Scotland 2014: Day 1, 29th August 2014
Billericay - Edinburgh (384 miles approx.)
Petrol Stops: 3
Time: 9.5 hours approx. (with stops)
So far so good! It is the first official day of our Scotland trip and I have managed to get online to write up as we go along. Excellent...
We left Billericay around 9.30am and first stopped at the petrol garage in Shenfield as I had no idea how much fuel was left in my bike (something to do with unplugging the battery and resetting the trip-o-meter several times during the week) and Emma knew she hadn't filled up sometime around leaving Houghton Regis the week before. Aiming for about 140 miles for a fuel stop, Emma next planned to stop somewhere around Newark on the A46.
So we carried on, through Brentwood town centre until we could get onto the motorways. Traffic was pretty standard from the M25 to the M11 until we started edging towards Cambridge. We ended up stuck at around 50mph on the A14 right through until it merged onto the A1 (where it then opens up to 4 lanes). From here it was pretty straight forward to our next petrol stop, a shell garage on the A1/A46 at Newark, arriving just before 12.30. We decided this would be a good time to grab some sandwiches for lunch later and then set off.
As we approached the Doncaster section of the A1 we hit standstill traffic between junctions 34 and 37. Forced to filter, we eventually noticed there had been a collision between two cars. Although these had been moved to the hard shoulder drivers were of course slowing down to see what had happened - which causes the major delays.
For those of you who have bluetooth or other headsets, you'll notice that your microphone tends to have a foam cover over it. You may not think it does very much in blocking unwanted noise, but prior to all the heavy filtering Emma managed to somehow dislodge hers from the microphone. The sound I was getting through my headset sounded as though she was standing on top of an erupting volcano. It was so painful that I had to turn the headset off (which in turn meant I couldn't hear my sat nav). When we were filtering and travelling at much slower speeds I turned it back on to see if I could hear her, which I could. I found out that the foam part was bouncing around inside her lid somewhere so we arranged to stop at the next services to sort this out and have lunch.
When we got back onto the A1 (which has its fair share of adult shops....) we had quite a mix of weather conditions. Near Wetherby we had drizzle up until we hit the A68 to head through the Pennines and Northumberland National Park. What a great road! The weather dispersed, and we had blue skies and fantastic views. Although bumpy in places the road was enjoyable, lovely sweeping bends and so many bikes heading in the other direction - so clearly a popular road. We stopped at a Tesco Extra for petrol, which was the only time I was able to get a picture of some of the view, but really it's nothing compared to what we saw riding. The funny thing is the moment we crossed the border (sorry Dad, the bagpipe guy wasn't there as we passed at 5.20pm) it rained! We knew it was coming as we checked the forecast before leaving, but it lasted all the way to the guest house.
Guest house is a small little bungalow type thing off Old Dakleith Road. Its our first night here (Emma has already gone to bed) and its pretty decent. Clean, big bed, ensuite, large TV on the wall. I forgot to take pictures of it and the room but will do tomorrow :).