic tour of Dumfries town centre which was odd but not a problem.  After leaving Dumfries and rejoining the A75 Fatcat lost me on audio completely.  I could still hear him perfectly and his constant questions of "hello hello can you hear me?" to which I repeatedly shouted "yes I can hear you" until I went hoarse.  Evidently he still couldn't hear me.  We pulled into a layby and deduced that my corded mike wasn't working properly.  After a reboot of both Scalas, Fatcat could hear me again but barely.  Needing a toilet stop anyway we pulled into Tesco's at Annan where Fatcat attempted to find out what was wrong with my mike.  Unfortunately, all he succeeded in doing was breaking it completely.  So the rest of the trip consisted of a Fatcat monologue on the old Scala radio.  Another thing we learned, my hand signals are useless and easily misinterpreted!!  

The trip from Annan to Cockermouth was fairly boring and uneventful, consisting of motorways, fairly straight A roads and Carlisle.  We turned off the A595 at Cockermouth and found a wee layby with an awesome view of the hills and valley towards Keswick.  Had a quick and late lunch before heading off towards Keswick to find a campsite.  The road and views quickly got even more spectacular.  I had googled some campsites before we set off and we headed for the first one on my list just off the A66 a couple miles east of Keswick.  It turned out to be a bit pants but I had seen a campsite sign on the road heading towards the Castlerigg Stone Circle.  We backtracked and found the said campsite (Burns Farm).  It was in a lovely location, had great facilities and was only £7 each for the night.

We were given a nice pitch between a guy on a bicycle with a huge tent and a family with VW Camper van and an even bigger tent.  Our 2 man mountain tent looked pathetic in comparison.  We need a bigger tent!!!  Our brand new Trangia stove and pans worked great but we need to double up our portions of supernoodles and packet pasta as one pack of each definitely doesn't do for 2 people.  Nevermind, I need to lose some weight anyway.  The tent is a bit on the small side with all our biking gear, was great when I got it 25+ years ago (omg was it really that long!) for hiking but not anymore.  Otherwise, everything worked well and the new sleeping bags and air mats look great.  Not much to do so we had a fairly early night.

Well that's the end of my first diary entry, will add Day 2 tomorrow along with some pics hopefully wink thumb up
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  terry lees on Mon Apr 20 2015, 09:29

Nice post
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  greencat on Mon Apr 20 2015, 21:26

Hi Gilly,

Thanks for sharing your write-up. Always nice to hear about others experiences - good and bad, provided you're happy to share them. Experiment away. I'm sure you'll get some feedback here. Very Happy When's the next instalment?
Look forward to catching up sometime this season.

Cheers,
Chris


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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Mon Apr 20 2015, 21:47

Thanks for the kind comments Terry & Chris, hopefully you won't get too bored.

Here's a couple of photo's to make my text a little less dull.  

This is our pitch.  Our tent is so small the Cat hides most of it lachen

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And this was the view over the wall behind our pitch on Sunday morning after the mist had cleared.

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Day 2 to follow in a couple of minutes...
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Mon Apr 20 2015, 21:56

Lake District Camping Trip Day 2: Sun Apr 5 2015
Participants: Me on my Fixxer & Fatcat on his Cat
Weather: Started perfectly (not a cloud in the sky, warm, no wind), quickly got cloudy then foggy and cold, ended perfectly
Route: Keswick - Windermere - Ulverston - Whitehaven - Maryport - Carlisle - Dumfries - Cumnock - Home (Troon)

Well...our first night of camping in many many years was cold and a wee bit uncomfortable.  Need to adjust my air mat a bit.  Turns out the temp dropped to 1.5 dg c so no wonder we were cold.  There was an early morning mist and everything was covered in a fine layer of dew.  We decided to make a coffee and munch a couple of breakfast bars until the mist cleared and everything dried out.  As a result we didn't manage to set off until about 10am so I had to skip a visit to the Castlerigg Stone Circle.  Will need to catch it next time.  

We headed into Keswick for fuel and then set off towards Windermere.  The first few miles were absolutely fantastic.  The road was good, not too busy, and the views were breathtaking.  Then at the end of the lake we noticed a bank of cloud, on exactly the route we were taking.  This low cloud hit just before Grassmere and completely obscured the hills from view until we got to the coast towards Ulverston where it proceeded to obscure everything from view!   The road also got much busier and ended up essentially a slow moving traffic jam in both directions.  Serves us right for coming here on a bank holiday weekend!  

