Going Up and Down in the UK
Starting in mid-April, 2011, I toured around the UK for just over 4 weeks. It was several biking trips at once. First, I did a fully supported ride from Land's End to Bude on the Cornish Coast with my brother-in-law, niece, and the Beaconsfield Town Crier. Next, was a multi-week ride from Newport, Wales north to Fort William, Scotland and then southeast to Northern England. There, I met my other brother-in-law for a self-supporting ride down the eastern English Coast, into the hills, and across the Yorkshire Moors. Finally, I was off by myself, again, to visit York and then ride over to and through the Peak District before ending the trip at Peterborough, near Cambridge.
On this trip I rode along the Cornish Coast, through Wales' Brecon Beacon National Park, into and out of the Lake District and Southern Scotland, across Scottish Islands, past Loch after Loch. Then, I turned south and east to Northern England, down the Eastern Coast, into the hills and across the Yorkshire Moors, visited York, and finally over to and then across the Peak District. It sure felt like I saw most of the what the UK has on offer!
This was the first time I toured with others and I found it had both positive and negative aspects. I enjoyed the time I spent with relatives and feel bike touring is one of the best ways to build shared experiences and forge a deeper family connection. But, touring with others involves compromises on route, sleeping, and eating that aren't part of solo touring.
The weather was unbelievable as it was sunny for the first 3 weeks of the trip. From Land's End to Fort William, every time I looked up there was blue sky and abundant sunshine. I joked with the Scots asking them how it stayed so green there when it was always sunny. They tried to explain that the weather was unusual but I would have none of it. But, once it started to rain, it rained every day until the end of the tour. Still, all in all, there were many more sunny days then wet ones!
This was my third bike tour in the UK and I was reminded that much of the UK is rolling farmland. I saw thousands of sheep, hundreds of cows and horses, wheat, corn, hay, and rape seed (from which Canola oil comes) fields, and met some of the nicest people and politest drivers on Earth.
I didn't ride my bike the entire distance. I was also driven in cars, took several trains and ferries, and one bus. It was the first time I'd done so much non-bicycling on a bike tour!
I used the tour planning pages on this site to plan this tour. You can see the plan I created should you be thinking about doing a tour of the UK.
Return to Main Menu
If you find an error, have any ideas for new features or thoughts about the current ones, please send me an email.
Words and Images Copyright © 2011 by Ray Swartz
Website Copyright © 2009 by Ray Swartz