Isle of Man TT
18.05.2011 - 26.05.2011 9 °C
Wednesday 18th May
Today we walked a long way to see the birth place of the Titanic which was very interesting and it ticked a box for Ross as he really wanted to see this because he had to sit through the movie (I still have not seen it and have no desire) but seriously it was an excellent tour and should be worth going to see when they have finished the new museum in 2012. It was the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Titanic this month so there was a lot going on around Belfast. We grabbed an early night as we had to get up early in the morning to make it to our B & B in Portstewart where the Northwest 200 had started so that we could get in before the race track closed at 9.30am.
Thursday 19th May
The All day Chubby.
Like a big kid on Xmas morning Ross was up packed and on the road by 7am (one of our earliest mornings) and on our way to Northwest 200 and the closer we got the more excited he became, so you can imagine what happened when we actually rode onto the northwest track. This was the start of the all day chubby. Although we arrived hours earlier than our book in time at our B&B Rosie allowed us to check in and even provided us with a light breakfast and made us feel so welcome. Rosie even organized a lift to the start finish line before the road closed and we enjoyed the rest of day with fast bikes, saying G’day to Cameron Donald and glimpses of other top riders like Guy Martin, Alistair Sealy. The videos explain most of the day.
The night partied on at the Anchor until 1am and we managed to find our way back to our room even though we were both a bit pissy.
Friday 20th May
I should hand over to Ross because this was yet another day which he knows more about than me.
Ok then, Ross here it’s a rest day before the race starts tomorrow so we start the day a bit late due to a little bit of a hangover then head out on the Bird for a look see. As you do we started with a full lap of the Northwest 200 circuit with the Bird getting a fist full of throttle down the main straight before the speed limiter cut in (smack up the side of the head from Tess). We then checked out the entertainment at the pits area then thought we would go check out the Northwest 200 museum in Ballymoney about 15km away. The ride along the coast was absolutely awesome with windy roads along white cliffs then we came across yet another castle perched right on the cliffs edge which we stopped for a look see. There were thousands of bikes along this bit or road with the sound of high performance machines getting thrashed ringing through the mountains so we jumped back on the Bird & joined in on the fun. We then headed off to Ballymoney which we found out is the home town of motorcycling legend Joey Dunlop. We checked out the museum then paid our respects to the late Joey Dunlop at his memorial along with hundreds of other fellow bikers. We then found his little pub just down the road but we were a still a bit seedy from the partying the night before so had to forgo the pint of Guinness. Short ride back to our B & B in Portstewart for a little nana nap & then of to watch the nights fireworks fired of from a castle on the cliffs overlooking Portstewart promenade, some were even being fired of from under the water.
Sat 21st May
Well the weather man was correct unfortunately for a change with the weather being really bad with strong winds, freezing cold & persistent rain. Despite the conditions the first race got underway but with a different format with the 600’s going first instead of the superbikes due to the crappy conditions. The race was a cracker with Cameron Donald nearly breaking his duck with a full on battle with Alistair Sealy but he ended up coming in a close second. Then the bomb scare.
Being in Northern Ireland they take their bomb scares very seriously so the whole paddock & grand stands were totally evacuated us included. As we walked out the back gates with Alistair Sealy right beside us I spotted Bruce Anstey (the Kiwi) with a donna wrapped around him so I had to give a little shit about being a bit soft which he took in good humor. The good humor continued while we waited with lots of jokes flying around and an occasional break into song with the crowds cheering on. Well time to get back to racing.
Superbikes were next with a different format of 2 sighting laps then 4 race laps so they can work out the very wet conditions. First lap around I was the first one to spot that Ryan Farquhar’s Kawasaki had an engine blow along the coast road which ended up with a red flag as there was a considerable lot of oil spilt over a very long section of track. The hours past sitting in the feral conditions waiting for the clean up to finish but after Guy Martin went to inspect the track a meeting was held with the track officials with the conclusion being to cancel the rest of the meeting. This is the first time this has happened in the 80 odd years the race has been held & we traveled right across the world to witness it, oh well life is an adventure isn’t it?
