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Old 06-10-2013, 02:26 PM   #31
kuhjunge OP
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Wicked how to find vegan places?

yep - we use whenever we plan to go to a new place. The website is an excellent source to find vegan restaurants as well as stores which have vegan stuff and fully vegan shops. Those are great, no need to read the small print anymore ... especially helpful for people like me who already need reading classes
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:09 AM   #32
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London calling

Before leaving France, we needed to get the required for girls against tapeworm so that we could enter UK. After a quick search, we found an english-speaking vet nearby and got at the same day the vaccination, required stamps and signatures. After waiting the required 24h, we were good to go and booked us a ferry for the following day. The online booking system does not allow pets in a sidecar, however if you call, they still do the booking (they know about this issue and we do not seemed to be the first with this problem).

Interesting way to fix a bike

The paper formalities were no problem at all neither at the check-in in France nor customs in England. London welcomed us with small occassional showers. Finding a (low-budget) flat (we wanted with own kitchen) proofed rather complicated. First we needed to send an inquiry by email (together with paying for the accommodation in full in advance) and then wait for the answer from the landlord or the rental agent. We got refused by several places due to our dogs. In the end, what you get might be quite different from what you wanted and this process also takes a long time and requires internet and thus it felt like a bit of hassling. Our so called studio  was located in Harlesden. It was so tiny, that we could barely move in there and so we decided to take the dogs with on our sightseeing through the city

Parking was only for residents or max. 4h by paying, so we took initiative

We found a good parking spot for our bikes - nobody cared about them except for one person ...

Images from the neighbourhood

London seems to have a trash problem

I wonder in which neighborhood we were ... anyway nothing happened to the bikes

One thing seemed for sure, if you want to get attention in London - take Ulpu with, especially when she has her cute outfit on Just to test the British humour, I started to ask people for 1GBP if they wanted to take a picture of Ulpu. Wow, some people were even willing to pay, of course I did not take any money. The fun was enough for me.

We walked around some of the usual sightseeing places, did some small shopping at Lush (they have vegan cosmetics) and went to explore Whole Foods market, where we had lunch. We walked towards Hyde park and saw by chance the premier of Sandra Bullock's and Melissa McCarthy's new movie "The heat" - unfortunately I missed Sandra by a few minutes :( - pity, would have been cool to see one of my favourite actors live.

Premiere of the movie "The Heat"

And Skippy said: " Oh, the Big Ben is not big at all"

St. James Park - walking the dogs

Suddenly I felt an itch at my arms and head and I thought "oh no, I must have eaten something where I am allergic too (no idea what they would be)". I told Skippy and since it got so bad, we went to pharmacy to get some medicine. After a while it did the job, and since everybody was tired, we decided to call it a first day and go back to our dungeon.

Tired Ulpu and Skippy after a long day in London downtown

What a discrimination!!!

Cool bench in a park nearby our dungeon.

More playing in another park

It was time to plan the next legs, so Skippy used her "Pinky-finger" method :)

We also visited Vx - Headquarters of the "Secret vegan society" - a well assorted shop, where we got some snacks. 

At the last evening we went to the movies to Lexi to see "Behind The Candelabra" with Michael Douglas. It was our first movie since we left Finland! Lexi proofed to be a cute cinema, where "100% of The Lexi’s profits go towards improving the quality of life for the people of Lynedoch Village in Stellenbosch, South Africa".  

Skippy found the movie excellent, it was well acted, well written and great music. I found the make-up amazing.

Next morning we were off towards Scotland.
~ Wolfi

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Old 06-21-2013, 04:27 PM   #33
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what happens to the dogs entering and leaving different countries ?

my dog had to do 4 months quarantine leaving africa upon entering new zealand ...
"when in doubt..full throttle"
"part machine part troll"
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:06 PM   #34
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traveling with dogs

e.g. here you find instructions how to travel with dogs into the UK/Ireland.

This here is another useful page.

As wrote earlier, Rabies is the (as far as we know) the critical element.

There are three categories:
- Rabies Free Countries
- Third Countries
- High Incidence of Rabies Countries

Anyway, our dogs have gotten the Rabies vaccination in regular schedule and it is certified in their passport. The blood test was taken, and the result (that they have the antidote) is certified by some officials in Finland, signed and stamped in their passport.

That should prevent the need for quarantine in basically ay country. Having said this, there was this clause: "There are several countries where quarantine is unavoidable unless you are entering from a RABIES FREE COUNTRY."