As we got near to Ulverston, the low cloud turned into a light fog so everything was pretty much obscured.  The satnav got lost in Ulverston and we went round the town at least twice.  Just as well it is a really pretty town.  Need to go back and explore it more thoroughly on foot at some point.  We finally found the route out of Ulverston that we had picked.  Can't remember what road it was but it was a great twisty biking road.  We weren't the only bikers on it so I'm guessing that must mean something.  Unfortunately, the fog really took hold and we couldn't see more than a couple of hundred yards at a time.  To make matters worse, Ian's glasses got fogged up and he could barely see where he was going.  We were  now going so slowly we were holding up traffic!  To make matters worse, we couldn't find anywhere to stop on this narrow twisty road so had to just keep going until we rejoined the main road to Whitehaven and found a layby.  So much for a scenic ride round the coast of Cumbria taking photos.

I wished I could say more about the trip and route we had picked but we couldn't see anything and were concentrating so much on seeing the road ahead that it wasn't particularly enjoyable either.  We found a MacDonalds in Whitehaven where we dried off and had a burger before heading for home.  We briefly came out of the fog between Maryport and Carlisle and stopped for a break in a layby to warm up.  We were so fed up by this time we just decided to head straight up the A76 for home.  

That decision was the best one we had made all day!  A couple of miles north of Dumfries on the A76 and the fog lifted to give us an absolutely beautiful late afternoon ride home.  And finally on a road we know well, which was absolutely deserted, we could open up the throttle on our bikes and have some fun.  We got home about 7pm so not too bad at all.

And so ends our first trip of the year.  We have loads more planned including meeting up with as many of you guys as possible at both the "Macs".  I still have another couple of days out to add to my diary so I'll do those over the next couple of days.

Thank you all for reading so far Wink
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  FatCat on Mon Apr 20 2015, 22:03

I like the way every time something went wrong I got a mention...  fuming
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  0ldcat on Mon Apr 20 2015, 22:11

Thanks for posting those diary muses. Very interesting to read someone else's journal, almost like taking the trip yourself.
FatCat wrote:I like the way every time something went wrong I got a mention...  fuming
I share your pain mate. When things go pete tong here I'm usually the scapegoat too. Rolling Eyes Crying or Very sad
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Rosco on Tue Apr 21 2015, 02:08

Great read and photos Gill.

Hope the February story caused minimal damage (you, bike and wallet) and the Scala can be made to work again without too much cost.

We based at St. Johns Town of Dalry for a Wee Mac in 2010 and did some of the roads you mentioned.

When we were there the wildlife was a bit suspect
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]P4180166 by RoscoB, on Flickr

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You may already be familiar with it but I really like the Queens Way (a712) Newton Stewart to New Galloway. It can have a bit of gravel / mud on it though but I think a fair bit of it was re-surfaced and in good nick last time I was on it.

See you at Wee Mac soon Smile

Cheers
Rosco
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Tue Apr 21 2015, 21:00

Ha Ross, I think those characters might still be hanging around that neck of the woods.  Would explain a lot Laughing

The Queen's Way is one of our regular ride out haunts so no doubt you will be hearing a diary entry (or several) about it soon.  We have a great route which is A713 to New Galloway (stop at The Smiddy for coffee & cake if its open) - A712 to Newton Stewart (stopping at Clatteringshaws Loch for coffee & cake if The Smiddy isn't open) - A714 until the Glentrool turnoff - then Glentrool to Straiton on a tiny single track road which has just been resurfaced and is amazingly quiet and fast - B7045 - A77 - Home.

In fact, that is the exact route we took on Valentine's Day morning.  Was homeward bound and just exiting the Whitletts Roundabout northbound on the A77 when I hit the oily patch and went sliding down the fast lane narrowly avoiding getting run over by some crazy dude on a Thundercat.  Tore the arm of my Dainese jacket and bruised/cracked a couple of ribs but otherwise was surprisingly intact.  Trousers, boots, helmet all fine.  My wee bike didn't fair so well.  Tore a bolt out of the bottom of the engine casing, wrecked my Scorpion end can, rear brake pedal flattened and a small crack in the bottom of the fairing.  The crash bung took the brunt of the slide so they really are great things to have.  Fortunately, the insurers paid for the engine casing to be ali welded and for everything else to be fixed.  Got the bike back at the end of March looking all shiny and new.  

