One reason for choosing this particular tour was that Richard and Jackie said they might be going on the trip at this time of year (coincides with Jackie's half term, she bravely teaches at a school for "difficult" children).
Peter (of Highland Rider) phoned me a few weeks before the 2005 NEC Motorcycle Show and asked me if I would like a complimentary ticket. Being a mean sort of person, I readily accepted, and the ticket duly arrived in the post a few days later. So, together with the free motorcycle parking at the Show, I could get in for free!
I found the Highland Rider stand, and there found Peter and Fiona. Peter as ever was deeply engrossed with a potential customer, but Fiona was merely taking a sneaky bite from a sandwich.
Last year, I found Les there, who had been on my 2004 Sky tour; this time Fiona introduced me to Julie, Les's wife, which was nice because I'd often been told what a brave girl she was, riding pillion with Les! She also thanked me for feeding Les on our 2004 homeward trip.
I asked Fiona whether Richard and Jackie had booked up, to be told that they had been to the Show a few days earlier and had indeed booked for the May/June Shetlands trip. So with no more ado, I sat myself down in the stand and filled in the booking form. Needless to say, Peter, a true Scot, extracted the deposit from my bank account as soon as he returned to Scotland!
Having been given an early birthday present of a Tomtom Rider GPS system, I could easily investigate various routes from Derby to Linlithgow, where Highland Rider is based, and where I would spend my first night.
There are obviously many possible routes, but sensibly it has to be either up the M6 or up the A1(M). All of them are about 300 miles give or take a few miles, and, according to Tomtom, all take between five and a half hours and six hours. Last time I returned from there, I came back on the A7 to the M6. The A7 was a very good ride, so I decided to go up that way this trip.
The journey was uneventful, traffic not too bad, weather cold, overcast and drizzly but OK. I set off about 9:30 and arrived at Peter's at about 16:30, having stopped once for fuel for the bike and once for fuel for me, so quite a good run.
Peter had bought himself a new car as a fun run-about. I suppose it's a sort of motorbike on four wheels. Since he got it, he bought himself a Road Angel. I wonder why?
Stayed overnight at the West Point Hotel. Peter books us in there because of its convenience, not its quality, but it's quite adequate. I met up with Stuart and Andrew (neither of whom I'd met before) and Ged and Janet who were there on my Hebrides trip last year.
Andrew's better half Chris was picked up from the Airport by Peter's wife Fiona.
|Next: Day 1 Linlithgow to Aberdeen|
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