So, we will see what happens ...
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Old 06-30-2013, 02:00 PM   #35
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Towards Scotland

We left London with high hopes for the better. We were happy to get out of our dungeon and this city life which was (and is) really not for us. Direction straight north, on to the A1. After we got out of the suburban area, we went back to smaller roads and made it to Cambridge for lunch to the only open vegan restaurant (Cam Yoga). On a positive note, we realized that motorbikes - even those with a sidecar - do not need to pay toll in tunnels and bridges. Convenient :)

The average speed on smaller roads was ridiculous due to roundabouts every few kilometers if there are even kilometers between them. Brits really seem to love roundabouts!!! Yet, we did not give up and continued to Peterborough, where we had already booked a motel for the night. We went to the local supermarket to get some food and we were truly surprised about the vegan options as well as generally their healthier food selection! :)

Riding on the left side of the road with a solo bike is not difficult at all. We had this experience already when we visited Australia and New Zealand a few years back. The only new thing here was the usage of mph instead of kmh - not so big deal. We went with the feeling of speed and it will be fine. Riding a sidecar on the left side is new to me and especially the fact that the sidecar is mounted on the right side. Since people in the UK seem to "protect" their street with all sorts of bushes and walls just beside the street, the visibility in left curves is close to zero, which makes it a little more exciting riding with 50mph into such one in the hope there is nothing blocking the way ;)

Another observation which amazed is that so many traffic signs are hidden behind bushes, branches of trees etc. This causes sudden changes in directions or stops where I need to consult my GPS. Also the weather in UK has not disappointed us. We've had plenty of cloudy, rainy, windy days with short sunny moments.

We did not book a budget accommodation for the next night so we decided to go camping - what could possible go wrong there? Next morning, we packed our stuff and hit again to smaller roads. This time we were more lucky and found curvy stretches of up to 12km without any circle! We rode over the bridge to Barton upon Humber and continued around many circles towards North York Moors National Park. We did check two campsites beforehand in the internet and both seemed fine.

We went to first one, it looked all promising and when we came to reception they said they are closed for renovation. What the F***! And nothing about this in their webpage. OK - we knew there is another coming a few miles later and it was the same place this guy recommended to us. So, we thought what the heck - a few km more are not so bad, I had no idea what time it was, but there was still plenty of light. We rode to this other place and wanted to check in for several nights. When they asked how many dogs I have, I answered three and then they said, that they cannot take us. They have a strict limit of two dogs/tent, so we cannot camp here. After telling them that we did ride whole day, Skippy had started to get a flu and one of the dogs is the size of a mouse. They would have allow us in, if we are not showing all three dogs at once - max two. If the park owner sees three dogs, we will be asked to leave! What the heck is going on here? By now, it was getting late and we got desperate. They gave us a hint, where we might be able to camp. First, we tried the two motels in the village - both fully booked. We went to this nice lady who works (or owns) the local pub and she was really understanding. Since she owned a field which was currently not used, she allowed us to pitch our tent there. We went to her farm house to fetch some water and so we stayed one night in the fence together with two (other black) sheep

First wild camping ( a bit unvoluntaryly though)

The view from our camp site was nice, and enough space to walk the dogs :)

Lucky us, the village had some public toilets, so we could refresh ourselves a little next morning, have breakfast on the parking lot and get going towards north.

Hertta found a new position to enjoy the ride and the breaks.

... and then we found this almost perfect break/camp site

View in North York Moors National Park

This was a lesson. For our next stop, I consulted my GPS map for some camp sites and called them beforehand to figure out whether they are open and allow three dogs. The plan of calling beforehand did not really work out. Two places which were nearby Holy Island did not answer and the call was diverted to an answering machine. One place answered and they allowed three dogs, however they were a little too close for a day's ride as we wanted to ride a bit more this day. The phone line of the other candidate place was always busy (good sign - many customers?). Anyway, we gave it a shot and we were lucky. They were open and had no problem with three dogs since they were so small. Now we had a place to stay a few nights to get Skippy in better fit for Scotland.

Rules in the UK ...

The story goes like this. We had two neighbors at the camping site, one friendly old gentleman who likes to take pictures of wildlife seabirds and then there was a mother/parent with two daughters who enjoyed playing outside. We came to talk to the gentleman right away and he was impressed by what we do and asked whether he can take some pics of my bike. I said sure and then later that afternoon he came with his tripod and old fashioned film camera to take a few shots. Some hours later the police came and we could first not understand why the police was here and what they talked to both of our neighbors (innocently as we are with a Finnish mindset). When the police was gone, I asked the old fellow what was that all about and he told, that the mother/parent accused him of taking (secret) pictures (remember with a tripod!!!) of her daughters. He was then asked to hand over the film to the police for destruction and he needed to leave the camping place INSTANTLY!!! Well, it seems that the other ones needed to leave too. Hey, come on you Brits - a little bit more relaxing would do you well! The good thing was that now we had one whole side of the tent area for us, and we used it to play with our dogs (which was also forbidden!!!).

Testing our new tarp

Skippy making salad dressing with on board electricity

Almost alone in the entire tent area

Testing local beer - quite good, a bit expensive though

Hyvää Juhannusta!

Walking the dogs in the neighbourhood

In order to get to the public footpaths, I needed to climb over the fences. Typically those had some kind of steps for that. At least some were not made for dogs ... click here Lyra finding her way

Lyra and Ulpu - always wanting to be above ground :)

Weekend came and camping site got busy ...

