Friday, June 11, 2010

Pyrenees Tour

Helen and I have just returned from a 2 week tour through France and the Pyrenees and back. We set out on Friday 4th June and returned on Saturday 19th June. We have covered around 2,500 miles in total and climbed to over 2115m in height. We have also been on some very twisty and well surfaced empty roads and also some rather less well surfaced roads. Below is a brief write up of our whole tour.


Friday 4th June – Home to Cirencester

We headed out on our bike tour after work on Friday. We decided that we would travel down to Cirencester avoiding all motorways. We went down through the centre of the country, through Buxton and then down through Ashbourne on the A515. We had a brief hold up in Ashbourne, but apart from that we really didn’t have any traffic problems.


We arrived at the Travelodge in Cirencester and checked in, then proceeded straight out for something to eat in Circencester. We had a Thai meal in the Wagon & Horses, great food and a nice little place.


Sat 5th June – Cirencester to Nantes

We proceeded straight to Poole in the morning as we were having Sat Nav problems. My Pocket PC was charging, but was using up more power than was being put in. We had decided to go to Maplins to get another charger for it. We stopped for a brief time at McDonalds to have a McFlurry, while Helen was off getting said McFlurry I removed the battery to see if the connection was dodgy. This was a very bad move as the Pocket PC reverted back to factory settings and I then had no way of accessing the TomTom software. So we decided to get another Sat Nav from PC World and purchased a TomTom Go Live 750. I had to get a TomTom that would connect to a PC, as all my routes were in TomTom ITN files.


Waiting for the ferry We arrived at the port a little late after slow service at PC World and getting stuck at the lift up bridge. For some reason we managed to draw the short straw again and got our luggage and persons searched again, as we did last year.  The ferry was an hour late but we weren’t waiting for long before we boarded it. They put all the bikes on 1 side of the ferry and ratcheted them down on the sidestands. We used the Condor Fast Ferry that runs to St. Malo via Guernsey in around 4.5 hours.


Waiting for the ferry After arriving in France we headed out of St. Malo and onto the motorway network. This was a very quiet journey, but before we got to the hotel it started to get very dark and we were getting hit by millions of flies.  I couldn’t see anything behind me as Helen’s light were far too bright (all the French motorists thought so to).  Just before we got to the hotel it tried to rain a few times, which with the fly splats resulted in us being unable to see anything at all and Helen had to stop on the hard shoulder to clear visor as was down to zero visibility. Thankfully at this point we were only 4Km from the hotel and arrived just in time before the heavens opened with a terrific thunderstorm.


Sun 6th June – Nantes to Bordeaux

La Rochelle McDonalds Up and out early today, everywhere was strangely and eerily quiet (I don’t think the French get up to much on Sundays). Got around Nantes on the motorway without any fuss and hardly any traffic, then we left the motorway and joined some very quiet French countryside roads. We passed by La Roche-sur-Yon on our way down the coast to La Rochelle. We stopped just on the outskirts of La Rochelle at a deserted retail park and got a much needed chilled Diet Coke from McDonalds.




Les Monards We left La Rochelle and soon passed through Rochefort and then on to some really nice back roads past canals and fields, with a few vineyards thrown in for good measure.

We then stopped at a beautiful and quiet little inlet in les Monards to have lunch and a break.

As we got nearer to Bordeaux we went over some very high bridges again, but unlike last time Helen wasn’t fazed by the heights. 


Bordeaux Ibis carpark We arrived in good time in Bordeaux and found our Ibis Hotel for the night on a quiet industrial estate. We quickly unpacked and then went and visited Castle Blanquefort, which was close by. While we were getting ready for the evening we noticed a group of Irish bikers turn up, 2 x BMW 1200RT and 2 x Honda Goldwings (1 of which also had a trailer). They where off to Portugal in the hope of finding some seriously hot sunny weather. Later that evening we ate, as last year, at the attached Courtepaille Grill and had a much needed bottle of wine. French steak cooked a point is excellent!


