Portmeirion, North Wales

This is the first post in a short series on my motorcycle tour of North Wales. I include a couple of links on the history of Portmeirion and the filming of the Prisoner, a cult 1960’s television series filmed there.

Portmeirion history.

The Prisoner

My Photo essay a walk through Portmeirion.

Parking the motorcycle in the car park and entering a place I recall from television. It was a little overcast but warm has I start my photo essay.

 

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Lets enter, notice the painted ceiling in the archway.

 

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One of the bikers I was travelling with.

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Tides out, the following photos off a young blackbird are taken at the railings on top of the round platform in the photograph.

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Moving on.

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Up into the village.

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Through the archway and into the gardens.

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I liked the scale this child gives to the chest pieces.

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A short climb back up into the village.

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A short stop to play my respects to the Buddha.

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He had a great view across the gardens from his lofty perch.

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some little teasers of  the garden has I make my way around the village.

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The garden from another view.

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It ‘s down hill from here, with a steep decline to the shore.

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Things aren’t always what they seem.

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With the last shot looking at the climb back up to the motorcycle, but not before a coffee and a short chat with other visitors.

Thank you for company on the walk around Portmeirion, Hope you enjoyed it and I’ll spare you the walk back up that hill. There are some longer walk in the grounds around Portmeirion, but walking in motorcycle gear is not recommended. Well that’s my excuse…

Feel free to comment, good or bad let me know, have a good weekend.

George.

 

 

 

 

 

Scotland part 5

 

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So on leaving Tongue I continued west across the north coast with the rain closing in fast. not much chance of any photos this morning. Had the roads to myself except for the sheep. Following the road around through Hope and around the shore of Loch Eriboll a small window in the rain. With the sun showing it’s face I got a couple of shots.

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The dry spell didn’t last long and it was back to the liquid sunshine.  The road around the loch brings me to Durness. Its from this point I turn more to the south west and leave the north coast behind, hid from view in the low cloud and rain. Following the roads through the Highlands was pure joy even in the wet. pulling into a small parking spot overlooking a valley with a fast flowing river. I sat and watched the river slow has it widen in the valley floor. With the rain and wind I was looking at what helped shape the landscape around me. Sitting there the weather felt just right. It was part of this landscape. I realised I was looking at the real highlands and they are beautiful.

Continuing on south to Unapool I turned of onto a small single track road that follows the coast around to Lochinver. It was along this stretch the weather showed signs of improvement. Getting into Lochinver it had dried up and a much needed coffee was enjoyed. The bike topped up with fuel, time for a few more miles. Again sticking to the single track roads around the coast and dry roads for a change, the camera came out from hiding. Here’s a few more shots not in any order from this leg.

 

 

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Then it was down into Ullapool and a B&B. Bags unloaded and it was into town for a meal. It was when I had parked up and about to get off the bike a voice to my left asked it I was part of the BMW club that was meeting there. I replied I wasn’t . The voice belong to a female from the Shetland Islands. Sorry I can’t remember your name for it was a German name. We chatted for a while and then she left to find the BMW club riders and  has normal we exchanged email address in case her and hubby are every in Ireland or me in the Shetlands. A hot shower and it’s where I leave you on this leg of the trip for a comfy bed and a night sleep. Catch you on the next leg.

Thank you for visiting and  have a lovely weekend.

ATB George

 

 

 

 

Scotland part 4

So leaving Dornoch its north toward Wick  where its time o refuel the motorcycle. Stopping on the outskirts of the town I refuel myself. Coffee and a sandwich while checking the map, I plan my route for the rest of the day. Time to ride north has far has I can.

Scotland Map_LI (4).jpgThat place is John O’ Groats, It’s the point in Scotland you have to turn west or swim.

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Bar the small harbour and the most photographed signpost in Scotland. The rest is souvenir shops, cafes and a hotel. So while the sun is shining I turn west. A short ride west and it’s a right turn to the UK’s most northerly point, Dunnet Head.

Scotland-117.jpg   Dunnet Head lighthouse.

