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Epilogue - Home And Thoughts

Ride Date 18 September 2022

By Ren Withnell

Well it's that time folks, time to wrap up this whole sordid and sorry tale.

We are awaking about 4 miles north west of Gretna Green. That's 120 miles from my house and 140 miles from Sharon's abode. There once was a time when I would be really looking forward to getting back to the comfort and safety and familiarity of my place and it's not all that long ago either, if I delve through the archives of this here blog there's plenty of examples. However I am aware things are changing.

The tent and the motorcycles at the campsite on the morning of departure for home
It's not a bad place to wake up ain't it.

I still do look forward to my own bed and my own toilet, no matter how humble they may be. The shop is only 10 minutes walk and I know the opening times. I enjoy my TV (occasionally) and a proper computer on which to surf the net. Cupboards filled with foods I like. Friends to visit. My life at home is far from perfect but it's a life and it's my life.

In spite of these things I'm not itching to be home, not at all, I'd happily carry on. I think it'd be fascinating to explore that sticky-out bit by Stranraer then ferry hop across to Campbelltown then ride up the west coast. Oh, then I'd like to saunter up the Outer Hebrides. Then once that's done ride right down through Scotland and England and catch the ferry to France, then continue through France to The Pyrenees into Spain. While I'm in Spain it'd be rude not to have a good look around Portugal...

A spectacular scene from the Spanish Picos Mountains
Ahhh Spain, I would rather like to go there again.

Obviously I blame Sharon. If she'd have been richer I could have done these things but noooooo, nooooo, I have to WORK and earn my own money. Maybe one day I'll be discovered for the amazing interesting and talented writer wot I is and I'll get a multi million pound sponsorship deal. In the meantime it appears I shall have to return home so I can return to work. Pfffft.

With the luggage on the back of the bikes we depart our campsite. I ensure we don't stop within Gretna Green because that Blacksmith's shop scares the bejeezus outta me. We detour a little around Carlisle, taking in such villages as Longtown and Brampton before catching the M6 southbound at Penrith. We stop for a brew at Lancaster services, bidding our farewells then separating at Preston, I take the M61 and Sharon the M6. That's it, done. All that's left now is the unpacking.

Was this trip a success? Hell yeah. We achieved the 2 Google Maps starred places, the weather wasn't perfect but it was more than good enough, we've witnessed more spectacular scenery, we've relaxed, and we've been in good health. Most of all we enjoyed it and you can't ask for more than that.

Have The Highlands been ruined with tourists and traffic? No, not really. It is at present busier than I recall during my first visit back in 2005, that's not to say the whole place is packed like central London on Christmas eve though. There is space to be found and roads to be enjoyed, and the scenery is still all there as lovely as ever. I've already explained my thinking as to why it's busier, it remains to be seen if the area's present popularity continues or fades away as tourists and holidaymakers return to flyaway package holidays and a much better chance of clement weather.

I do keep coming back to these thoughts about the south western quarter of Scotland. Much as America has "flyover states" - as in everyone flies over that state on their way to somewhere popular - the bottom left corner of Scotland is a "drivethrough area" - everyone just goes through on their way to somewhere popular (The Highlands). There are a lot of most excellent roads to be ridden in this area with scenery to be admired and enjoyed.

A Maps showing the drivethrough area and unloved area of south west scotland
These are the bits of often ignored Scotland.

Beyond the drivethrough area is the oft "overlooked" area. The long peninsula ending in The Mull Of Kintyre and the various nooks and crannies east of the peninsula are filled with tiny remote hamlets, a lot of single track lanes, delightful hills and mountains, and not a lot else. You will find the odd tourist spot and holiday park, the Glaswegians view this area as their local destination but it seems unknown to we southerners, and that keeps the numbers down.

I think I'd like to "do" the west coast islands next. Unlike Rev. Mick!'s recent trip I'd like to take my time up there though. I think it'd easily be a 2 week ride and more if possible. We shall see... mysterious things are afoot at the Circle K. 