 Castle Blanquefort




















Mon 7th June – Bordeaux to Gite in Ayros-Arbouix

French countryside Waved goodbye to the Irish bikers as they headed off, then saddled up and set off ourselves. Went around Bordeaux on the motorway and didn’t really get held up anywhere. We soon got off the motorway and headed out onto nice countryside roads again. These roads were very straight and tree lined, but we didn’t care as anything is better than a motorway. We soon stopped in Villandraut for some fuel and to visit the Chateau.

Villandraut CastleAfter the brief stop we continued on similar roads for a while, before joining the D932 at Captieux. We stopped in Captieux briefly to get a baguette, then continued on down the D932. This road was a little bit more busy and so some overtaking needed to be done. We bypassed Roquefort and joined the equally busy D934, which we followed all the way to Aire-sur-l’Arbour. From there we joined nice clear back roads again, cutting through lovely scenic French countryside and quiet almost deserted villages. We stopped along the way at Garderes for some lunch at a deserted church hall.

Col de Tramassel We set out again and not long after the Pyrenees started to come into sight. Most of the high peaks where poking out of the top of the low lying cloud layer. After a short while we entered the outskirts of Lourdes, but I had set the sat nav to take us on a detour around the town centre. We had soon passed by Lourdes and thanks to Google streetview we easily found the Gite. The owner heard our motorbikes arriving and greeted us at the door.

Col de Tramassel After we had unpacked it was still early so we decided to go for a quick ride up a near Col and then do some shopping. We climbed to the top of the Col de Tramassel (1616m) and to Hautacam ski station (Hautacam is also the name of our Gite). But unfortunately the top of the Col was in the cloud layer so our views were spoilt. We came back down off the Col and then went to the local Carrefour in Argeles-Gazost for some shopping. We then went back to the Gite and had some much needed food and wine.


8th June – Port de Boucharo & Luz Ardiden Ski Station

It rained heavily overnight, but we awoke to drying roads and some sun. Gorge de St SauveurThe weather forecast wasn’t great so we decided to do some local climbs in case the weather turned. We set out fairly late and headed South on the D921 towards Gavarnie. The D921 is a flat level road but weaves its way beautifully through two gorges, with the river some way below.  We stopped briefly adjacent to an EDF hydro electric plant, to take some photos of the bikes near to the river. We then continued on the D921 arriving at Gavarnie, we stopped to take some photos of the Cirque de Gavarnie. It would appear this is the point were the glacier that cut this gorge came to a grinding halt.

Cirque de Gavarnie

After this brief stop we started up the climb to the Port de Boucharo at 2208m. As we neared the top the surface became quite gravelly Roaded blocked by snowon most of the hairpin bends, so caution was taken at every one. Just 2km from the summit our progress was halted by a Unimog blocking the road as it hadn’t yet cleared a path through the snow banks on the road. We stopped here briefly to take some photos and take in the tranquil atmosphere.  As we started back down I stopped at the side of the road inches from a marmot, they are from the s

quirrel family but look more like small beavers.

Snow banks either side of road

After the descent we stopped in Gavarnie for lunch before heading back down the D921 to Luz-St-Sauveur. Here we started our 2nd climb of the day up the very twisty roads to the ski station at Luz Ardiden at 1735m. We came across several sheep on the way up, who didn’t really want to  move out of the way. We arrived at the top just as the cloud layer blew in, preventing any decent photos from being taken. We waited for about 20 minutes at the top and Luz Ardiden eventually it cleared a bit, to enable us to take some photos.  We then started back down and within 1km the clouds had cleared a lot to enable us to take some really good photos with my Nikon D200. After the descent we headed back to the Gite having only seen the odd spot of rain.

Wednesday 9th June – Tourist Visits

ChamoisDue to the forecast for today being heavy rain all day we decided to visit  some of the local tourist attractions. We awoke late, but although it rained all night it was again dry all day with the odd spot of rain here and there.

We first visited Parc Animals des Pyrenees in Brown BearArgeles-Gazost. It was set out very well on the side of a hill. All of the animals had very large enclosures compared to what you would find at some of our zoos. We were both impressed with the animals and the quality of the complex. All the animals seemed very tame as you could get within inches of most of them.

