Picking up on our previous blogs about our motorcycle tour of Wales and Ireland in September 2013, we crossed from Belfast to Cairnryan on a very calm sea for the final part of our tour and were able to ride the through the New Galloway forest on dry roads. We arrived at Clatteringshaws Loch for a leg stretch and photo stop before riding on to a very interesting encounter with a herd of cows!!!! They had made a sharp exit from a field to our right, bashing down the gate in their haste and we had no option but to park up and try and herd them to safety (no farmers in sight…..). We managed to get them into a field a bit further up the road and carry on with our ride……….but just imagine the farmer arriving later that day to check on his herd to find that not only had they escaped from one field but had got themselves into another and had locked the gate behind themselves 🙂
This diversion had delayed us slightly but we arrived in Moniaive for a late afternoon tea in The Green Tea House – great welcome and worth a stop for any motorcyclist on their travels in this part of the world. Unfortunately the weather turned whilst we were enjoying our coffee and cake and the ride from there was not as pleasant as we would have liked. Such a shame as we had a cracking route passing Drumlanrig Castle and across into the Scottish borders, the twists and turns were there to enjoy but on a damp road surface and mist hiding the views it was not the best way to start our sojourn into Scotland!
Next day was far better though and we set off on our ride-out for that day with the sun shining and dry roads – it was a perfect day for being on two wheels and enjoying the stunning scenery that the Scottish Borders has to offer. We stopped for morning coffee at The Glen Cafe, St Mary’s Loch – beautiful views over the loch to be had and the cafe is regularly used by both local motorbike clubs and riders touring through the area.
From here we had fantastic roads to ride towards Moffat and into the Eskdalemuir forest – stopping at Kagyu Samye Ling, a very peaceful Tibetan retreat in the middle of nowhere. The serenity of the location is wonderful and a perfect place for a light lunch and a chill out after all the thrills of riding open flowing roads.
We continued our ride-out back to the hotel for our last evening meal together of the tour. The weather forecast for the return into England on the Sunday was not good, the first storm of the autumn was promised and boy did it deliver!!!! We woke next morning to skies as black as night and as we set off the storm began and stayed with us for the remainder of the day. At first we stayed away from the motorway network but had to join it south of Lockerbie, if for no other reason to be able to use the services as we were like a bunch of “drowned rats”.
It was not the best way to end our 10 day motorcycling tour but did not dampen the spirits of those who joined us on some of the best roads to ride in the UK and Ireland and we are looking forward to touring on them in the not too distant future……. 🙂