We relaxed a few nights there and then we continued our ride - next via point was Holy Island. The interesting aspect of the island is that it is cut off from the mainland in high tides. If you want to go there, you need to be aware of the tide time tables. We did a small walk around the village, Skippy was still not doing too great and so we moved on towards Falkirk...

Castle at Holy Island

and who cleans the poop of the sheep?

The rescue tower for those who test their luck with the tides

Somewhere on the way to Scotland

Jipiii - we made it

∼ Wolfi

kuhjunge screwed with this post 06-30-2013 at 02:46 PM Reason: bad link for video
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:53 AM   #36
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Location: The Great White North, eh?
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Great story so far!
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:31 AM   #37
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Eh? Scotland: Falkirk/Edinburgh - Inverness - Thurso

After a nice ride through the Scottish countryside (mostly B6355) and with moody weather we arrived to Falkirk on 22nd of June. We tried to find a budget accommodation in Edinburgh beforehand, however without success. The closest which fitted our limits was the Metro Inns in Falkirk. It was an old Formule 1 motel which is a familiar chain to us from Paris. Very basic with shared facilities, but works fine for us and the doggies :)

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Girls were totally tired!

Our view from the motel room towards our neighbour, who had a very interesting storage place for their stuff. Obviously the socks were extremely stinky because they were the only thing staying out all the time!

Next day we had a normal tourist day in Edinburgh visiting some of the usual sights. The rather cool looking Edinburgh castle is to our opinion ruined by these horrible stands. Why is it not possible to honour the architecture of the building and either have stands in a matching style or have the (Tattoo) events somewhere else...?

The Chocolate Tree cafe: THE highlight of the day! We enjoyed this delicious variety of vegan delicacies: the best chocolate ice cream ever!!! and some berry sherbets, chocolate coffee tart, soya latte (for our caffein addict Wolfi) and huge artisan hot chocolates. We can highly recommend the cafe for everyone! Just remember to book a table beforehand since the seating space is very limited. Most likely we'll go there once again before leaving Scotland...

Edinburgh was a bit disappointing in the architecture... not so much old buildings what we thought, but at least some sweet colourful surprises here and there :)

The rhododendrons grow as huge trees here in Scotland (in Finland usually just bushes) and even wild almost everywhere! These sights of course made Ilta "the flower power girl" very happy! :)

At the last day of our Falkirk stay Wolfi went to see the famous Falkirk wheel. A true engineering masterpiece. This is what Wikipedia says: "The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Scotland. It connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. Named after the nearby town of Falkirk in central Scotland, the lift opened in 2002. The two canals it serves were previously connected by a series of 11 locks, but by the 1930s these had fallen into disuse... On 24 May 2002, Queen Elizabeth II opened the Falkirk Wheel as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations" and she said it will last 120 years.

What Wolfi found fascinating is that: "Despite its enormous mass, it rotates through 180° in five-and-a-half minutes using very little power. It takes just 22.5 kilowatts (30.2 hp) to power the electric motors, which consume just 1.5 kilowatt-hours (5.4 MJ) of energy in four minutes, roughly the same as boiling eight kettles of water."

After Falkirk we headed north towards Inverness via Devil's Elbow and Cock Bridge in Cairngorms National Park. Somewhere along the way we found a nice spot for a break where girls could run free and play. Lyra is clearly our "table doggie".

Hertta was guarding the place (as usual) while "the kids" were playing :)

Lyra found the place perfect to stay and didn't want to leave at all anymore! Eventually had to carry her to the sidecar! btw. it was a chilly and cloudy day (again!) that's why girls needed their pullies on.

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We had big hopes of finding a nice place for wild camping, but it was (and is) almost impossible here! Basically every place is fenced, full of sheep (and shit!) and there are not many accessible tracks which would lead a few metres away from the main road. In Loch Garten we still had small hopes to camp wild, but the road was blocked from bikes and anyway it was way too full of tourists! And then there was this sign... How ridiculous is this demand to pick your dogs poo in the middle of the forest where all the wild animals are also leaving poo everywhere! Just makes no sense for a Finn!

So finally we went to a camping place in Auchnahillin for two nights, where we had plenty of rain and Lyra wasn't too happy about it...

In the few short moments without rain girls got to enjoy the almost empty camping place with some ball and frisbee games. We're really happy that Lyra likes her new ball (with the throwing stick), because so far she has preferred balls only indoors and outdoors she has always needed to have a stick! It's not so easy to find a new stick every time she's in the playing mood...

Our search to find a shop in Inverness which would have vegan dog food was not successful. The city itself did not offer anything to our interest and we continued towards Urquhart Castle. Dogs are not allowed inside the castle site so we took what we could and this was the best (free) view from the distance.

Going towards north... Lucky us - in the same moment we found a good spot for a break the sun came out in all its mighty! It got so hot that we took all biking gear off and let the skin sniff the sunlight for a moment :) Lyra and Ulpu - the ballerinas - are having their usual panic when we stop and of course expecting to get some goodies. Amazing how well behaving they can be if they want to be

In the background you can see how brutally the forest is cut, presumably to get more fields to grow sheep and/or cattle. In many cases those cut-down areas stretch for many hundreds of meters! These scenes made Ilta really sad, not sustainable forestry at all! :(

When we have a break Lyra is always the first who wants to drink some water.

