Battle of the Boyne, Ireland

. Friday, May 28, 2010

Well where shall I start? Bonzo came up from Cardiff on Friday afternoon and we parked the bikes on the drive ready for an early start, after a nice meal and a few beers of to bed around 12ish!

We were going to leave about 6am but as we were up and ready at 4am due to the hot weather we left a little early around 5.30am to go up to Holyhead to catch our ferry.

First stop was to fill up as my light was flashing on the fuel gauge! Good start.

We pulled in at Balsall Common petrol station to fill up and then headed straight down the A452 to Stonebridge, on to the M6 where after 23 miles turned off on M54 and then onto the A5 towards Shrewsbury.

When you are around this way you have to make a slight detour down the A458 to Dinkys Diner and enjoy one of their breakfast’s (it’s the law) he he.

After our Dinkys breakfast we headed back onto the A5 through Oswestry, Llangollen and into Betws-y-coed in Snowdonia National Park. (Looks familiar?)

We continued along the A5 and stopped for a leg stretch alongside Llyn Ogwen Lake where there are some stunning views of the lake as it’s nestled between the mountain ranges of Carneddau and Glyderau.

We jump back on the bikes and head along the A5 and onto the A55 and then ride over the Britannia Bridge as we enter the isle of Anglesey. Once we arrive at Holyhead we fill up with fuel as its only 10am and the Ferry doesn’t leave till 1:50 pm, we went into the port and tried to see if we could get an earlier one, but that was the next one…..bollocks.

As we already had breakfast and Rig wasn’t with us hassling us for another we went into the ferry lounge and enjoyed a coke, ice cream and a chat with a few other bikers. It was eventually time to get on the ferry nice and we found a nice window seat and had a very smooth 3 hour crossing (Bonzos glad as last time he spent it in the toilet. lol)

We arrived at 5pm in Dublin and after a bit of a struggle to get the right road we got out of the port, we even had an Irish biker stop and sent us on the right route, very friendly these Irish.

After going through the Dublin Port Tunnel and paying our 3 euro toll we continued on the M1 and turned off onto the N51 and then left on Oldbridge Lane down to the park (not where it’s marked on the GPS web site it’s the first bridge and on the left).

We got our evidence photos done at the Battle of the Boyne and by now it’s 7pm and we have yet to find a hotel so I got out the trusted Garmin GPS and started to phone around a couple of hotels that it had listed but as it turns out Ireland has changed all their telephone codes (great!) so I thought I would use my iPhone to search the Internet for some hotels and that would not let me on-line!

We were obviously looking a little forlorn at this stage but then an Irish family come to our rescue and lent us their own phone (I love this place everyone wants to help)

We found what looked like a nice hotel in Navan called the Ardboyne Hotel that was just on the Dublin Road so I booked a us couple of rooms for the night, sorted!

We got back on the N51 and headed straight to the hotel and after 22 hot and sweaty miles we arrived only to be told by the receptionist that there was no room at the inn! It turns out they were mistaken after I explained that we had already booked and they did have 2 rooms for some strange English bikers.

We managed to get a nice large room and after having a nice shower and getting changed it was off to the bar for some slim line Guinness.

This is where it gets interesting there where a load of girls on a Hen night and the bride called Jacinta and she had all the gear on(!) with a badge which said Hen and me being a dumb git said what’s it for!! (plonker) after a laugh we got chatting to all the girls and had a good laugh.

The Hen party girls had some ‘Scratch a Dare’ game cards and one of them said they had to propose marriage to a stranger and there no one more stranger than Bonzo, one of the girls said she was already engaged and if it does not work out she will come looking for him.

After quite a few drinks the girls were off to a night club and asked if we wanted to go with them but as we had a early start we had to decline…..bugger would have been a good night…. Bonzo said we should have been here for the week…. he he.

We had a bar snack and more beer and then we toddled off to bed at what time I don’t know too much slim line Guinness!