 

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From here it was onto Thurso and the weather turn’s sour. Turning left to see some of the Highlands on it many of single track roads. The cloud was low and the view was the road ahead with tantalizing view’s . Then the curtain of rain would close and all that’s left is the road. I spotted a bird of prey close by, bike stopped and was looking for it when a pick-up pulled in and a man inquires if all is okay. I point out the bird and he tell’s me its an eagle. A first for me, my day been’s made, rain can’t dampen that. After that I covered another 80 miles or so. Rain is now persistent and the wind is doing it’s best to remove me from the road. My next stop for the day is Tongue where a warm and dry B&B greets me. Tigh-Nan-Ubhal Guesthouse lovely hosts and a homely feel to the place, plus they didn’t even blink at the puddle that was forming around me in the hallway. !0 out of 10 from me. Link below.

Guest House

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A damp morning greets me and with a full tank another day begin’s. I leave with a view looking back at the misty Highlands with the sands and waters of Tongue in the foreground.

Next post see’s the north coast completed and starting down the west side of Scotland. Thank you for viewing.

George.

Scotland part 3

At this point I’m back home in Ireland, sorry for the delay in posting. There’s no internet connection in the tent.  Right lets travel a little more up the east coast of Scotland. This was a long day in the saddle. With shower’s and some bright spells, it was a day for the road. I travelled away from the coast on a route that took me into the highlands moors and mountains. These roads where all single track and covered around 60 mile before I returned to the coast. And turned south for 20 mile to my bed for the night.

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The route in red is the roads covered. I finished the day at a Bed & Breakfast in the town of Dornock. A word about my B & B, Amalfi B&B in Dornoch. The greeting when I arrived was one of the warmest I have ever received. Marelle and Edward helping with my luggage , supplying a metal plate so the motorcycle was supported on the gravel parking area. Great advice on where to eat in the town, beautiful rooms and  large en suite meant I was well catered for. If you are ever in this part of Scotland here is the link. Amalfi.

Thank you Marelle and Edward.

I’m going to leave you with a few Photograph’s from this leg of the trim. Thank you for visiting.

 

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Thank you for your support.

George.

Scotland my trip. part 1

So on leaving the Peak district and heading north, destination Scotland. I travelled up through the middle of England and called at friends, the things you do for a free cuppa. With heavy showers of rain and a few bright sunny spells I stopped of in a town on the east coast. Seahouses is the name of the town on the Sunderland coast. The B&B I stayed in was the…

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Modern well decorated rooms with ensuite  has advertised. Nice place but I think was over priced. Leaving Seahouses it was up the coast to the town of Bamburgh. I stop and walking through the sand dune’s I saw Bamburgh castle.

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It was shortly after this the weather closed in and the heavy rain returns. This you will find been a pattern during this trip, There are days where I got no photographs taken. So let’s get back on the road. I continued north that day travelling has close to the coast at all times . Through Edinburgh which was slow going due to road works and restricted speed limits. Through Dundee and my final town for the day was Arbroath. It was another few mile to my camp site for the night at Foresterseat Caravan Park. 

It was the cleanest site I have ever stayed on, had a lovely spot for the tent well sheltered from the wind.  I awoke the next morning with a rising sun slowly creeping up the tent wall.

During the night I answered a few questions for a friend and put my phone away. the next morning it had died. It passed away during the night. It was a case of drinking to much water over the last few days and it had drown. The best part of a day was sorting out a new phone and getting a new sim card with my number etc moved over.

Another wet day and I got a pitch right beside the sea shore, I went to sleep with the sound of the waves washing up the shore. And the sound of rain drumming softly on the tent.

Part 2 will get here some time, depending on where I am and the availability of wifi to access the internet.

Thank you for visiting.

George

 

Where’s my tent, I’m away

So work was boring and I needed to get away on the  motorcycle. Great for clearing the head. So after work Friday and the bike loaded I head for County Galway. Clifden to be correct. Leaving Belfast at 11.30 am I made it to Clifden camping site around 7.20 pm. Finding a peaceful corner on the site was hard but given that most people don’t want to be to far from the restroom, I headed to the farthest corner and home for the night.

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The ground was a little soft from the rain but peace was found. a shower and into town for a meal. The town was busy and finding a table in the town was proving harder that finding a peaceful corner on the camp site. O’Mally’s restaurant had a table and I count myself lucky. A minute later there was seven people standing looking tables. With a grand meal and a pint of beer at the bar after it was time to face the walk up hill back to the tent. With a slight dampness in the warm night air the Irish midge was out in force. These little flies are so small but I think they are just a set of teeth with wings the way they bite.

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Clifden nested in the valley with the Twelve Ben’s/Pin’s standing guard in the background.