We hit the scenic road coast (A836) towards Thurso and in the middle of nowhere was this telephone box... ok, why not?

At the evening of Thursday the 27th of June we reached Thurso where we decided to go another time for camping. There was only a little wind and the air felt fresh and mild, how lovely for a change! The camping site is directly at the beach/cliff promenade and offers a cool view towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Basically just behind the tent (with only a tiny stone wall and the promenade in between) there was a steep cliff and one could see the rocks on the bottom in low tide. BTW - we were able to capture a UFO which seemed to be heading towards Orkney ;)

Evening atmosphere at the camping place with the light tower of Dunnet Head in the background. That was the evening before the storm. The night brought stormy winds and heavy rain and this continued until mid of next day. No way to find any sleep! All the time the flapdiflapdiflap of the tent. On a positive note there are no midges either when the weather is like this

Finally in the afternoon the sun was coming out a little and we could crawl outside the tent. We did a small walk along the beach and found this cute stone bench. Lyra conquered it right away!

Wolfi needed a rest as well :) As you can see it was rather chilly even though the sun was shining. 

Lyra invented a new kind of ball dance. Click here to watch it.

Next day we headed towards the "North Cape of Scotland"...

Ilta & Wolfi

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Old 07-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #38
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Cool2 Scotland: Thurso - Isle of Skye

Our last night in Thurso was very windy and I was freezing the whole night. Consequently I was not feeling too great the next morning. Additionally (or not?) I had some stomach problems. It was time to get out of Thurso. The weather was ok and after a short stop at Lidl we headed towards Dunnet Head and John O'Groats.

According to Wikipedia Dunnet Head "includes the most northerly point of the mainland of Great Britain". Besides the lighthouse and a few left over buildings from WW2, the birds form the main attractions. So we went there, had a small walk and took a few pictures.

Dunnet Head - picture taken by Roger

Next stop was John O'Groats and I got a big deja-vu from the North Cape. One tourist shop besides another, the "lands-end" sign was fenced and they want to take your money for taking a picture of it. The main reason I wanted to go there was that Long Way Down started from there. Good that the limited space on our bikes deny souvenir shopping ;) Well we did our "I have been here pictures" and hit the road again.

John O'Groats

The beginning of the A99 did not offer anything special. Honestly I got bored with those streets, one scenic highway/road after the next are nice... I was missing some action. Skippy as well. We found some promising gravel roads on the map and based on my GPS the road was not a through road. That sounded exciting and we went for it. After several kilometers of country side riding we were finally at the point where the gravel road started. It was such a narrow track and full of holes that we could only go with moderate speed (we did not intend to test the durability of our bikes).

At the beginning of the "forbidden road" and Lyra always finds funny places to go...

A few kilometres later we came to a halt on a barrier... "road only for private vehicles blabla blabla blabla... get permission from the caretaker" or so... The gate was unlocked and so we went through as the gravel road looked very promising on the other side of the fence

We kept on going and passed through one or two wide open gates, some highlighting that no vehicles allowed beyond this point and the gate might be locked at any time. OK - we took our chances. At the one and only crossing we went straight towards a house and there was even in bigger letters no unauthorised vehicles and no motorcycles (damn, they could read our mind) - ok it was time for a U-turn and we took the other road at that crossing.

The street ended on my GPS already a few km ago. I put my GPS to OFFROAD mode and we followed the temptation to continue our adventure along the forbidden trail. I started to run low on fuel and based on my GPS it was about 8km before the official road started again with a filling station a bit later.

We enjoyed the ride in a moderate speed, the sheep were a bit more sensitive (not used to so many vehicles passing by) and the landscape was stunning as earlier. Here would have been many opportunities for wild camping or find shelter in one of the abandoned-looking houses. We passed several open gates and felt lucky... until we came to the last gate. It was locked with a solid chain and an expensive looking number-lock. Damn - would we now really have to go back all the way and make a 62km detour to hit the same point from the other side? Did the land-owners in the meantime lock down the other gates behind us??? The reason I was low on fuel was that some of the filling stations ceased to exist so that might spice up our situation even more.

As a son of a blacksmith I looked at the gate a little closer and found that we could lift the gate out of the hinges ;) In worst case I would need to dig out my scissor jack to get the required leverage. We tried to lift it together and lucky us the gate had almost no weight. 2 minutes later we magically passed through the (already again closed and put back into place) gate. I am not sure what is the point of those remote located telephone boxes... maybe to call the smithy to break the lock??? 

First we were thinking to camp some more, however since this ride was a little exhausting and I still felt so lousy, we went to the first B&B which announced itself in Helmsdale and there we stayed.