All I lost was a year's no claims but my insurance renewal was still lower than last year - go figure.
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Sun May 10 2015, 00:09

Oh dear, I have some catching up to do!  Here's the next entry:

Ride Out: Sat Apr 18 2015
Participants: Me on my Fixxer & Fatcat on his Cat
Weather: Warm, sunny, virtually no clouds, low wind
Route: A77 to Stranraer then through Drummore to the Lighthouse on the very tip of the Mull of Galloway (returning the same way)

This had been the best day of the year so far weatherwise so it would have been a waste not to head out.  We tried to persuade Sorley to join us but he claimed he was ill.  I think he just doesn't want to be seen dead out with his old folks!

We headed off about 11am and the trip down to Girvan was fairly uneventful, not too busy.  We stopped in at the car park just south of Girvan for a toilet stop and discovered that the coffee hut was open.  Had to get a coffee, would have been rude not to.  There was already quite a gathering of bikes and we chatted to a guy from Largs who missed his old Thundercat (although his wife didn't lol).

Back on the road again and Ian led for a change.  Had a lovely fast run down to Drummore, very little traffic getting in our way.  As usual the tiny roads past Drummore to the lighthouse were a bit mucky and we had to slow right down but as the view is so stunning it doesn't really matter.  We had a nice lunch at the Gallie Craig Coffee House which sits right on the edge of the cliff.  We even managed to sit outside as there was very little wind and it was very mild in the sun.  The views from here are amazing, on a good day like today you can see Cumbria, the Isle of Man and Ireland.  There was even a ferry heading from Ireland to the Isle of Man to watch as we ate lunch.

We decided to swap bikes for the trip home and it took me ages to get used to the Cat but boy is the seat comfy in comparison to the Fixxer!  We made it home by 5.30pm so all in all a good trip.  I forgot to take my camera but have a couple of pictures from last year which are pretty representative of what it was like today:

The Gallie Craig Coffee House:
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The Lighthouse:
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The Isle of Man:
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Sun May 10 2015, 00:37

Ride Out: Sun Apr 26 2015
Participants: Me on my Fixxer & Fatcat on his Cat
Weather: Showery, windy, cold, a wee bit of sun
Route: Troon - Largs - Port Glasgow - Lochwinnoch - Dalry - Home

A friend of ours managed to leave his glasses at our house on Friday so it gave us a good excuse to take the bikes up Largs way as that's where he lives.  We didn't quite appreciate how windy it was going to be and the bikes were moving all over the place.  Just as well the first stretch was dual carriageway, we needed the whole road!

After dropping the glasses off in Largs (at his house, we didn't just chuck em off as we rode by!) we decided to try heading inland to see if we could get away from the busy traffic and gusty wind.  We took the small single track road that heads over the moor from Largs to Greenock, the one that goes past Loch Thom, not sure if it has a designation other than being called "The Old Largs Road"!  

I love this wee road, we overtook one car at the very start and shortly after passed two cars going the other way and that was it as far as other traffic was concerned until we got into Greenock.  I can't believe how quiet it is and how much fun as well.  It is technically single track but is easily wide enough for cars and bikes to pass each other without needing a passing place.  The surface is also pretty good although the sheep are sometimes a bit kamikaze.  Also, the view north into the mountains was absolutely awe inspiring.  The slightly damp atmosphere meant it was really clear but, yes, you guessed it - I left my camera at home again!  Just means we'll have to go back soon so I can get some photos for you.

We stopped for a quick coffee and cake at Costa in Port Glasgow and then decided to keep inland as the wind was much lighter than on the coast.  So we took the A761 to Kilmacolm, then B786 to Lochwinnoch.  As we were enjoying the twisty wee back roads we took the A760 as far as Kilbirnie, then the B780 to Dalry and then the B714 to Saltcoats where we picked up the A78 to take us back home (via Tesco in Irvine to pick up something nice for dinner) Very Happy
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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Radar on Fri May 29 2015, 13:55

Only just spotted this. Good stuff GB!

Looking forward to some updates.

If you think your tent is small...

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mc Re: Gillybaby's 2015 Rideout Diary

Post  Gillybaby on Mon Jun 01 2015, 21:39

Thanks Tony, my write-ups are not quite in your league but I hope they are entertaining nonetheless.  You've actually reminded me that I've got a wee bit behind in my online diary.  Still got the ride home from WeeMac amongst others to do.  That's my project for the week sorted Embarassed

Yup, that is indeed a small tent.  Although can't help thinking if you'd packed a smaller bbq then you may have been able to get a bigger tent  Question Laughing
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