Tuesday, March 21, 2017

FES2014

France - England - Scotland - Netherlands




Paris, city of love, but this love seems to manifest itself today in security locks, is there still room for revolution, longing, seduction and romance associated with this city :).

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Since I visited Paris on previous holidays, (Von M√ľnchen nach Paris 2010, Frankreich im Mai 2013) I leave the city quite quickly in a westerly direction.

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On track of the 120 years old cycling event Paris-Brest(-Paris) I cycle colorful through France

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to Roscoff. This route is pleasant to cycle, but does not offer too many tourist attractions. However I already visited places further north in 2011 on another Tour de France and wanted to use the first days simply to "get started". Lovely landscape, good food, no stress...
On the evening of April 13th I was in Roscoff and the next morning I take the ferry to Plymouth on the south coast of England.

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my equipment

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Tent, stove, and another backpack, which hides in the bag across the carrier, for the hikes on the way.
Leaving Plymouth I cycled through the hilly landscape of Dartmoor.

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Some farms open the meadows for tents, those were my favourite camping spots.

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Exeter and the Blackdown Hills with best weather possible and in full bloom.

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In Glastonbury were too many tourists in front of the abbey, so I left King Arthur, Avalon, the sheep and neodruidism behind me.

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Oxford, city of dreaming spires.

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Through the heart of England, Cotswolds, in Miss Marple's footsteps; many parked cars disturbed the cityscape in Chipping Campden to some extent.

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In Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the Bard of Avon is the main attraction for tourists. The weather was a bit hazy that day.

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Easter. and I wasn't the only one looking forward to the Peak District, the A515 behind Burton-on-Trent to Ashbourne was horrible busy that day.
In England I saw significantly more old-timer cars driving around than here in Germany.

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I passed by big cities like Manchester to avoid the city traffic and visited the Yorkshire Dales after the Peak District.

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This year, 2014, the Tour de France in England will start there.

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The weather in England continued to be fantastic, with some rain at night now and then, but during the day I didn't get wet once in April.

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From the Yorkshire Dales I passed seamlessly into the Lake District, which I didn't have for myself on Easter Sunday. Via Carlisle towards Galloway

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and between Ayr and Ardrossan I tried a signposted cycle path, which lead me all over the area for hours. In the evening by ferry to the island of Arran, which offers almost everything that distinguishes Scotland, including a whisky distillery in Lochranza.

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The next day by ferry to Claonaig and on Kintyre north to Oban.

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The weather got a bit cloudy when I walked up Ben Nevis during the day, but it is cloudy for most of the year anyway. From 1100m on a continuous snow field began and the visibility dropped to 20m. On top from a small windbreak, I took a snapshot with my mobile phone. In my shorts and cycling shoes I found myself, compared to many other mountaineers equipped with gaiters, crampons and ice axe, somewhat "underdressed".

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On the "Road to the Isles" along a nice railway line and Glenfinnan Monument and various Viaducts to Mallaig. From there a ferry to the Isle of Skye.

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The next day a tour around the peninsula Skye, which I left in the evening over the Skyebridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh to Eilean Donan Castle.



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Right opposite the campground there was a small bakery and the fresh bread in the early morning brought me to Ullapool, because tea rooms or other shopping facilities were scarce on my route there.

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Actually I hadn't even planned the north coast in my trip, but after meeting some end-to-end cyclists (Land's End to John O'Groats) and an 80 year old who hiked this route on foot with a little wagon he pulled behind him (and was now on his way back) I also wanted to reach at least the north coast of Scotland and drove from Ullapool to Durness via the Kylesku Bridge.

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Durness has several award-winning beaches and a John Lennon monument, because he spent some vacations here in his youth.

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Shortly before Tongue a spoke in the front wheel broke, I had some spare parts with me and on such a sunny day the screwing on the wheel makes isn't such a hassle. There wasn't much traffic on the A836 southbound.

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My supply of good weather was apparently exhausted when I visited Glen Affric, Drumnadrochit, Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness during the day, it was mostly cloudy and sometimes foggy. The way via Inverness, the Battlefield of Culloden, Cawdor Castle and to the south into the Cairngorms was rainy or even snow later.

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Via Balmoral and Braemar up to Devil's elbow the highest pass in Scotland, the second highest, Lecht, I cycled too. Pitlochry, and the Lochs Tay, Katrine and Lomond were on their way to Drymen. The campground there is close to the West Highland Way and there were surprisingly many hikers with their tents on that small farm.

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I mended a flat tire the next day in Stirling when I noticed that the sidewall of my tire was chafed up and during mounting there was bubonic plague. It was Sunday and it was raining and as I was cycling past the station in Stirling I decided to try my luck in Edinburgh and got on the train (8 pounds incl bike for about 60km). In Edinburgh I found bike shops that were open on Sundays. I happily left the shop with a spare coat to cycle to a campground just outside the city and change my coat there in peace. But 50m later: a bang and the old tire had burst open at the side. I had a spare hose with me.
In the afternoon I went to the Arthurs seat, a volcanic cone in the middle of the city and the next morning I cycled to Stirling in the morning, because I wanted to see the Firth of Forth bridge anyway...



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Next morning I spent in Edinburgh's Botanical Garden

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Along some historic railway lines and rivers you can cross the city quite quickly in Edinburgh.

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When the weather was bad, I hid myself in the museum.

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A bit south of Edinburgh I visited Rosslyn Chapel and the home of Schaf Dolly, stayed one last time directly at the Scottish border in Kielder and cycled along Hadrians Wall to Newcastle upon Tyne, where I could change my ferry ticket to todays sailing for a small fee.

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The Netherlands were a different world for cyclists, everywhere separated lanes for cars and bicycles and then this incredibly flatness across the whole country. France, England and Scotland had some more hills to offer.

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I spent the last day in the city of Amsterdam and boarded the night train from Amsterdam to Munich. But I hid most of the time in the museum, because only in the evening the rain stopped and I could take some pictures of Amsterdam after 5 pm.