We then meet up with a few local lads back at the B & B witch ended up with a very boozy night down the pub with Tess & I leading them astray with
Sun 22nd May
Of to Bonne Scotland
Late start again due to the previous boozy night but we had most of the day to get down to Larne for the ferry across to Troon in Scotland. We gave Dennis the GPS the day of & just winged it down the coast. OMG what an awesome piece of road, one of the best I have ever ridden, the best fun you can have with your leathers on. We were not the only ones who knew this road as there were hundreds of other bikes doing the same thing which made the ferry across to Scotland a couple hours late due to 200 plus bikes to strap down. Oh & the ferry across was a made in Tasmania Incat too. We arrived very late in Troon so we went straight to the camp site I had found on the internet. Unfortunately it was like the Scottish version of wolf creek so we went off in search of something better. We finally found a spot just south of Ayr with a fellow Aussie biker camped there too so that was us for the night.
Mon 23rd may
With Gale force winds predicted for today we set off to our next destination of Loch Lomond, due to Ross forgetting to plug in Denis we did a detour to Glasgow and went throw the city centre without GPS or Map. On approach to our final destination the Gale force winds really picked up and were close to a Cat 1 of 2 Cyclone winds and we were glad when we finally arrived at our camp site. After pitching the tent we decided to go into town to pick up our supplies for the night, this in its self proved to be rather dangerous as the bike did step out on the front wheel from the strong winds and on our way back to the camp site there was a tree across the road which we had to move so that we could carry on down the road, luck for us we got back in one piece and the owner of the site said we could bunk out in the wash room due to the bad weather.
Tues 24th May
Becoming a King of Scotland
The wind had abated and we had planned the day and first we were going to find the Donadd hill Fort where the first capital of Scotland was and the Kings placed their foot in the footprint of the kings to marry themselves to the land. Getting to Donadd was spectacular, rolling through the highlands in between squalls of rain and weaving our way around Lochs with beautiful scenery everywhere. I need to learn to hit Ross harder when I want him to stop so that I can take photos as he was enjoying himself to much with the riding to see photo opportunities. We stopped for morning tea at Square Peg sandwich bar and the lady inside directed us to Donadd Hill Fort and also told us her daughter was working in Cairns back home (small world). We climbed Donadd Hill Fort and Ross became King of Scotland and then it Hailed ( do you think Scotland is trying to tell us something?). We then let the Bird loose on some amazing roads and I even let out a woohoo. At last we reached our next camp site and setup tent and fire because it was very cold in the Highlands of Scotland.
16.05.2011 - 16.05.2011 14 °C
Monday 16th May
The Haunting of Leap Castle
We were finally going to Leap castle to check out the most haunted place in the world, after saying goodbye to our new American friends at our B&B we rode back to Leap Castle which was even more impressive coming from another direction. Once there we skyped the kids so that they could see what we were seeing first hand and they were in awe and loved what they saw.
We greeted Sean as he drove in the driveway with a load of fire wood and he invited us into his castle were we sat in front of the fire place and made small talk about where we were from and a little background of the Castle. Sean then said we could go and have a look at the upper floors but he could not go as he was waiting on a phone call, so we ventured up on our own. The spiral uneven stair case was very eerie and the creaking of the door into the main dining room was great and the whole feel of the place was awesome (check video and pictures). We then ventured up to the top floor and needed a light to see the stairs going up and opened the door onto the cathedral floor and where most of the haunting come from and where the pit is located, I personally could not bring myself to look down this pit it just felt awful. As we were looking around we heard another car pull up the driveway and looked down to see our American friends Dallas and Sara and we called out and gave them a bit of a scare Hehehehe.
Now it was time to find our camp ground for the coming evening, this trip was very enjoyable with windy roads across the beautiful country side. When we eventually came to our camp site it was next to a lake and no one was attending the office and it looked very empty so we decided to find the closest town and maybe find an alternative place and that is when we discovered Trim and Brogans inn and the cool castle in the middle of the town.
Another great day was coming to an end and we were enjoying every moment.