Saturday saw me packed up and leaving for a ride north up the around the County Mayo coast but first I ride out the Sky road loop.

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Has you can see it was a grey overcast start, this photo was taken just after 9am and a warm breeze pushing in the cloud. Back through Clifden and out the Westport road towards Mayo county.With the roads starting to get busy with tourist following the  Wild Atlantic way  .  A few miles out the road and  I follow the Connemara loop at Letterflack back onto the N59. After passing through Leenane its left onto the R335 and I’m into county Mayo .

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With my feet in mayo and my camera pointing at Leenane in Galway it sits in shadow has the rising sun lights the hills behind. Any one that drives the roads around the west of Ireland can tell you about sheep, they sleep, feed and rest on the road sides. A danger to cars but deadly to motorcyclist, but so far I have never had a problem with them till today. A young sheep decided to cross the road just has I was passing, well lets just say it was close and thankfully there was no on coming traffic. While taking a photo, one of it’s kind was a few feet away watching. Meet one of county Mayo’s  many sheep.

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So on up through Newport and around to the town of Mallaranny and out onto the Corraun Peninsula.  Just off the coast of the peninsula are two islands.

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The larger one in the background is Clare Island and the one in the foreground is Achillbeg island.

So at this point I changed my SD card, and here my photographs have to end. I could not access the card due to an error.

A quick note on the rest off the trip. I continued north through Mayo up to Bangor before turning north-west to Belmullet. Turning east on the R314 across the northern coast around to the town of Ballina. Across into county Sligo and stopping at the Beach Hut Bar and campsite for the night. This morning it was across Sligo and up into Northern Ireland and a three hour ride home. Clean and sort my gear, dry and pack the tent and then discover my faulty SD card.

Thank you for joining me on this weekend trip, a total of 653 miles. Lets do it again soon.

George

 

 

Irish photo Rally 2017

A beautiful morning greeted me on awaking, sun lighting up the bedroom and birds singing. Shower and dressed I was ready for the road. Open vents in my jacket and sort light weight gloves, fire up the bike and I’m off. Four mile up the road and I’m riding in thick fog, forty miles later and I’m still in it. My first point today is on the north coast of Ireland, its number 2 on the rally map . Portstewart harbour and the Jimmy Kennedy memorial. The Fishing boat.

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Has you can see it was a gray day here, in fact its rain lightly. Jimmy kennedy was a song writer born in Northern Ireland, wrote songs sung by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other great singers. Jimmy Kennedy There’s an art gallery and cafe across the road so a cup of coffee and its time to go. Head across the north coast towards the east coast and follow it south. A short ride over to Portrush take me along part of the North West 200 road race. The track is along public roads which they close while the motorcycle races are taking place. Speeds in access of 200 mph / 321kph are hit on parts of the circuit. Heres a link to a You Tube clip of the racing. NW 200 .

Leaving Portrush for the coast road running down the east side of the country the rain is falling but the sky is clear ahead.  The first town I come to is Bushmills. For any whisky drinkers out there this is where the famous Bushmills whisky is distilled. Bushmills . Okay for those that opened the link, I thought you might enjoy the it. Turning left in the centre of town and continue along the coastal route. Today I give the town of Dunseverick a miss and turn off for Ballintoy harbour.  Down pass the small white church and follow the narrow winding road down to the harbour.

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Just before you turn down into harbour you pass ‘Bendhu’, this house was built by a artist from Cornwall in the south of England. Another link Bendhu . Please visit this link to see and learn about this piece of art.

A coffee and a chat with a couple from Hungary touring on a motorcycle and its time to continue south. Has you climb out of Ballintoy village you pass the Carrick-na-reed rope bridge.

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The next town on route it Ballycastle. Every year they have Irelands oldest fair here in August, The Auld Lammas Fair is held over two days. Six miles off the coast is the island of Rathlin. A beautiful island where you can walk on roads and never see any traffic. There are three lighthouses on the island with one being a bird sanctuary where  sea bird come to breed every year.  Getting across is on a small ferry, foot passage only.

Out of town and I go down a small road that splits the golf course in two, and pull over to look across at Rathlin and the Scottish hills. Rarhlin was just showing through the sea mist and Scotland could not be seen.