Cooking with a view ;)

At the last day of June we drove to Ullapool and had many nice single track roads. Those are always good for some adrenalin. Two vehicles moving at 50-80km/h from opposite direction and some drivers seemed to see an opportunity to play a little "chicken" game.

Cute little island in Lairg.

The ruins of the Ardvreck Castle at A837.

It's said to be haunted, but unfortunately we didn't meet any ghosts...

Properly equipped biker :)

Calda House next to the castle.

My room... with a doll

Finding a place to stay in Ullapool was more difficult then expected. Many had accommodation available but not for us... "Ouh you got doooogs... sorry we don't do dogs" ...maybe over there..? I felt like the famous vacuum-cleaner sales guy who knocks his way from door to door. After searching for about one hour we finally found a nice en-suite B&B (we took it without the breakfast) and we stayed two nights since I was still feeling lousy.

Girls got their own couch

I was basically the whole time in bed while Skippy took care of me and the girls and enjoyed some nice walks on the hills. She also got a great plan for the rest of the trip... Skippy has been very disappointed with Scotland: cold weather, raiped landscape, sheep everywhere (we all know what really happens to them!), poor veggie selection in shops.... so she needed to get a new aspect to enjoy the country. Skippy "the film geek" had a great idea to travel through Britain (and rest of the world) by visiting famous movie locations :) This we actually did in a small scale few years ago in New Zealand.

Why does Great Britain need English and Scottish pounds...? Especially when they're worth the same!

We took the scenic road from Ullapool towards Isle of Skye and faced the even bigger challenge to find an accommodation especially since we wanted to stay several days in one place. No dogs. No dogs. No dogs... I cannot remember on how many doorbells I rang in order to hear "we don't do dogs". In the end somebody had mercy and by paying a premium on the room price (the highest so far on our trip) we found a B&B place in Kyleakin for two nights. This time the search took almost two hours and I already had several walks in various places. Enough was enough and I was ready to pay, get out of the rain and rest.

My first blooper, getting stuck with the sidecar in the ditch.

The movie "Highlander" is one of our big favourites! It was shot in various places across Scotland and we wanted to explore one of the locations on the Isle of Skye: Cioch in the Cuillin Hills near Glenbrittle (see this clip 2:43 onwards). It was drizzling and cloudy as usually and we decided to stay on the beach to have a play with the dogs instead. No point of going to the top of a mountain which is covered by clouds!

The Cuillins in clouds.

Playing ball with Lyra.

Ulpu - the frisbee monster.

Trash at the beach - remember no fouling!

Everywhere is signs about picking up the dog poo, but what about littering humans!? Isn't plastic trash much worse than organic shit?!

This monster just runs to the most closest person to throw the frisbee...

Magic forest with full of human shit and litter.

...and where did this come from? Does Robin Hood live nearby..? ;)

Next morning we were heading towards Fort William and our next Highlander movie location - the Eilean Donan Castle (also used eg. in Bond films). The castle had quite a history and after being not used for about 200 years, it was rebuilt between 1912-1932. Judging from the movie we imagined the castle bigger than in reality. Nevertheless once we walked inside it was impressive, big and gave us a good picture of how life was in earlier times. We continued on the scenic routes and next stop was Fort William.

Eilean Donan Castle

Cool bridge towards the castle.

Complicated inner yard with many corners.

Old building with some modern elements.

Cool looking bench along the parking place.

... and it was not until Fort William that we noticed a major problem with Skippy's bike.

∼ Wolfi
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:21 PM   #39
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Scotland: Fort William

On the road towards Fort William was a sign 'Victoria Falls', so out of curiosity Wolfi wanted to see is it anything compared to THE Victoria Falls... Not even close, but anyway we were in a need of a break and some lunch...

It's really amazing how much this sort of scenery we've seen already... :(

Victoria Falls in Scotland.

We didn't take the free creams!!!

Delicious and healthy lunch! Scottish strawberries are almost comparable
to Finnish ones. Strawberries grown below those latitudes are just horrible!
Most likely because of too short days. Btw. what is this need to pack everything heavily in plastic?! Sadly it's extremely difficult to find any loose fruits or veggies here! Just hurts my heart :( When ever there is loose veggies etc. we definitely enjoy them and shock the cashiers with our eco-friendly washable bags Oh, and some days ago one cashier even asked us, that wouldn't we rather have the cheaper normal sweet peppers than the organic ones we had chosen!!! OMG!!!

Our original plan after Isle of Skye was to go to the Glen Nevis camping place for few days and take it easy... but it was raining (again!) basically the whole day, especially heavily when we arrived to Fort William and I was also in rather big pains (the Alien, as I call it), so we decided to see if we find something bit nicer... and this time it didn't even take that long! After just few knockings on the doors and some convincing talk Wolfi found us this almost luxurious house to stay and have a 'vacation'!

Ben Nevis in the background in the clouds.