I woke up at 2:30am (nutcase) and was dressed with bags packed by 4am and give Bonzo a ring and it turned out he was also awake (another sad git, he he) so down to the hotel reception to pay the bill for the room and the bar bill (who drunk all that - it must be him?????) and the bar is still full of people still drinking (lucky buggers)

We left the hotel about 5:30am and headed along the nice and very quiet Dublin road into Dublin (we are the only prats up on a Sunday morning!) and it was still warm and misty.

We arrived at the port very early (you would have thought we would have learnt) and wander in the ferry lounge.

The ferry left Dublin at 8:10am and we arrived back in Holyhead at 11.45am completing another smooth crossing, Bonzo’s was very glad.

We set off from Holyhead and back along the same road (A50 & A5) back home. We stopped for a rest and drink just before Betws-y-Coed and fill up with fuel and head home.

Me and Bonzo split up at Oswestry and he took the A483 down the middle of Wales to Builth Wells and across to Llantrisant and home to Cardiff and I have fast run along the M54 to M6 and home in time for tea.


Ferry crossing: £40 return each (Cheap or what?)
Hotel: 85 Euros (should have been 100 per night but we did not have breakfast)
Fuel: £64.07 (just mine)
Food and beer??? Who knows, could be into the thousands

Miles Covered:
Me: 436 miles
Bonzo: 598 miles


Loads of pictures can be found here.

1st Battlefields Ride

. Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Last year’s Grim Riders MCC challenge was to visit as many of the 15 UK National Parks as possible within the year which is something we managed to do with Bob and Bonzo even visiting a few of them more than once.

This years Grim Riders MCC challenge is called the Battlefields Ride and involves visiting as many of the 15 (plus 1 optional battlefield in Ireland) UK battlefields that are listed, I’ve created a little Google Map where you can see the location of the Battlefields including the ones we have visited (GREEN) and the ones we are yet to visit (BLUE)

Today marked to start of this years challenge rides for us even though technically the challenge started on the 1st of January, we had decided to attempt to visit 3 battlefield sites in one day starting at Bosworth in Leicestershire then heading north to Winceby in Lincolnshire before finally head south to Naseby in Northamptonshire.

As with all our bike rides the most important detail is where were we going to have breakfast? we were very fortunate that Bosworth Battlefield has a great cafe and serve a fantastic breakfast so after getting our challenge photos at the sign for Bosworth we headed inside cafe for our breakfast.

After breakfast our next Battlefield was Winceby so we headed north east along the fantastic A6006 through Melton Mowbrey and onto the B676/A151 to Bourne where we then took the A15 past Sleaford and then the A513 to Horncastle where it was just a 5 mile jump to the site of the Battle of Winceby

Unfortunately there's no cafe to welcome you here just an information sign the battle in a lay-by so we got our photos taken in the freezing cold and quickly jumped back onto our bikes and headed south.

Due to the weather getting much colder we decided that we would rather use the main roads to get to Naseby so with Sat Nav's reset we blitzed down the A16 past Boston, Spalding and Stamford and then picked the A43 around Corby and Kettering until we eventually found the correct site of the Battle of Naseby. Unfortunately the monument is situated at the top of a field so we had to make do with photos of our bikes from the road with the monument in the distance.

By now it was VERY cold so we jumped onto the A14 and M6 and headed home as fast as we could. It was a great day out, we covered over 250 miles but it was blooming cold

More pictures can be found here.

1st ride of 2010

. Monday, May 10, 2010

To be honest this really wasn't our 1st ride of 2010, we have spent many days, hours and miles over the extended winter it’s just that we have not really gone or done anything interesting (and this is??) but this was the 1st time that we had all managed to get together as a group (and we even let Bonzo come up from Cardiff)

For me personally the day started at 9:00am sitting outside Huggy's Speedshop in Atherstone as Flo was booked in for her MOT test which she flew through and then it was a quick run over to Bob’s to meet up with Bob, Chinny and Bonzo for a cup of tea before making the epic 15 mile journey to the Touchdown Cafe at Welsbourne for one of their impressive breakfasts.

After munching our breakfast we decided to head south into the Cotswolds and ended up at our usual tea and cake stop in Bourton-on-the-Water where it like the mad hatter tea party and in case your wondering, Bonzo was Alice!

Pictures can be found here.