Triumph and Tribulations – Exploring the UK, Day 8

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June 24th, 2017 – Girvan, Scotland to Pathhead, Scotland: ~120 miles

Missed Day 7? June 23rd, 2017 – Antrim, Ireland to Girvan, Scotland ~160 miles


Triumph has adorned our loaner Explorer with their factory hard luggage (re-branded Givi Trekker Outbacks). Each side bag is 48 liters and the top box is 42 liters, and that’s been just enough for us over the last few days. Each night we bring the bags in and we load the bike up the following morning. I’m very happy with the Givis and have no problem recommending them to anyone who wants some top loading aluminum panniers. With each morning, Vy and I get better at repacking our luggage more efficiently so we’re able to get on the road faster.

The backyard of our B&B is a scenic spot for motorcycle parking.

As I mount the bags to the bike, our hosts start chatting with Vy and I about bikes. Unfortunately, their son had a motorcycle accident a few years back with some serious health consequences but he’s still into bikes and his folks still support two-wheelers.

Linda takes a photo of Vy and I to send to her son, and then Vy takes advantage of the conveniently-located mailbox on the right to send a postcard to her folks..

Our hosts ask us where we’re planning on going today. Surprisingly, like many other people I’ve spoken to in the last few days, they recommend that we skip out on Glasgow and just take back roads into Edinburgh.

Within seconds we’re on windy back roads and winding through fields of sheep. I need to start some sort of drinking game with all these sheep photos for you. Here’s yet another one – take a shot.

Though there are plenty of sheep, at least our Scottish traffic jams don’t involve wildlife like we saw in Ireland. Still, this does seem a bit stereotypical:

Vy’s been to Edinburgh before and she loves it, so I’m excited to see why she finds the city so fascinating.

Even though I am lazy and have an aversion to walking, Vy convinces me to park the bike and lock up the gear for a few hours. After a delicious lunch that includes a lot of salmon, we start at Edinburgh Castle.

Every summer, the castle hosts the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo for a parade of drums and bagpipes. Vy and I were too early in the season to see the performances, so all we got to see was preparation in the form of the stands being set up.

If you’re curious to see what the Tattoo looks like, here’s a full dress rehearsal from this year:

Edinburgh has a vibrant busker community and we saw a few good ones on High Street. This guy attracts a decent crowd thanks to a little bit of physical trickery and a lot of comic relief.

The combination of “Not all who wander are lost” and “Diversion End” gave me a chuckle:

Dublin has a statue of Molly Malone, while Edinburg has a staute of Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye Terrier. The legend is that after his owner passed away, Bobby spent 14 years guarding the grave in an incredible story of loyalty between man and his best friend. Except, it’s all a lie.

The sign under the cow says “THE TOWN COOcillor”, and underneath that it says “Name That Cow.” What’s your thought? The best sign is at the bottom – Caution Falling Cows!

More signs with animals. Vy and I bravely go forward. There are no bears to report.

To be frank, I enjoyed walking around Edinburgh so much that I rarely thought about taking photos. I really enjoyed the Royal Mile and the “closes” – a Scottish term for an alley. One thing we missed out on was a tour of Mary King’s Close, which has become a bit of a tourist trap. A guide (in costume) takes you around what Edinburgh was like in the 17th century. In modern times, Edinburgh is a wonderful city and I look forward to coming back in the future. But for now, we have to make our way to yet another B&B.

It’s become a routine for Vy and I – pull up to a B&B in motorcycle gear and the proprietor will usually have all kinds of stories about motorcycles they’ll want to share with you. I think it’s fantastic. I assume Vy just wants to get into the room. Our lodging tonight is at Fairshiels Bed & Breakfast, and I think it looks fantastic. The owner lets us park the bike in her private driveway, hidden from the main road behind a Jeep. She also lets her know that her son is a motorcycle racer, and there just might be some racing we should check out nearby tomorrow…

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