So now we are right at the foots of Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis is right opposite the street, where I can enjoy my daily skinny dips :) We have proper bedroom, kitchen, guest room and a rather big living room and from every window beautiful forest/mountain views! Couldn't be much more luxurious! I can also enjoy some proper cooking for a change and experiment new recipes, which have been in my head for a way too long already. Some delicious food ideas coming in the next blog entries...

The backyard.

Almost like back home :)

Proper kitchen and washing machine: great luxury after B&B's and camping places!

Our upstairs neighbors :)

We came here last Thursday and will be staying until this week Saturday.
Plan is to take it easy and recharge our batteries, but also finally
enjoy some nice hiking in the mountains! Thursday went with settling in
and making huge amount of laundry, but Friday we finally had the very
first totally dry day here in Scotland (after 13 days of more or less
constant rain!) and instantly we had to enjoy it! So we did a 5.6km walk
which gave us small preview of the footpath to the top of Ben Nevis. We
had a big plan to climb up there on this trip, but now after few days
of watching how the girls are doing on these hills we're not too sure
anymore. Hertta is very old and gets tired easily, Ulpu has bad knee
problem (born with it) and Lyra has her own (mental)problems... So
16km/8h -trip would be most likely way too much for them and it's also
not nice to leave them inside for that time if we'd do it alone. We'll
rather do easier walks in the forest and by the river :)

Short Saturday walk by the river and it's about to rain soon!

It took me a moment to really understand this 'display', just sounds so
funny :) Again, what about all the plastics trash found around this

Saturday was again raining. What a surprise! We had a good excuse to just lazy around and enjoy good food. I did gluten free chocolate cake (version of this recipe) and excellent pineapple upside down pancakes inspired by my favourite chocolate covered girl: Katie! In the evening we watched Braveheart for inspiration and anyway it was about time that Wolfi saw it! Luckily our extremely nice host had the DVD and was kind enough to borrow it. Actually we asked for Highlander, but he couldn't find it so he brought Braveheart... well done, obviously he understood the point, both shot in these same surroundings!

Yummy pineapple upside down pancakes!

Local beers we've enjoyed, all quite ok.

Sunday was our wedding anniversary and lucky us, the summer came! Finally! We walked a nice, but rather exhausting 7km/3h Cow Hill circuit. In the evening we had an interesting movie experience in a truck! I saw advertisement of this already in Ullapool and wanted definitely to experience it at least once. It was all well worth it, very good sound and picture quality, and once the movie started you didn't realize at all that you were in a truck! I really loved the experience and got plenty of great ideas for future... (if we settle down one day and I have to start to think about work... ;))

Happy hikers at the top of the Cow Hill. Ben Nevis at the background and UFO (again!) above it

This is close to our house, unfortunately didn't find Mel Gibsons footprints...

The movie truck and a parking place right on the door steps :)

Place for 80 customers, with surprisingly good sound and picture and comfortable chairs!

Yesterday the summer got even better! About +22C and whole day sunshine. After some huge grocery shopping we enjoyed delicious strawberries and cherries in the sun and tried not to look suspicious behind our huge umbrella... Well girl got to have her lineless tanning somehow ;) In the evening we had again lovely walk by the riverside and found a peaceful spot to rest and have a swim. I love swimming, I mean I REALLY LOVE IT! Especially the natural way... so of course I had to have a skinny dip...  couple of times... and will most likely have every single evening here! :) The water is amazingly warm even though it comes straight from the mountains and so clear and peaceful, really pleasant! Girls also had plenty of fun there and as usual we had to tease them a bit by throwing their sticks into the water...

Today we had visitors from Shanghai! Wolfis friend from Germany and his Chinese wife, who also happen to have a small tour now in Scotland. Luckily they found some time for us from their busy schedule and came for a cuppa and a chat :)

Wolle, Nicole, Wolfi and me ...and Lyra wanting to play with the stick :)

Tonight we had some more swimming (of course!) with wet T-shirt photoshoot... have to have some fun occasionally ;) and even Wolfi finally got rid of his 'winter fur'! Wolfi has also been busy fixing my bike and he'll tell more about it later....

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Old 07-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #40
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Happy trails! Your living the dream!
I love that you took your dogs with you. Awesome!
I am on a one year adventure, and my little girl has to stay with her friends back home
My ride report from 8 months and 18000 miles on an old C-10
(soon to be updated)
Wish I was a headlight.

The Blog from our adventure ride
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:41 AM   #41
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Fort William cont'd ...

It was good that we wanted to stay so long in Fort William as we needed to solve a few major issues. The first one was that the credit card company was so kind and closed my card due to "suspicious activities" and even after a long phone call with my bank it was not possible to re-open the card. Instead I needed a new one. Without credit card it is often not possible to do e.g. motel/room reservations and thus it was essential to us to get a new one quickly. That is normally not so difficult and only takes a few days, unless you happen to travel around the world ;)

Lucky us, we could now offer a temporary address where we would stay long enough so that the new card can be shipped. That was one reason to wait, stay foot and hope that the letter arrives before we need to depart.