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Prologue - This Time It Is Up North Ren has made this kind of trip many times and several trips of much greater magnitude. The bikes are fine and everything is under control. Don't worry dear readers, Ren is worried about having nothing to worry about.
A Successfully Dull Day The job of the day is simply moving 2 people on 2 motorcycles around 280 miles north. Is it worth the effort?
Speed, Strontian, Showers And Silliness At last! The Dynamic Muppets finally get into The Highlands properly. There's a couple of things for Ren to moan about, particularly that Sharon is far too happy.
The Ardnamurchan Peninsula - Slowly And Quickly It's not far from Strontian to The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse... or is it? The weather ain't too bad and there's a lovely bathing belle on the beach that requires Ren's attention
Dangerous Distractions, Draughts And Dapper Drivers Not all is as perfect as one would wish for today. There's a draught or two and a lairy scary moment. All in all though things seem to be going acceptably well for The Dynamic Muppets.
The Majesty And Magnificence Of Mull By keeping his expectations in check Ren finds the small island of Mull to be a delight. Apparently it's all about the journey not the destination though.
Spendthrifts And Sumptuous Scenery Ren's wallet is quivering in fear and loathing as Sharon seeks the comfort of a real bed. Maybe the scintillating scenery will be sufficient to ease Ren's pain?
From The Sublime To The Ridiculous The day starts well with a full breakfast and good weather. The day goes well too considering the dynamic muppets are back in the throngs of civilisation. Ren's choice of accommodation isn't quite to Sharon's liking though.
Favourable Freeways And A Grotty Grotto After last night's debacle this time Sharon's choosing the overnight location, making it much more amenable. Ren decides the roads hereabout have much to offer too.
Epilogue - Home And Thoughts It's the final day of this Scottish trip. With regret Sharon and Ren must return home to their regular lives. Ren reflects on the changes in Scotland and considers his next moves.

Reader's Comments

nab301 said :-
Ren , what's wrong? I know it was back in September but you sound far to happy!
Circle k ? A popular fuel retailer in Ireland and Europe but not the UK....?
I'll sponsor you a fiver for your next euro trip, it'd be well worth it if it keeps you happy.


18/04/2023 20:30:09 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Oh no! I meant to say "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K". Please see the link below to make any sense of this comment.

A fiver you say? Tell ya what, that's more money than I've ever made from this here blog. As for being happy? NEVER! I tell you NEVER!! This trip was far too good, not enough rain, too much nice scenery, no major disasters... Bah HUMBUG!

Speaking seriously - I often wonder what people prefer to read. Some people like a nice pleasant tale of gentle countryside, pleasant overnight stops and delightful rural cafes serving strong tea and fluffy cakes. Others seem to revel in stories of remote breakdowns in the pouring rain, sleeping in ditches and eating questionable food from dubious roadside vendors.

I can only tell you each tale as I saw it. I'm afraid I might be at risk of enjoying them more, I think I'm getting old.
19/04/2023 09:18:20 UTC
Bogger said :-
There's nowt wrong with enjoying yourself.

However, I find I remember certain trips better and laugh about them, when things went wrong.

It's not funny at the time, but in hindsight you can have a giggle.

19/04/2023 20:29:22 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
I enjoyed myself once. Not all it's cracked up to be.
20/04/2023 17:42:33 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ok Ren , my secret is out , I'm obviously not a film buff, but it must be a mistake , is that really a young Keanu Reeves!!

"Speaking seriously - I often wonder what people prefer to read"

Keep going as you are Ren , real life travels as they happened , not some sort of "keep the sponsors happy " account of a faultless trip where you stayed in 5* hotels and bathed daily in asses milk!

"A fiver you say? Tell ya what, that's more money than I've ever made from this here blog"
Hold on a minute , were you not sponsored a bike jacket in recent years and you then influenced me into purchasing one ?


21/04/2023 12:04:55 UTC
Bogger said :-
I nearly mentioned the FREE jacket thing as well. But to be honest I thought it might (will) fall on deaf ears.

21/04/2023 12:51:44 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Alright, yes OK, I once got a "free" jacket to test. Tell ya what, I'm still using that jacket to this day and it's still going strong. But, right, yeah, right, OK it wasn't actual real money like.

5 star hotels and ass milk baths? Did you watch Cleopatra recently nab301 perchance? I would like the 5 star hotels but I'm not sure they'd accept a scruffy oik like me messing up their nice clean carpets. As for bathing in ass's milk - really? I wonder if Cleopatra ever did that? I mean, you'd need a bath (in water) after you bath in milk otherwise you're going to go "off" soon after. Cheesy.

As for sponsors. You've all seen my little line at the bottom of the pages, either asking for content or asking for advertisers/sponsors. When I started this blog it was going to be the next big thing, it was going to make me rich! Now, well now it's almost a running joke. I get random spam offerings from foreign manufacturers offering their cheap products for me to sell, as long as I order 5,000 items at a time. I get spam offering promising to place me at the top of Google's rankings for a "fee".

Oh well, I'm afraid it'll be the delightful contributions from you good folks and mostly me getting wet in a tent somewhere or bodging the bike trying to save £10. That suits me.

22/04/2023 09:30:45 UTC

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