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You Can't Ride Around With A Tiger On Your Bike One man-cub, one motorbike. And a tiger-striped poncho, just in case.

Scotland, & FREEDOOOOMM!! Haha.

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 16 October 2011 | Views [705]

Me, arriving in Scotland, wheeee! Look how happy I am under the neck-warmy thing and helmet! So happy. Ahhh, those were the days... day..

Me, arriving in Scotland, wheeee! Look how happy I am under the neck-warmy thing and helmet! So happy. Ahhh, those were the days... day..

Tom Church, a monument mason, created a statue of Sir William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero who was a leader in the Scottish Wars of Independence. He was (Tom Church, not William Wallace) greatly inspired by the film 'Braveheart', starring Mel Gibson as Wallace, so carved a 4 meter 12 tonne statue of Mel Gibsons depiction of Wallace, and had it placed out in the carpark of the National Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland. It is one of the most loathed pieces of public art in Scotland, every local I've asked is absolutely disgusted with it. The Mel Gibson statue. A piece of crap, and unfortunately it was removed before I could take a pic and LMFAO.

After my few days rest in Keswick, I decided to make the run up to Scotland, and head North-east to the capital city, Edinburgh. Checking my bank balance at an ATM on my way out, I discovered actually how dangerously low I was. Around £500 which is perhaps $770AUD, it ain't a lot of money to sustain my adventure, even when I cut out the drinking at pubs every night, which is what I had to do now lest I be stranded up North. I had put around 1,100 kilometers on the clock and the next bike service was due at 2,500 so I found my 'adventure without boundaries' to be restricted for the first time. It's not a good feeling at all being held back after having come so far. Still, jumping on the bike cheered me up, as riding motorcycles always has. Except when I crash, or registration is due.

It was a really nice ride up to the border of Scotland, scenic and such, but it was definitely getting noticeably colder. There is no actual border crossing or toll booth, they don't stamp my passport, which is a shame because I want proof of having been there! Maybe i'll bring back a souvenir. The Loch Ness monster, in a bucket in the sidecar. No, better still, some Scotch whisky! Like shampaggin which can only be called shampaggin if made in the Champagne region of France, Scotch whisky is just whisky if made anywhere other than Scotland. Americans spell it 'whiskEy', bloody Americans..

I made it to Edinburgh in the late afternoon, it is an incredible city, immediately stole my heart with its cobblestone lanes and twisty-turny streets and bent buildings and the massive Edinburgh castle which I first saw when I came around a corner and it was immediately above me on a steep cliff-face, in the center of the city. Very impressive. But extremely tourist-y, pesky tourists were everywhere, photographing men in tartan skirts, buying rubbish to send home to people they didn't really like (oh look a spoon with a picture of a castle, wow all my distant relatives would totally appreciate this) and generally ruining my chi. It was getting dark and I hadn't teed up any accommodation so I decided to try my hand at camping in the wilds (they're the green bits on the GPS map) so I hiked it out of Edinburgh to find a patch of grass hidden from the road to set up my kip-station. Alas, fences fences everywhere, private land and private fields that smelled of poo. I tried a few national parks on the outskirts of Edinburgh but there was nowhere off the beaten track, the road just ended in carparks where losers in crummy hatchbacks came to make out or break up or just stare at the strange chap with the strange bike. I ended up driving down a small country lane and pulling over onto the grass by the road, too frustrated to care whether or not it was legal or dangerous. Still to this day I ain't sure if I was allowed to camp there... The UK is pathetic when it comes to keeping the public informed of all the rules and regulations they expect us to follow. Pasta and coffee for dinner, then I called it a night. Don't have coffee for dinner unless you plan to stay up for four hours reading a book. I didn't have a book to read. Yawn.

In the morning after another coffee that tasted like toothpaste (don't understand why people brush their teeth before eating brektus) I rode into town on my white pony to find somewhere to charge phone. A lovely French cafe helped me out here while I sat drinking cups of very decent coffee. It was only once I'd left an hour later that I realised they never turned on the power at the wall so my phone wasn't charged. No wonder the English hate the French. And upon returning to my bike, I found wrapped around the handlebar a yellow piece of paper secured with a rubber band. NOOOOO PARKING TICKET AAAAAARGH DAMNooh nono this ain't a ticket, it was a note left by someone who had the same bike as me and wanted to get in touch. I still have the note with me but every time I think of it I remember how I panicked due to thinking I got a ticket, so I don't call the bastard. What a cruel trick to play on a poor traveler! Honestly, that man is a prick bastard! Ooooh so angry!! >_<

I had to had to had to charge my phone so's I could use map to pinpoint next destination, wherever that may be, and a tiny cafe that reminded me of Melbourne (except for the extremely hot, milky coffee) helped me out with that while I worked on fixing the boot lock of my bike which didn't lock. With my failing finances foremost in my mind, I was feeling really disillusioned with the whole trip and didn't know whether to stay the night in a hostel, or perhaps even limp back to England in defeat and sell the bike which seemed to make so much sense because all my money was tied up in it, and if I had that money, a substantial sum, I could buy a Mini Cooper or a funky VW Combi and travel Europe in comfort with more than enough money left over to do India or perhaps go back home to Ostraya. Gosh I felt so loney and depressed.. It's hard when your path isn't mapped out for you, too many options for someone like me who hates making decisions really ain't healthy.

It was at that moment when I was sitting on the sidecar wheel arch chowing on a bread and cheese sammich, that an old man with more gold than teeth in his head came up to me and started chatting about how much he liked the motorbike. He had a thick Scottish accent, asked where I came from, I said 'England', he said 'Fuck the English', then told me where to go. I mean, not where to go, but places I should head to after Edinburgh. His ancestors had sunk the pillars of the Forth Bridge, that spanned the Firth of Forth (haha, it's the name of the ocean inlet that cuts Edinburgh off from the north of Scotland) and he recommended I cross it and go east towards Kircaldy and St Andrews, villages on the east coast that he promised were very pretty. He lied, I'd seen better. He left me with a newfound sense of purpose which really brightened my spirits. He returned a few minutes later with a map he'd found in the bin, or perhaps bought me as a gift from the coffee shop that don't sell maps, so kind! Now I had direction, I was ready to adventurise again, to hell with the money, I'll worry about the future when it gets here.

Time to head north, find a place to camp before night, and maybe wash my socks, they really really smell. Bad.

 

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