The next major issue was the problem with Skippy's bike. During the normal chain maintenance I noticed that the brand new Hyperpro rear shock was leaking. I made a test sitting on the bike and for sure the oil was gone in the suspension. Milady only commented that there was a "klong" once in a while (she thought they came from the sidecases) ;)

Broken Hyperpro shock

So I emailed and called Hyperpro and they agreed to send the required spare parts, so we can get the shock fixed in the next bigger town. We had several options where to go (all about 100miles away) and the second company I called did repair shocks and they also had time. Great, now it was all about waiting for the spares to arrive.

Skippy's bike needed also an oil change - our first real regular maintenance. At this point, I would like to say BIG THANX to Kenny - our host. He let me use his garage to change the oil and was even nice to collect and recycle the old oil. That was more then I hoped for and the maintenance work was done in no time. I also cleaned the Scotts oil filter, since the extra work is marginal and the opinions on how often to clean those re-usable oil filters vary.

Besides relaxing, enjoying life in Kenny´s great log cabin (it really felt almost like home - only Sauna was missing) and waiting for the mail (thanx again Kenny for this favor and for acting as our temp mail address as we also ordered some vegan dog food and needed a shipping address). There are plenty of things to see and do in Fort William.

The next day we decided to experience the steam train ride on the Jacobite from Fort William and Mallaig. We followed the (smoke) smells of the Hogwarts Express and rode over the Glenfinnan Viaduct - known to all Harry Potter fans. The landscape was really beautiful and this time, I could sit back, relax and take some clips compared to when riding the bike. We had a small walk in Mallaig and we got ourselves a few books from the local second hand book shop.

Getting ready for departure

Break at Glenfinnan

I love those kind of "smart" signs :)

55t snowplough rebuilt from a former V2 locomotive tender

View from the train ride

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Skippy inspecting wild life in Mallaig

Beautiful flower in the water

Me looking "ahead"

The following day we made a hike to Nevis gorge and Steall Falls. The gorge was magnificient with all its huge (and I mean HUGE) rocks and the potholes washed out by the currents over the time. On the pictures the gorge looked like a miniatur model as I was not able to capture the dimensions and the depths of the gorge. It was late afternoon and we were almost alone on Steall Falls. Great opportunity to take a few more special pics of my beloved better half.

Steall Falls nearby Ben Nevis, Fort William

Too strong currents for our little dogs to cross by themselves

The "kiddo" also could not resists to climb the steel rope even though I would say it was easier to walk through the river

Wolfi leading the way

It was Friday the 12th of July and we reserved our last day for packing, last laundry and finally I had
the right energy and motivation to do a little nordic walking -
after over 6000km, I could use my hiking sticks

Next day we left this great place with a little sorrow...

Skippy swimming in Loch Ness - no monster appeared ;)

The beauty and the comfort came with a high price for us low budget travellers. It was clear to us that the following days we would need to go camping. As we learned earlier, the strange thing about camping is that our dogs might cost tra and in the end the difference to a motel or to a B&B compared to camping with three dogs might be marginal. Anyway, camping is was and the camping places we tried out were fully booked, and the many other sites were only for caravans. At some point we got enough and decided to go into the wild. We found a resting place besides a river with a decent spot. There was a table and a trash bin on which we could find the "rules" for camping in the wild.

Camping in the wild

Tentsite with a view to the river

Know the code

Well, it turned out that the traffic was more then expected and we found unbelievable trash in the water.  Besides all sorts of metal objects, cables, I diged out what looked like a motor from a washing-machine and a blinker for fishing (not very nice if you step into one).

Unbelievable trash in the river


All the sudden a deer came to inspect the river

Our "neighbour" opposite of the street

On top of that there was a warning sign that the river level might change rapidly due to the hydro power station. That all reduced our desire to go for a good swim. Since we also saw and learned that resting places appear to be used heavily as human toilet (BTW, never seen a fine for that, only dog fouling is forbidden!) and the heavy and sudden noises throughout the night, we did not feel like staying more then needed.

It was now Monday morning. We got up early, packed our stuff and headed towards Perth to get Skippy's bike fixed. We found the place easily and after a short talk, I started to take out the rear shock. The mechanic got right away to it and we went off for a nice picnic lunch in King's park enjoying strawberries, rasberries and some indian food. The repaired shock went quickly back into the bike. As I was crawling on the floor tying up all th bolts, Skippy was so kind and provided me with our rainbow umbrella some shade. A pity we do not have a picture of this

Wolfi packing up his toolbox after the repair

Girls were hot and bored ...

Skippy had a chance to sit her "Nessie" onto the topcase

We were ok to continue and headed off to St. Andrews.

