Pembrokeshire National Park

. Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bob, Bonzo and Chinny had already managed to bag Pembrokeshire National Park but due to work commitments I was unable to go along with them at the time, fortunately this weekend I happened to have a rare Saturday free and although Bob and Chinny were unable to come along Bonzo agreed to meet up for the ride out west.

I arranged to meet up with Bonzo at a cafe on the A40 near Monmouth called The Highway Star where after a much needed full English breakfast we jumped onto our bikes and headed down the B4521 into Abergavenny.

Once through Abergavenny we headed west along the caravan filled A40 through Brecon and after topping up with petrol stopped at the West End Cafe in Llandovery where we had arranged to meet up with Ray for a quick chat and a coffee.

After our coffee break we said good-bye to Ray and headed up along the fantastic A482 to Lampeter where we turned off down the A475 through Newcastle Emlyn and then along the B4332 until we eventually arrived at today destination, the Pembrokeshire National Park visitors centre

Once I had my evidence photo for the British National Parks Challenge we decided to head back a slightly different way, so we headed north along the A487 coast road and into Aberystwyth and then took one of my all time favorite roads, the A44/A470 to Newtown.

Unfortunately while heading along the A44, just west of Llangurig we came across a queue of traffic a couple of miles long and when we got to the front of it we joined a large group of other bikers who were waiting for the road to be opened. It turns out that a Yamaha R6 rider had collided with a car on one of the bends and the Police, Recovery and Council were just finishing off recovering the bike and fixing to road. According to one of the Police officers although the rider of the R6 had been taken to hospital he wasn't badly hurt, all of our best wishes go out to him.

Once at Newtown I waved good-bye to Bonzo who headed south along the outstanding A483 and back to Cardiff while I carried on through Welshpool, Shrewsbury and Telford until I got home.

Another British National Park done and while Bob and Bonzo have already managed to visit all 15 parks throughout the UK and received their Gold Awards I'm still 2 short, so I'm hoping to get up to Scotland over the next month or 2.

A few more pictures can be found here

Scottish National Parks

. Friday, July 24, 2009

Where shall I start?, well there were supposed to be four of us to go on this trip up to Scotland as a finale to completing the British National Parks Challenge but unfortunately Chinny dropped out because he couldn’t get the time off from work... Bugger!

At the very last minute Rig could not go due to someone being ill in his office and he could not leave them without IT cover! Double Bugger!

So we are down to two, just myself and Bonzo.

We were planning on leaving on Monday morning but now there were only two of us so I rang Bonzo we decided to go on the Sunday so he came up from Cardiff on Saturday afternoon ready for an early morning start.

Sunday morning 6.40am and we leave and head towards Coleshill and jump on the M6 through spaghetti junction and head north, the roads were a bit boring but quite quiet and a quick way to Scotland. After the first 100 miles we stop for breakfast at a robbery station (Motorway Services) and paid £17.50 for two breakfasts! (robbing barstewards) but once our bellies were full we set off again along the M6 and eventually turned off onto the A75 towards Dumfries.

We eventually stop to fill up with petrol just before Dumfries and then take the A76 towards Kilmarnock where we next jumped on to the M77 to Glasgow and then turned off at junction 3 to Paisley.

We went through Paisley and onto the M8 across the river Clyde onto the A82 where we then turned off to Balloch to get the first of the two National Parks done.

We found the Visitor centre at Loch Lomond and drive on the path get our evidence photos done once that was sorted we decided to park the bikes on the road and nip into the local cafe for a diet coke break.

After an hour’s rest we set off again on the A82 towards Fort William but just before we stop at Ballachulish and the Loch Leven Hotel, I luckily managed to park right by the door and booked in for the night.

We had a quick shower, got changed and went down to the bar to have a few pints of Guinness, a bar meal followed by more beer and then off to bed. (By the way the Loch Leven Hotel is a great hotel and bar if you’re up here looking for somewhere to stop I would recommend checking the place out)

The following morning with a full Scottish breakfast in our bellies we set off along the A84 and turn off along a small road to see Ben/Glen Nevis but found that after a few miles we had to turn around as the road was a dead end! We had to come all the way back into Fort William before taking the A82 alongside the Loch Lochy and Loch Ness but we didn’t see Nessie, must have been asleep. (More likely Nessie saw Bonzo and did a runner – Rig)

We finally stopped for another diet coke momment at a road side shop called The Seven Heads Store and being the nosy bugger that I am I asked why the shop had such an interesting name, as it turns out the place had quite a story about it as it was named after the nearby monument known as The Well of the Seven and commemorates a very ghastly story.

The inscription on the front of the monument read:

Which in the swift course of feudal justice inflicted by the orders of Lord MacDonnel and across overtook to perpetrators of the foul murder of the Keppoch family?

A branch of the powerful and illustrious clan of which his lordship was the chief.
This monument is erected by Colonel MacDonnel of Glengarry XV11 Mac-Mhic-Alaister his successor and reprehensive in the year of our lord 1812.

The heads of the seven murders were presented at the feet of the noble chief in Glengarry castle after been washed in this spring and ever since that event which took place early in the 16th century it has been know by the name of Well of the Seven Heads.

Later on that day, after a few sharp showers Bonzo, who had being riding in leather jacket decided that he would like a waterproof jacket so into Inverness we went looking for a bike shop, we went along an industrial estate saw a butty wagon (Bonzo can sniff out a fryed pork from 100 yards) and asked the guy behind the counter if he knew of one luckily he did and pointed out where the local bike shop called Mitchells Motorcycles on my GPS. So 30 minutes later and Bonzo was £110 lighter but he’s got a new waterproof jacket (Mrs Bonzo will kill him) he he..