Baby Pygmy GoatWe then went over to Donjon des Aigles in Beaucens, which is set in the grounds of an old ruined castle. Here we were able to view loads of birds of prey. Again they all seemed very tame and we could get very close up to them to take some very close up photos. We were then treated to a spectacular flying display by the birds. Getting nearly taken out by huge vultures is something really needed to be seen to be believed, as was Helen’s ear being nibbled by a friendly parrot that took a liking to her and sat on her shoulder for about 5 minutes. We could really have done with taking the video camera to truly convey how good the show was.

Donjon des Aigles

We then went over to Lourdes and went up the Funiculaire du Pic du Jer. The funicular railway up to the summit of the Pic du Jer was built in 1900. The railway is 1100m in length and takes about 15 minutes to climb the 56% gradient to the top, but felt more like 15 hours with the noisy Irish group we ended up stuck with!

Thursday 10th June – Col du Soulor & Col d’Aubisque

We awoke at 8:00am to a clear and sunny blue sky, so we decided this was the day to make an attempt at the Col du Tourmalet. We headed out onto nice dry roads and soon arrived in Luz-St-Sauveur. We made the left turn onto the D918 and started the climb of Col Du Tourmalet, road closed the Tourmalet. Within a few km we hit some rain so stopped to put on the rain gear. Then we continued on up the climb but as we neared the top we were stopped in our tracks by a barrier across the road and a notice stating that the top of the Col was closed until Friday evening, due to resurfacing. We cursed as the weather look quite good at the top of the Col, so we took some lovely photos  of the bikes with a mountain backdrop, and headed back down to Luz-St-Sauveur.

Top of the Col du Soulor We decided although it was a little windy to try and go over the

Col du Soulor (1474m) & Col d’Aubisque (1709m) instead. We arrived in Argeles-Gazost and then took the D918 to start the climb of the Col du Soulor. It was a nice climb at first, however as we neared the top we came across signs for gravel. Due to the imminent arrival of the Tour de France the Col had been resurfaced. I use the word resurfaced loosely, as what they have done is put down some asphalt and then thrown down loose chippings on top. It was in effect like riding on a thin gravel driveway. We arrived at the top of the Col and stopped to take some photos, but decided due to the wind not to stop for lunch here.

Ascent of the Col du Soulor from Cavturbo on Vimeo.

 Col d’Aubisque We left and started the climb of the Col d’Aubisque. I deliberately didn’t mention to Helen this was the Col where the road was cut into the side of the mountain. It has sheer drops off one side, which are only inches from the edge of the road. What is

even more concerning is that in some places there is nothing on the edge of the road to stop you going over the edge. The first part of the Col had a lovely road surface and fantastic views, so I stopped while Helen continued (VERY slowly!) along the Col. After a while I continued on the Col and soon came across the same gravel road resurfacing again. You have no choice but to go very slowly, I had a 2 wheel skid early on the previous climb of the Col du Soulor, which I was Road cut into the side of the mountain taking it easy on. Although I had to go slow I was able to take in the stunning views from the road, which sort of made up for not being able to ride it hard. As I approached the top of the Col I noticed Helen waving in the carpark and then I also started to feel the wind. I parked up next to Helen in the carpark, but we didn’t stop for long as we had to hold on to the bikes

to stop them blowing over as

the  wind was gusting that hard.

Ascent of the Col d'Aubisque from Cavturbo on Vimeo.

We then set about the descent off the Col, it was obvious that the wind was going to be bad, but we had to get down. It didn’t help that we had to go so slow due to the gravel. I

was able with the intercoms to tell

Helen holding on to both bikes.

Helen the road was clear so she could stay away from the edge and close

to the cliff, to shield her a bit from the wind as she was completely terrified. On 1 corner near a cafe

carpark I went slowly to get a good view of the corner to help Helen and nearly got blown off my bike (see video below). Eventually we got out of the wind and the gravel went so we could enjoy a bit of the descent. We stopped at Gourette for a much needed rest and had lunch, followed by a coffee in the only cafe open.