~ Wolfi

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Old 07-23-2013, 01:03 AM   #42
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Talking Food

For those of you hard core bikers who wonder what we eat, I give you an example of our cuisine and two links to our blog :

luxyry cooking

and camping food

enjoy the reading
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:03 PM   #43
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Loving the report so far. Fantastic that you are able to take the pets with you. That's the toughest part for me when I go away...missing them. But I can't imagine 7 cats in a sidecar would go very well.
Bob Krzeszkiewicz - 2013 Christini 450E - 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 - 2000 Harley Davidson FXDX - 1999 Buell X1
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:01 AM   #44
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Laugh Scotland: St. Monans to Stirling


After fixing my bike in Perth we headed towards St. Andrew in the east coast. Mainly because I wanted to see the beach which was used in the film 'Chariots of Fire' and also wanted to do kind of re-enact of the opening scene... just for fun! The idea of camping in St. Andrews didn't really work out 'cos everything was already fully booked or didn't allow tent (what's the thing with this everywhere???). So we had to  go a bit further along the coast to St. Monans, where we luckily found a pretty nice camp site for three nights.

But by humans must be ok... at least it looks like that everywhere!!! (a sign on one of the camp sites wall, which didn't like tents either)

Wolfi's evening beer, while watching the local football club practice opposite of our pitch :)

Of course not! See the interesting phone line distribution...

 Kids playground nearby. Have to start practice the roundabouts early enough!

Beautiful and mellow evenings.


Relaxing (and some running) at the St. Andrews beach. Very HOT day!

A bit too hot for girls, but at least Ulpu was smart to go to shade :)

Healthy lunch at the beach, yummy!!!

After the beach we visited the "Scotland's best kept secret". We saw those signs when we drove to St. Monans two days earlier and of course got interested to know what is it all about...

A military bunker built after the first atomic bomb and used during the cold war...


Interesting vehicle for handicaps

Darn - we left them all at home!

Old times messaging center.

Radio broadcast control room - full of "old", but very interesting technology.

35mm portable movie projector. Besides the radio room the only really interesting objects for a movie geek in this museum!

These old telefax machines brought back good old memories to Wolfi... (is he really that old?! )

And of course there were plenty of all sorts of guns.

The German collection room full of WW2 and DDR items.

Wolfi - "Connecting People".


We drove to Stirling via Bo'ness because of the motor museum there full of James Bond memorabilia. I didn't realize the place until after we'd already left Falkirk and was really disappointed :( Wolfi wasn't too eager to make a such divert, but after the (boring) visit to the Bunker this was easy to justify ;) I needed to have some interesting fun as well! and in the end Wolfi liked the place a lot, which I knew he would :)

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Bo'ness Motor Museum

Finally got my arms around James Bond ;) He doesn't really look like any of the six, but I decided he's George Lazenby 'cos "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is one of my big favorites.

Wolfi playing with the rocket launcher from "Tomorrow Never Dies".

Lotus Esprit from "The Spy Who Loved Me".

Wolfi got spooked by the Harry Potter spider!

Sweet motorbiker :)

Finally in Stirling (or nearby?) at the Witches Craig camping place, where we stayed for five nights. Mostly just relaxing, sunbathing (I finally got some nice color :)) and catching up with the internet stuff... Very nice place besides a beautiful forest and great hills to exercise. Only minuses were the noisy street close by and too far away located toilets! (and the bugging neighborhood kids!) We also learned from the locals how to possess a campsite table for our own use It was really entertaining to watch how those tables traveled around the place...

Our home: bedroom, kitchen, lounge, closets & cupboards... Nothing's missing! :)

These boys were the number one fans of our girls (and our chairs)!

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The other one had to leave after two days, but this one stayed until very end! Girls did get a bit fed up as well...

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The hills behind the camping place. We had great exercise there every day!

View from the top.


Day trip to the Doune Castle, which was heavily used for example in the Monty Python's Holy Grail -film. That was a very interesting and hilarious trip! Terry Jones's recorded guided tour was great fun!

The Doune Castle

Located on a pretty cool hill and between rivers.

Huge fireplace in the kitchen!

Spot a street sign?


We have really been amazed throughout our journey in Britain, that how badly the trees and bushes are taken care of in front of street signs and quite often extremely important ones!!!  

One day on our walk up on the hills we met these fellows really close
by. Could have easily pet them, but they had a young calf with and we
had to be careful that girls don't make them angry... so we kindly changed our route :)

So beautiful and peaceful creatures.

Our lovely neighbors.

Our first ice cream (vanilla soya ice cream) of the summer! Especially Wolfi had been anxiously waiting for this! Enjoyed with christmassy apple cake -> perfect combination.

At the last morning I suddenly saw these sweet fellows having breakfast just behind our tent, and they were "together" for a very long time! What a lovely cheer up :)


We left the camping place just before the expected thunder storm hit and had a wet journey back to England via delicious shopping in the Glasgow's Whole Foods...


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Old 07-28-2013, 12:27 PM   #45
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Wicked Our remaining route through England - tips welcome

Our days in the UK are counted. We will ride from Sheffield towards Cornwall and continue to Dover - a little less than 1000miles. We welcome you to give us some tips on nature attractions (no city stuff please) as well as raw-food places and low budget (dog-friendly) accommodations.

Stonehenge and the Beaulieu National Motor Museum are already on our list.
The picture shows our approximate route.

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