So back into Inverness and onto the A9 and across the Kessock Bridge keeping on the A9 coastal road towards Wick and then took the A99 towards John o' Groats.

We arrived in John o' Groats about 5 ish but unfortunately there’s not much there so we took a few photos and had a drink and a cake in the cafe (more diet coke). They take the distance signpost down unless you pay so we decided to go to along the single track road out of John o' Groats to the lighthouse at Duncansby Head as that’s the real north eastern tip of the Scottish mainland beating John O’ Groats by a good mile, plus the view over the high cliffs are outstanding.

We then headed back to Wick to find a nice hotel where we found a great hotel called Mackays Hotel so we got booked in, found my tiny cupboard room, showered (Yes even Bonzo) and found the bar and preceded to sample some of the local food and beer.

While we were staying at the Mackays Hotel we found out that the street next to the hotel is in the Guinness World Records for having the shortest street in the world at only 6ft 9in long.

We got up next morning and after hearty breakfast we headed off along the A9 to Inverness and then out towards our 2nd National Park at Nethy Bridge where we got to take some more evidence photos, drank more diet coke and much needed toilet break.

While playing with the Sat Nav looking for something interesting I found an appealing sounding place called “Waltzing Waters” that was only about 25 miles away, thinking it sounded a nice water fall we headed out to it only to find out it was a new industrial unit with lots of water and flashing lights for the kids...What a pair of prats….lol.

We did meet up with another biker in the hotel in Wick, a American chap from London travelling around Scotland, he came up across the mountains said it was a good road apart from getting a soaking. So we set off back along the A9 towards Inverness, turn off on A95 to Ballindalloch and turn down the B9008 then onto the B9136 then onto the A939 across the Cairngorms Park, what a fantastic bunch of roads. We keep going and find ourselves low on fuel (it’s further than we thought) thank god for Sat Nav it said it was only six miles to the nearest garage. So we then keep going along the A939 peering into the distance in the hope of spotting the garage before we run dry.

When we get there its two old pumps on one side of the road, looked like something from 1940’s (Bonzo should know) and small stores across the road, we thought it was derelict till the lady came out the shop!

Now filled up with fuel and raring to go we kept on the A93 towards Perth. We cut around Perth and onto the M90 turned off at junction 6 to Kinross and found another hotel via the Sat Nav called The Green. The hotel turned out to be a very nice hotel costing £62 per night with breakfast, large rooms, good food and service (!). After showering, more beer and food it was time for bed. (Isn’t it funny how you are still hungry in the mornings? He He)

After breakfast we started to load our bikes up with luggage and it just was starting to rain! Great...We then jumped back on the A90 towards Edinburgh, around the ring road turn down the A68 to Newcastle, down the A1 to Leeds, jumped on the M1 and M42 to Coleshill and called in the Wheel House Tyres where Bonzo had two new tyres fitted as he had worn his out!

We left about 4 ish and got to my house by 4.30 pm. Bonzo had a bit of a rest then decided to head home in case it started raining, he only had another two hours, 120 miles to Cardiff.


1st Day - Loch Leven Hotel £ 55.00 - (416 miles)

2nd Day - Mackays Hotel £ 76.00 - (239 miles)

3rd Day - The Green £ 62.50 - (344 miles)

4th Day – 356 miles

Total miles: 1,364

Petrol: £112.94

Loads more pictures can be found here

Breakfast at Wellesbourne

. Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday morning and after a few cups of tea at Bob's house we decided to head out for a breakfast at one of our favorite places, the Touchdown Cafe at Wellesbourne Airfield.

Once we had fueled up our bikes, Myself, Bob and Chinny made to 20 mile rider over to Wellesbourne Airfield where we found the car park was full of other bikers with the same idea!

Once we found somewhere to park and had ordered our food we sat back and did what most male bikers like to do, talked rubbish (and I played with Twitter) until our food arrived and then is was strangely silent as we devoured our full English.

Afterwards we spilt up as Chinny had other things to attend to so myself and Bob headed towards Coleshill and into Wheel House Tyres as Bob had decided to had the wheels on his Blackbird powder coated.

Wheel House Tyres not only do powder coating to loose wheels but also offer the additional service of allowing you to just ride in on your bike, they remove the wheels and tyres, powder coat them and then re-fit the wheels and tyres to your bike and you return 7 days or so later and ride out on your bike complete with new shiny wheels.

We will be sure to update you when Bob collects his Blackbird with his new pink wheels but in the mean time loads more pictures can be found here

We're still here!

. Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I've had a couple of emails from people asking if RigsVille is still up and running due to the lack of blog posts and the answer is YES

Unfortunately due to a lack of time dealing with a new job and also recently moving house I haven't had time to write-up many of this years trips and for this I can only apologise and say that I hope to get round to updating the website and blog more frequently.

While the blog hasn't been updated very often we have been out on our bikes and have spent lots of time, burned loads of petrol and travelled many miles taking part in the British National Parks Challenge and all of the National Parks that we have visited are on RigsVille.

Next week will see us heading north and into Scotland for 5 days and as part of this trip I will be experimenting with live GPS tracking, so if you want to know where we are during our trip you will be able to visit a website (details to follow) and see where we are in real-time.

I will also be trying to 'tweet' about the trip as often as I can via our twitter page so you will have the option to see us on GPS and twitter (Sad bunch aren't we?)

Many thanks to both Grim Rider and everyone over at the Iron Butt UK forum for their help and advice of the year.