Scotland Motorcycle Tour - Day 1 - London to Lancaster
From: London To: Lancaster Distance: 256 miles
Our first day of the trip and so we got up early. Typical, 15 minutes before we left the house it started raining, so it was on with the wet weather gear. We left around 8:15 and despite it being a Saturday morning the traffic was already busy. Crossing London and heading north (we live in South London) can be a pain if the traffic conditions go against you and this morning we had bad light karma with red lights all the way.
Finally we hit the M1 heading north. The rain kept on but when we stopped for our first break at Toddington services we were in great spirits and happy to be on holiday. Our next stop was Donnington services, and by this time the heavy rain and motorway spray had started to find it's way inside our waterproofs.
After a warm up and coffee we decided to get off the motorway and head cross country through the Peak District. It was nice to be on interesting roads, even if we were pottering along due to the conditions. We passed Arkwright's famous Mill and pulled into Matlock Bath around one in the afternoon. Despite Matlock being a little bit of a biking mecca, we were the only bikes parked on the main high street.
By this time we were getting pretty cold and wet so we walked along the high street trying to decide which was the best of the many fish n chip shops. We settles on 'Tuckers' and were not disappointed. The fish and chips were great (with mushy peas and chip shop curry sauce of course!) and the staff didn't seem to mind that we were dripping water all over their floor.
Having been on motorcycle holidays before we had come prepared with two spare pairs of gloves each, but if it keeps raining like this we would work through them pretty quickly. So we took advantage of some of the bike shops nearby and bought some plastic lobster claw style over-gloves to keep the water out.
From Matlock we rode on towards Macclesfield and the famous Cat and Fiddle pub on the infamous A537. Again we were the only bikes in the car park - but made the most of a warm coffee and a sit by a roaring fire. We left the pub at 3:30...it was still raining.
From the pub we finished off the bendiest part of the road down into Macclesfield riding gingerly round the sharp corners, then we rode about 40 miles north through undullating but straight roman roads - "up hill and down dale" as they say.
We picked up the M61 and then the M6 towards our hotel for the night in Lancaster. As were neared the town the rain started to ease and it finally stopped as we filled up for petrol one mile from our destination.
Once ensconced in the Premier Inn Lancaster we turned up the heating, hung up our biking gear in front of a fan, got a hot shower and took a stroll into town to find some food. We lucked out, and had a great Thai meal at the 'Blue Moon' restaurant. By 8:30 pm we were tired after 256 miles on very wet roads, so it was back to the hotel and straight to bed.
Today was all about covering distance with a couple of stops to make it interesting. Tomorrow we go north of the wall where our adventure really begins. The forecast doesn't look good, but it does seem to be slowly improving - at this point we would settle for anything but rain.