Descent of the Col d'Aubisque to Gourette from Cavturbo on Vimeo.

Gourette We left Gourette and headed down the rest of the Col which was thankfully without any gravel or wind. We then turned left for Spain onto the D934 and started the climb of the Col du Pourtalet (1794m). This was a nice road but had a few gravelly patches thrown in for good measure. We didn’t go for the top of the Col as we stopped at Lac de Fabreges to go on the Le Petit Train Artouste. To get to the train you have to go up by a scary cable car ride, made even worse with the wind. The train itself is a little bit scary as well. It is the highest railway in Europe at 2000m and has sheer drops on 1 side, which the train actually overhangs at certain points on the route.

Lac d'Artouste @2000m After the train we headed home down the D934 towards Pau then turned right at Louvie-Juzon onto the D35 and then the D937 to Lourdes. Both of these roads had an excellent surface and lots of nice fast sweeping corners which was wonderful after the butt clenching rides earlier on! Once at Lourdes we took the D821 back to the gite at Ayros-Arbouix.

Friday 11th June – Col d’Aspin & Chateau de Mauvezin

We had a lie in this morning and woke at 10:00am as a fighter jet passed low over the gite. The weather looked reasonable and with fighter jets running the gorges, I assumed that visibility would be good on the Cols. Due to the Col du Tourmalet being closed I decided that we would take a route via Bagneres-de-Bigore to attempt the Col d’Aspin (1489m).

Col d'Aspin We set out and headed to Lourdes then turned East onto the D937 to Bagneres-de-Bigore. In Bagneres we headed South on the D935 to Ste-Marie-d-Campan. At Ste-Marie you can either go West and climb the Col du Tourmalet or East for the Col d’Aspin. We went East and started the climb of the Col d’Aspin. Thankfully the road had a perfect surface and there was very little wind. We both enjoyed the climb to the top and stopped at the summit. Just after we arrived some English bikers arrived and we chatted for a bit. While we chatted, a French biker came over to say bonjour and shake hands then invited us to  eat with them.

Ascent of the Col d'Aspin from Cavturbo on Vimeo

Col d'Aspin After some photos and a rest we made the descent down to Arreau. Again the surface was excellent, the decent was more open and we were greeted with some stunning views and hairpins. At the bottom we turned left onto the D929 towards Lannemezan. After a short while we pulled over and stopped for some lunch.

Descent of the Col d'Aspin from Cavturbo on Vimeo

After lunch we we continued up the D929 before forking off left towards Mauvezin. We stopped in Mauvezin to visit the impressive Chateau, which was unfortunately also being visited by very noisy French school children!  We left Mauvezin in the rain and took it easy on the slippery roads. We headed back towards Bagneres-de-Bigore via the D938 and then retraced our outward route back to the gite.

Saturday 12th June – Col du Tourmalet

We awoke to dry roads but overcast skies with a very low cloud layer, and then discovered pussy cat paw prints on Helen’s bike seat! Today was the 1st day that the Col du Tourmalet (2115m) was open after the recent road resurfacing. We had a look at the webcams at the Pic du Midi de Bigorre observatory, but were dismayed to see virtually no visibility at all. With weather reports suggesting thunderstorms tomorrow, we decided we would go and try to climb the Col anyway.

Col du Tourmalet We set out and went down the lovely twisty D921 to Luz-St-Sauveur. Where we made the left turn onto the D918 and the start of the climb of the Col. This time the roads were dry and we started to pass some cyclists going up the Col. We got further up the climb and passed the point that was blocked off earlier in the week, the conditions looked good so we went for the top. By now I realised that there must be some kind of cycling event on as 1000’s of then were all over the Col. I managed to get to the top of the Col without too much trouble. I stopped just over the top to wait for Helen, but due to the amount of cars and cyclists we had nowhere to stop to take any photos, plus visibility wasn’t great. Helen encountered a suicidal photographer kneeling in the middle of the road right at the top, and much shouting and cursing was heard over the intercoms!

