Next stop

England, Europe, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, Spain

Bilbao

Spain

Passionate Spain

Gateway to Galicia

Another Celtic nation

The night ferry said goodbye to England

Departing Portsmouth

Along the coast of France

Across the Bay of Biscay

The often wild sea a mill pond on this crossing.

Its night

The morning brings Spain

Ready to catch the ferry to Bilbao with fellow bikers

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A day in Dartmoor National Park

Adventure, England, photography, travel, United Kingdom

Dartmoor National Park neighbours Cornwall

Famous for the Dartmoor ponies

Beautiful patches of forest

Such as Lydford Gorge

And of course beautiful riding across the moors with a stop for a pint along the way.

Starting in Stone: Chapter 3 of my European motorcycle adventure

Adventure, England, Motorbikes, travel, United Kingdom

Back in England

Start of my next motorcycle adventure

Canals a starting theme.

Stone in Staffordshire the starting point for this 3 month tour of the UK and Europe

The shakedown trip north to Skipton in North Yorkshire

An old mill town

A canal town

With Skipton Castle playing a special part in the English Civil war.

But my main reason to travel north was the Moto Guzzi Club Pennines rally.

Meeting new friends and experiencing the welcoming biker culture.

And of course riding through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside.

Canals of the English midlands

Adventure, England, history, photography, United Kingdom

Canal passing through Stone a canal town in the English midlands

The canals wind like watery snakes across the English countryside

The narrow boats once work horses now leisure craft

Wending their way across the country side

Marvels of engineering the locks using the power of water to life the boats, their crew and in times past heavy cargo over hill.

Canal locks

Narrow boat exiting a lock

I’m back in the English midlands staying in the pretty canal town of stone.

Staying with friends

Getting the mighty breva II ready for chapter 3 of my European adventure.

Mighty Breva in distinguished company of a Ducati 900ss and Moto Guzzi 850 Eldorado

London was calling

Adventure, art, Europe, history, photography, Sailing, travel

On the train from the midlands to London. I listened to The Clash, London Calling.

Its both a distopian and resilient view of London. It seemed fitting as a bombing in the tube had set a sombre tone.

But London is London no matter.

Despite the confrontation London open day was in full swing as was Thames week.

And it gave a little sometime for mariner like me.

These 10 Thames barges had sailed up the river.

And were using their motors against the ebb tide to hold formation still in the water. Such seamanship.

And really there is something special about the English is their way with the sea and boats.

Be it Drake’s Golden Hind

Replica Golden Hind

Or the uniquely English narrow boats that carried goods and produce from the midlands to London prior to rail

Narrow boat exits a Loch on the 

Along the Grand Union Canal.

And now provide floating pleasure.

So I did go to London!

Touring Northern UK on the mighty Breva II – a picture narrative 

Adventure, England, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

Went to England but not London

Went to Scotland but not Edinburgh

Didn’t do Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds

Touring a motorbike is on a different path

With strange admirers along the way

Crossing the Burway on the Welsh/English border

Started in Stoke

Made it to the top

Coast to coast

From Newcastle in the east

To Skye in the west

Past castles grand

And those that bare the scars of Britain’s violent history.

Sinclair Castle

In search of monsters real or legend

In the highlands

Fortingall Hotel Central Highlands

View from the Burway

And in the low

Smoo cave on the North Coast 500

Went to England and didn’t do London

In Scotland missed Edinburgh

But saw a bit.

Mighty Breva II loaded and ready for the European adventure to come

Inverness and North Scotland 

Adventure, history, Motorbikes, photography, Scotland, travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom

Inverness ancient trading city of the north

Vikings

Pictish

Roman

Scots

Romans

All have influenced this city

Inverness castle

Inverness castle looms over the city

Destroyed and rebuilt a number of times

The Hanoverian garrison during the bloody Battle of Culloden that ended the Scottish uprising.

But I thing I was touched the by the Celtic Ray

At Hootananny where the beer and good craic flower

Inverness is the gateway to the very north of Scotland

The start and finish of the touring route the North Coast 500

It takes you the top of the British mainland

John O’Groats

Dunnet Head the northern most point of mainland Britain

And the beautiful villages and dramatic coastline and history of North Scotland

Smoo Cave

Flying fox across the fjord

Inverness’ Calladonian Canal opened a trading route into the northern highlands

Locks at the start of the Calladonian Canal stepping up to Loch Ness

So my rediscovery of the Celtic Ray stated in the old streets of Inverness.

Back on the Celtic Ray

Adventure, history, photography, Poetry, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

Back in Glasgow

The light

The buildings have a new feel

Sight

Texture

I’ve been touched by the Celtic Ray (the Awen)

Harris Tweed Cap made on the Shetland Islands

‘Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales
I can hear the mothers’ voices calling
“Children, children, children”

Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
I’ve been away from the Ray too long
I’ve been away from the Ray too long’ – words by Van Morrison

My heritage is Irish, my great grand parents migrating to Kalgoorlie in the 1890s

Part of the Irish diaspora.

But spending time in the north of Scotland has put me on the Celtic Ray

John O’Groats

Fishing harbour John O’Groats

Touched by the Celtic Ray

Glasgow has a new light.

I found the Glasgow Enlightenment

And the fact the the world’s first Afro-American doctor was trained in Glasgow by slavery abolitionists. He was James Mcune-Smith.

I have been away from the Ray too long

Skye

Adventure, history, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry

Carry the lad that was born to be king

O’er the see to Skye.

So goes the first verse of the Skye boat song and Skye is inextricably linked to the Bonnie Prince Charlie legend.

Skye is an island of deep fojds and sounds, rugged mountains and quaint villages.

Faery pools

When leaving Stirling I met a Spanish couple on a BMW. Who had said the beauty of Skye bought a tear to their eye.

View of Portree

And it is hard to disagree.

The vistas on each turn of the road surpassing the previous.

And the Scottish weather continued to smile.

Glasgow and people 

art, history, photography, Scotland, travel, United Kingdom

A hundred and fifty years ago Glasgow was the second city of the empire

A centre of heavy industry such as shipbuilding and textile manufacture

A centre of design, typified by the Glasgow architecture.

But a century or so later Glasgow was struggling to survive as a city.

Unemployment, poverty and significant population decline challenging the future of the once great city

While in the UK, in Australia, there is tension and a struggle about accepting migrants and refugees.

For Glasgow, have stabilised it’s population.

The cities motto “People make Glasgow” a reflection of the more diverse international city it has become.

People make Glasgow proudly on the new skyline.

Maybe we should all be thinking about people, humanity.