Wales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : February 2017

In February 2017 I took on the AdventureBikeRider Wales in a Weekend Route.  Starting South of Brecon and heading north I would take in the Beacons then head into Snowdownia National Park before crossing into England from North Wales and returning back to Northern Ireland on an overnight ferry.  All of this would be done in a mere three days.  If you lived close enough to the starting point this is a great route that can easily be done in 2 days – even in winter!

Day 1 : Northern Ireland to Aberdare : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/

Day 2 : Aberdare to Aberystwyth : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/26/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-2-21-02-2017/

Day 3 : Aberystwyth to Betws-y-Coed (and Liverpool to Northern Ireland) : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/27/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-3-22-02-2017/

Wales in a Weekend Route
Wales in a Weekend Route

Winter in Wales : Wales in a Weekend : Day 3 : 22/02/2017

If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!

Weather forecast for 22/02/2018
Weather forecast for 22/02/2018

Day 3 – the final day of my Wales in Winter trip and this leg takes me from Aberystwyth to Betws-y-Coed then onto the Liverpool for the return overnight ferry back to Northern Ireland.

So far it has been two days of good hardcore rain and this final day won’t be changing that format in any major way.

In fact it is due to get worse at some stage with the approach of Storm Doris bringing more and heavier rain and some gales, gusts and other variants of high winds thrown into the mix.  The biggest question is when will Doris visit?  Whilst on the road or on the boat?

In case you missed it Day 1 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/

Day 2 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/26/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-2-21-02-2017/

The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend

Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link

As far as accomodation goes I am absolutely sold on ‘The Glengower’ – clean and comfortable room with good food, a good bar, big TVs for the Sports Channels and a couple of pool tables, all with a sea view.  You need nothing more, but you’ll get it in the form of a delicious breakfast.

The Glengower Breakfast Menu
The Glengower Breakfast Menu

After breakfast, I make the short trip round the back of the hotel to get the bike.  Having turned on all the radiators in the room over night my gear was dry for starting.  After a 50 metre walk I was back to being as soaked as I was when I finished yesterday.  And looking at the forecast this is only the start of the rain.

Read moreWinter in Wales : Wales in a Weekend : Day 3 : 22/02/2017

Wales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 2 : 21/02/2017

If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this Wales in a Weekend route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!

Weather Report Wales 21/02/2017
Weather Report Wales 21/02/2017

It’s Day 2 – although for the Wales in a Weekend Route it is actually Day 1.  Confusing eh?

If you made it to this post via some strange and startling way then the simple explanation is that Day 1 (for me) was actually a travel day from Northern Ireland to the start of this route.

In case you missed it Day 1 can be found here : http://tbni.blog/2018/02/22/wales-in-winter-wales-in-a-weekend-day-1-20-02-2017/

The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend

Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link

As I concluded in my write up of Day 1 this first day of the actual route was set to be a wet one.

The overnighter at the Mount Pleasant Hotel was just that – pleasant.  The bed was very comfortable, the place was clean, tidy and friendly.  The shower lacked a bit of power but no doubt the rain that was forecast for arround midday should sort that right out!

However I was experiencing one slight hiccup…

Read moreWales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 2 : 21/02/2017

Wales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 1 : 20/02/2017

If you happen to be a Twitter or Instagram User and do this route (or something similar through Wales) I have used the hashtags (Wales In Winter & Winter In Wales) #WalesInWinter and #WinterInWales – make sure to add to them!

This time last year (20/02/2017) I set off on a quick trip through Wales.  I was using up the remanants of my leave from work and in an effort to feel that I wasn’t taking time off just for the sake of it, I found a quick route that I could do for very little outlay that would take in the entire length of Wales.

Starting South of Brecon and heading north I would take in the Beacons then head into Snowdownia National Park before crossing into England from North Wales and returning back to Northern Ireland on an overnight ferry.

I found the route on www.adventurebikerider.com and having never seen Wales before, but with the ease and affordability of travel to and from Northern Ireland it seemed like a sensible option.  Accomodation was also easily sorted with a bucket load of options available on sites like Booking.com – and prices ranging from very reasonable to ‘oh that must be quite fancy.’

The route can be found here : https://www.adventurebikerider.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=36263&hilit=wales+in+a+weekend

Wales in a Weekend Route
Wales in a Weekend Route

Should you need it the sat nav gpx file can be found here : Wales in a Weekend Sat Nav GPX Download Link

The route is called Wales in a Weekend – which is realistically two days long especially in the Winter – if you like a good long distance challenge you probably could snort round it in a (long) day, but spread over two it is easily managable and very enjoyable.

Remember to factor in any travel time to get to the ‘Starting Point’ just outside Aberdare.  But from Aberdare to the end of the route at Betws y Coed you should set aside 2 days to complete.

Read moreWales in Winter : Wales in a Weekend : Day 1 : 20/02/2017

Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report :

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report
Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

In the Summer of 2016 I took on another European coastal route :  Scotland’s NC500 :

UPDATED DOWNLOAD LOCATION : Get the GPX File for the Scottish North Coast 500 Route right here :

https://tbni.blog/2016/09/27/scotlands-north-coast-500-gpx-route-file-nc500-gpx/

Scotland's NC500 Coastal Route
Scotland’s NC500 Coastal Route

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 1/4) :

http://tbni.blog/2017/11/29/scotlands-north-coast-500-in-2-days/

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 2/4) :

http://tbni.blog/2017/12/07/scotlands-north-coast-500-nc500-in-2-days-day-2-4/

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 3/4) :

http://tbni.blog/2017/12/08/scotlands-north-coast-500-nc500-in-2-days-day-3-4/

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 4/4) :

http://tbni.blog/2017/12/08/scotlands-north-coast-500-nc500-in-2-days-day-4-4/

For more information on this route have a look here :

https://www.northcoast500.com

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 4/4)

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 4 : 01/08/2016 : Inverness – Cairnryan : Day 4 of the trip and yesterday saw the completion of the North Coast 500 (NC500). This final day is simply the dash home from Inverness to Cairnryan Port. It is almost 5 hours down the motorway towards Glasgow then to Cairnryan. No scenic route, no epic country roads like on Day 1 – with the timing of the ferry it really was just a dash to the port.