Ascent of the Col du Tourmalet from Cavturbo on Vimeo.

Col du Tourmalet We started the descent off the Col and came across loads of cyclists coming the other way and a traffic jam of cars trying to pass them, with the odd pissed off looking biker stuck behind them. I was enjoying the descent and then we hit a complete whiteout. The cloud layer was covering everything and visibility was down to nearly zero. I followed some cyclists down, as self preservation had kicked in. At one point it got so bad that I pulled over to wait for Helen to help guide her down, as I had the advantage of a Sat Nav (Helen was by that point navigating via a fluo green lycra-clad cyclist). Eventually as we dropped down further the visibility returned and we were again able to enjoy the descent. We soon arrived in Ste-Marie-de-Campan and turned left onto the D935 towards Lannemezan. We continued on to Bagneres-de-Bigorre and stopped in a nice park for lunch.

Descent of the Col du Tourmalet from Cavturbo on Vimeo

After lunch we doubled back on ourselves and visited the Grotte de Medous. Although they have a Union Jack on all their promotional material, there is no English translation for the tour. However, Helen was able to get the general gist of what was being said on the tour. As we set off back to the gite it started to rain again. We soon got back on to dry roads and managed to get back to the gite just before the heavens opened.

Sunday 13th June – Pont d’Espagne

St Savin Abbey We awoke expecting rain

, but again the forecast was wrong and the roads were dry. We decided to stay fairly local as the sky didn’t look that good, there was also very low cloud all around us. We first visited a nice little abbey at in the quaint town of St Savin. From there we proceeded along the superb and twisty D920 which followed a gorge and the Gave de Cauterets. We then climbed up to Pont d’Espagne and negotiated loads of tight hairpins. We arrived at the top and were confronted with some automatic barriers at the entrance to the carpark. It was evident that we could easily get past the barriers without paying, so we did.  We parked

Cascades at Pont d'Espagne

up and climbed the short distance to the Pont d’Espagne and the breathtaking cascades. After taking some photos we sat down and had coffee and crepes at the nearby cafe.

We left the carpark and pushed past the barriers again and then descended back down the twisty hairpins. We then went back down the excellent D920, with it quick and tight left/right flick flaks. We then went back to the gite for lunch.

After lunch I went for a quick run up the nearby Col de Tramassel (1616m) as a last hurrah. It was a nice run up Col, at one point I had to Cascade de Lutourdodge a stubborn Bull in the middle of the road. Although it was bright and sunny at the bottom of the Col, I was presented with rain and a near whiteout at the top. So I didn’t linger and quickly descended back down into the dry weather and back to the gite.

Monday 14th June – Ayros-Arbouix to St Jean-de-Luz

We left the gite today and started our homeward bound journey. We had planned a really nice route through the Pyrenees on nice twisty roads that skipped in and out of Spain. However we awoke Chateau Bidacheto very low cloud and a fine drizzle. We set out and hoped that the weather would improve. We took my nice little detour around Lourdes and then joined the D937 and then the D35 to Louvie-Jurzon. At this point we joined the D918 which for a long part is a very twisty route through a dense forest. Unfortunately due to the weather we couldn’t really enjoy the route, we also realised that at this reduced speed it would take ages to follow are planned route. So just outside Asasp-Arros we decide to tell TomTom to take us to the hotel by the quickest route avoiding motorways. As expected these roads were a bit boring but enabled us to maintain a decent average speed. On the way we did have a minor detour in  Bidache, as we spotted a nice ruined Chateau in the distance.

St Jean-de-LuzDue to the more direct route we arrived in St Jean-de-Luz at 1:30pm, we parked the bikes in the undercover carpark and got changed and went out into the town to have a coffee and a look around. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.

Tuesday 15th June – St Jean-de-Luz to Rochefort

We awoke to wet roads and a light drizzle of rain, but we could see a nice blue sky in the direction we were heading. We set off after breakfast and got straight on the peage. After 51 miles we got off the motorway at Castets and then headed towards Mimizan. The roads by this time were dry and the sun was out. These roads were all very straight, but were lined with trees or fields. Every now and then this would be broken up with the odd small town here and there. Although the roads were boring the scenery and peacefulness of the area made the riding quite pleasant. After a while we stopped in a little town called Carcans for a much needed coffee.