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This is Ballycastle beach looking back towards the town. Has the photo shows it was still cloudy but warm and dry. The hills in the background is north and the road I traveled down follows them. South and I take the Tor head road that hugs the rugged coast with fantastic views across the Irish sea into Scotland. will there would be if this sea mist clears. Next stop is Murlough, a viewing point with great sea views.

 

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This shot see’s the mist clearing and the sun has dropped in to say hello. That is one of Rathlin Islands lighthouse’s in the mid ground and Scotland in the background. Scotland is only 13 mile across from Ireland at this point. From here its follow the road around around to Cushendun where there is a grand little tea room beside the harbour. No luck this time for it is full so needing fuel I head on to Cushendall. While stopped for fuel my sister and hubby stopped. Never know who you meet…. great to see them. My next point is inland a few miles from Ballygally, another small seaside town. This time its up into the hills and another view point and my rally point. A plaque To Judge Richard Campbell (1870-1935) link It was non stop down the coast road to Larne. If you ride a motorcycle this ranks has one of the great motorcyclist road in the world. Sandwiched between rock face and just a stone wall with the sea lapping on the other side it makes some riders nervous and others love the thrill of riding this fast.  From Larne I follow the coast around through Carrickfergus. There is a Norman castle here worth a visit if you happen to be passing this way. Castle.

From Carrick has we call it here in the north it was onto Belfast and Stop for a coffee. From Belfast it over to Comber on the shore of Strangford lough and follow the lough shore around to Mahee Island. These small isles are connected with man made causeways. And this time it Mahee/Hendrum castle is the rally photo. The temperature has climbed and now when I stop the jacket has to come off.

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With the sky clear and the sun high its not great for photography.  But its the last for this trip, I strap the jacket to the bike and its tee shirt and sunshine for the trip back home.

A few hundred metre’s from here is  Nendrum Monastic site, with some great views and the remains of an old Monastery dating  back to the 5th century. But that will be another trip and post.

Thank you all for visiting.

 

 

 

 

Irish Photo rally 2017

Started doing the first photo points on the IPR this year. There’s a link here  which shows the map and rally points. You can do them in any order and have a few months to complete them. My first was number 8 on the map.

 

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Moylough Castle or Church

Then traveling south it was number 7 next, Ballinahowen Tree Sculptures

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There are a few of these tree sculptures here so will do a post about these soon.

Still heading south to the next one number 13 on the map it was another tree sculpture in Banagher. It is called The  Musician (J McEvoy) link

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Heres a link with Johnny McEvoy singing The Ballad of Jack Reilly.

Then it was over to the town of Tullamore to see a friend and enjoy a coffee. Back on the road home in the evening sun with just short of two hundred miles covered, the buzz of riding is still there even after forty years of motorcycling.

Thank you for visiting

 

 

Irish Photo Rally 2016

For a number of years I and many others do the Irish Photo Rally. Motorcyclist from all over Ireland and further afield travel around Ireland photographing their motorcycles at the given locations. So with it being a lovely spring afternoon I thought I would make a start on this years rally. With the bike ready and camera loaded off I went to Ballydugan Mill. Ballydugan Mill

This is number 4 on the rally map but there is no order in which they have to be completed. So arriving early evening and the sun still shining this is my photo for this entry. photo rally link

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So with my first photo in the bag I decided to travel a few more mile around the County Down coast. My next stop was at the lighthouse on Saint John’s Point. This was a photo rally point a few years ago.

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The view across the sea to the Mourne Mountains is beautiful from the shore on the other side of the lighthouse. Back on the single track road and I stopped for another photo across the bay.

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With the rays of sunshine breaking through the clouds and mountains has a backdrop had to get a shot here. There is a sandy beach a mile along the road that’s popular with families young and old. My next stop was the fishing port of Ardglass where a cup of coffee had my name on it. Sat in the evening sun and and watched the gulls put on a flying display over the harbour. No photos here, this village needs a day spent here for there is so much to see.  Coffee and it’s off I go again this time heading for the town of Strangford. Here the ferry runs across the lough to Portaferry on the Ards  peninsula. Strangford

With the last of the evening sun I stopped off at Kilclief Castle  Kilclief Castle

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With the sun dropping and the temperature going the same way it way time to head home. With just over  a hours ride home its was dark and cold.  Time for a hot shower, a coffee and a look over my photographs before hitting the sack.(bed) It was a grand afternoon out, time to plan my next one.

Will be bring you a few more views from around Ireland over the next few months has my journey around the rally map continues.

Thank you for visiting