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : The Route Back
Scotland’s North Coast 500 : NC500 : The Route Back

Only one thing needed sorted and that was my brakes. So I knew thanks to my internet buddies where I needed to go and who could help me, I was faced with one further dilemma, it was a bank holiday Monday so businesses were opening a little later than usual or simply not at all.

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 4/4)

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 3/4)

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 3 : 31/07/2016 : Scourie – Inverness : Day 3 of the trip and therefore Day 2 of the NC500 route. This section takes us from Scourie back to Inverness, finishing off the West Coast then taking in the North and East Coasts back to Inverness. The route for the day looks very roughly like :

Scotland’s North Coast 500 : Day 2 Route : NC500

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 3/4)

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 2/4)

Scotland's North Coast 500 : NC500 : Ride Report

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 2 : 30/07/2016 : Inverness – Scourie : Day 2 of the trip is actually Day 1 of the NC500 route and after the glorious day we had travelling over to Scotland I was so very hopeful for more of the same for the start of the actual NC500. However it was not to be. As any resident, or visitor, with experience of the United Kingdom, Ireland, British Isles, outlying islands will be all to aware – the weather is changeable – and it had changed. What was blue skies, fluffy white clouds and sunshine had been replaced by grey – and to make things that little bit worse all that grey was now wet – wet and grey.

We started off with the easy choice for breakfast – a nearby Morrison’s Supermarket for a fry. The grub was decent, but the tea was horrible. I blame the UHT milk, for goodness sake – surely a supermarket should be able to stretch to proper fresh milk for the tea? It took ages for the food as well which meant we weren’t getting on the road until just after 10:00 am. This late start would bite us later, so if you are planning on following a similar timescale get moving earlier. This is a pretty long day.

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 2/4)

Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 1/4)

North Coast 500 : Scotland : NC500

Disclaimer : Having completed the Wild Atlantic Way in under a week I thought a reasonable time period to complete the North Coast 500 would be two days. However you will notice that this ride report actually covers four days – so what’s that about? Well it’s simply about travel. One day to get to the start and one day takes me home. So really it’s a four day trip to Scotland, during which I completed the NC500 in two.

Download the NC500 GPS File Here : http://www.tbni.blog/downloads/North-Coast-500.gpx

Day 1 : 29/07/2016 : Two of us set off on this journey, myself on my 2014 BMW F800GS Adventure, my mate on his Kawasaki ZX10R. Yep an adventure bike and a sports bike are heading to the Highlands.

The day starts of at Belfast heading to Cairnryan on the 07:30 am ferry. At 07:30 am the most important thing is breakfast and at £10.00 for a fry I am expecting a great breakfast. Nope – not great at all. It tasted alright but the portions were beyond miserable. The beans consisted of 3 lonely individuals drowning in a sea of watered down tomato sauce. One good point is that if you buy a cup of tea / coffee your refills are free. Maybe the £10 fries subsidise the hot drinks bill?

Here are a few tips for this ferry :

1. Get a McD’s breakfast on the way to the boat.

2. Sit in the bar – not the restaurant. FIFA on an xBox was in the bar.

3. Find someone a bit secluded on the boat – the bodies (by the time you move off) will be strewn about everywhere, the noises are like when zombies fall asleep with a sinsus infection. People really need to try sleeping the night before their journey!

On a plus note through the weather was glorious! My fingers were crossed it stays this way!

NC500 : Belfast - Cairnryan Ferry
NC500 : Belfast – Cairnryan Ferry

Read moreScotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) – In 2 Days (Day 1/4)

Isle of Man TT 2016 : Day 4

So this is it for this trip, the final day.  The boat is about 7pm so unfortunately that means no viewing of the practice session tonight.  That’s one of the bad points on coming over for Practice Week from Northern Ireland – the sailings aren’t perfect, but I suppose there is no way round it unless the Steam Packet put on an 11:00pm sailing – Hint Hint…

On getting packed up the hotel kindly offered to look after my gear and panniers so I could go and enjoy the mountain again – just another reason why I absolutely will go back to this hotel without any qualm.

img_3938
The Rosslyn Hotel – Isle of Man

After a meet up with the guys in Douglas, some breakkie and a quick walk around the town and a catching of the sights it was time to head out back out towards the track.

The Legendary Isle of Man Horse Drawn Tram
The Legendary Isle of Man Horse Drawn Tram

It was on this walk around the town that I called into the RoadSkin pop up store and purchased myself a nice Roodskin motorcycle hoodie (which I have been wearing regularly ever since) and a pair of jeans (which I have yet to pull on) – the pop up store saving me well over £100 on these two items alone, oh and I picked up a couple of neck warmers too.

(Long Term Review to follow on the RoadsSkin Gear)

Read moreIsle of Man TT 2016 : Day 4