Coffee stop in CarcansAfter the brief stop for refreshments we continued heading North towards Le Verdon-sur-Mer and the ferry over to Royan. The roads up to Verdon-sur-Mer were very similar to roads we had encountered earlier in the day. As we neared Verdon the roads started to show signs of recent heavy rain and as we arrived at the ferry port it started to rain heavily. We managed to find some cover and by the time we had to board the ferry the rain was just stopping so we really didn’t get wet. The ferry is a very short crossing so they didn’t strap the bikes down. so we stayed with the bikes to make sure they stayed upright.

We disembarked at Royan and headed North to our hotel in Rochefort. We arrived in Rochefort not long after and didn’t see anymore rain for the rest of the day.

Wednesday 16th June – Rochefort to Vannes

Talmont Castle We left Rochefort in heavy rain and weren’t looking forward to the day ahead. But after joining the motorway to by-pass La Rochelle we soon hit dry roads, sun and a blue sky. We left the motorway just after La Rochelle and headed for Charron. We then joined some lovely roads following along the French coastline. After a while we arrived in Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, I had programmed this stop in to visit Talmont Castle. We parked in the free carpark adjacent to the castle for the visit. The castle was ruined, which is just how we like them. After the visit to the castle we went to a nearby cafe for a coffee.

Le Port du Bec We left Talmont and headed inland for a while before turning back and heading towards the coast again. We continued along the coast and soon arrived in Beauvoir-sur-Mer. By this time we were hungry so followed some signs to Le Port du Bec. It was very windy at the sea wall were we stopped, but was a very nice place to have lunch all the same.

After lunch we continued along the French coastline. It had been very windy all day and  still hadn’t calmed down any. We had just entered some roadworks stuck behind some lorries, when the Pont de Saint-Nazaire came into view. I knew that going so slow over such a high bridge in this wind wasn’t going to be any good. Helen decided that she was happy going this slow so she overtook the lorries by diving the wrong side of the traffic cones. I stayed behind the lorries and got the full force of Castle Ranrouetthe  wind from the side. I kept the revs up high and that seemed to help me get over the bridge safely. After the bridge we soon arrived at our second castle of the day Ranrouet. This was a really nice castle set in picturesque woodland setting.

We left Ranrouet on some nice country roads before joining the motorway. We soon arrived at our hotel for the night in Vannes.

Thursday 17th June – Vannes to Roscoff

Lorient German WWII Submarine Pens We left Vannes in the dry for once, with a blue sky again but it was still very windy. We joined the motorway and took it all the way to Lorient. We stopped in Lorient to visit the German World War II submarine pens, Keroman 1, 2 and 3. The majority of the submarine pens have been converted into units, housing mainly maritime related businesses. There is also a museum and the French submarine Le Flore.

Pontivy Castle We left Lorient and headed back up the motorway, before turning North towards Pontivy. We arrived in Pontivy and parked up adjacent to the castle. We had our lunch in the carpark before taking some photos of the front of the castle. We left Pontivy and continued North on some lovely winding roads. We then joined the D15A at Sainte-Brigitte and wound our way through a very tree lined area, with small lakes, an abbey and a lovely bridge over a river.

After a brief stop to take some photos we joined the N164 and took that West to Carhaix-Plouguer. Here we joined the D769 which snaked its way beautifully North all the way up to Morlaix. This was a really nice bit of road, but took us a while to get used to after the recent lack of  corners. From Morlaix we took the Roscoff D19 and then the D75 towards Roscoff. We passed through the beautiful town of Saint-Pol-de-Leon, which had 2 churches, 1 of which Helen stated had the best tower of any church we had seen all holiday so far. After Saint-Pol-de-Leon we soon arrived at our hotel in roscoff, which was situated in a lovely little square.

Friday 18th June – Roscoff to Poole

We left Roscoff in really sunny weather with a great looking blue sky and thankfully the wind had died down as well. We headed back down to Morlaix were we turned North-East and headed on the D64 to Saint-Michel-en-Greve. Here we joined the D30 and then D31 that cut their way through some tight tree lined roads to our first visit of the day Tonquedec Castle. As we were parking up at the Tonquedec Castlecastle Helen managed to crash into me, well she lightly kissed our panniers together. Unfortunately Tonquedec Castle wasn’t open and it was also near impossible to get a decent photo of the castle, due to the very close woodlands.

We left Tonquedec and headed on the E50 to Saint-Brieuc. Here we joined the D786 towards Saint-Alban and from there continued on to our second visit of the day Fort de la Latte. This is a very nice Fort on the edge of a rocky outcrop overlooking the Gulf of St Malo. We walked down to the Fort but decided not to go in as it looked likely we would struggle walking around with all our gear on.

Fort de la Latte We left Fort de la Latte and joined a really nice piece of coast road before joining the D786 towards Matignon. We continued on the D786 and then D168 before coming to a grinding halt on the approach to St Malo. We got stuck briefly in heavy traffic as we waited to cross over the bridge between La Richards and St Malo. We arrived in St Malo and parked up near the ferry port. We then visited the walled city and had a look at a galleon and the Fort which is only accessible at low tide.

At 6:00pm we got back on the bikes and went over to the ferry terminal to check in. After a while we got checked in and through passport control. After a long wait we gathered from other passengers that we would also be stopping at Jersey due to a fire on the main big ferry. On top of the delay for this the ferry was also 1 hour late leaving St Malo. So instead of getting in at 12:30am it was near to 2:00am by the time we got to our B&B in Poole. We parked the bikes in the garage provided and dug the key out from under the flowerpot and hit the sack.

Saturday 19th June – Poole to Home

After the ferry only getting in at around 2:00am last night we inevitably had a bit of a lie in. It was around 11:30am by the time we left the B&B. We decided after last year that going on the motorway was just too depressing, so I had planned a route avoiding motorways as far as possible.

We left the B&B in Poole and headed North on the A350 towards Blandford Forum. At Blandford the new TomTom Go Live 750 that we bought at the start of the trip chose a slight diversion for us to go on. Basically it took us off the A350 and onto a minor road running parallel, then onto the B3081 into Shaftesbury and back onto the A350. Knowing the bit it missed out I believe it certainly found us a quicker route, especially as we where on motorbikes and could use the minor road better. We then continued up the A350 to Cirencester without any other detours. We stopped at the services by the Travelodge and filled up with fuel and had some cake and a drink.

We left the services and joined the A429 towards Stow-on-the-Wold. We then continued up the A429 and joined the M40 at Junction 15. We then went North on the M40 and then joined the M42 to by-pass Birmingham and Coventry. We left the M42 just before the M6 Toll and joined the A446 and then A38 to Lichfield. At Lichfield we joined the A515 to Ashbourne. We then stopped on the outskirts of Ashbourne for a late lunch. We had a long lunch and chatted to a nice chap about our bikes and how the VTEC system works.

After lunch we headed through Asbourne and then continued on the A515 to Buxton. There were a lot of poor drivers about and a bit of traffic but thankfully we were able to deal with it easily on the bikes. We arrived in Buxton and didn’t get held up really, apart from some roadworks on the A6 out of Buxton. But we managed to filter to the front so didn’t get held up for very long. We continued on the A6 to Chapel-en-le-Firth, were we go off onto the A624 to Glossop. Just before Hayfield we had to overtake a load of traffic stuck behind a 4x4 and horsebox doing about 26mph. Just before we got to Glossop we took my sneaky route through Charlesworth and Broadbottom. We then joined the M67 and headed home via the M60 and M62.

Photo Slideshow of all the photographs from our trip.

Photos on Facebook from the Nikon D200 while from our trip.


Unknown 1 July 2015 at 16:51  

We’ll make a quick stop at a viewpoint before arriving at Golden Triangle – where the three countries of Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Thailand meet. Book your Motorcycle tour in Thailand with us