When traveling on a motorbike the luggage must be limited to a minimum. And that’s what we did. To our surprise, in a positive sense, we took all the necessary items. We missed nothing. And everything worked perfectly well, though not everything was necessary. (Bear in mind that this is our first serious trip.). Our intuition has not failed, what made us happy of course.
Here is the list our equipment:
- tent, sleeping bags (warm ones, as the nights are often cold in Scotland)
- airbeds (small, thin and simplest ones, they take up little space compared eg. to the foam pads, and are more comfortable, in the beginning we weren’t satisfied with them, but in the end we are very pleased with them)
- rain suits
- towels, clothes, toiletries – reduced to a minimum (first pack what is necessary and then you can fill up with more clothes)
- First Aid kit – fortunately not needed
- map of Scotland and road atlas of England (pocket size)
- gas bottles (2 x 240 ml, but one was sufficient), lighter, backpack stove – for the purpose of making tea
- small, metal kettle – our silent hero
- 2 metal mugs (do not buy vacuum mugs with the intention of boiling water in them – they just keep drinks warm)
- cutlery (sharp knife!!!)
- torch – totally unnecessary, because the nights in Scotland are very bright, unless someone intend to read books at night
- mobile phone, phone car charger
- SatNav – proved very useful when getting through the tangle of roads and motorways around Glasgow
- extra pair of shoes
- some food (everything can be bought on the way)
- photo camera (plus spare battery and charger, which however turned out to be unnecessary)
- tea (ideal for cold evenings and mornings)
- a good mood :)
We took a tent with the intention of setting camps somewhere in the wild and we only planned to spend a few nights in a hostel or B&B. It turned out a little differently. This was due to several factors. Namely: with a motorbike there is a problem that you can’t drive in and park everywhere. On the first night we decided to stay on a campsite. It turned out to be a great idea. Campsites in Scotland (in England is the same) are very well equipped. For the price of about £4 to £6 per person you have access to all the amenities: bathroom (with showers and hot water), laundry, sinks and sometimes even irons are provided. I think that for the price it is a reasonable choice. We stayed on campsites for the rest of our trip. They have one more advantage: you can leave your tent with all the stuff inside unattended and explore the area. Sometimes we were lucky to “appropriate” a picnic table for the time we stayed at campsite, and that was all we needed.
Once we had a problem finding a campsite. This was because it turned out to be a small, fenced meadow somewhere in the village on the hill. It was free, but there were no amenities (like toilet). One more remark, it is worthwhile to have a map on which campsites are marked. There are quite a few of them in Scotland and they offer different standards depending on the price.
Our philosophy (contrary to many people) is to stay overnight on the campsite to be able to travel, not to travel to stay on the campsite…
The Scottish roads represent various standards. Although in the far north there are not many roads so there is no option to choose from. We used Ordnance Survey Travel Map (Tour 12 – Scotland). This map has proved to be very good and it has gone through a lot during journey. You can see those 1746 miles on it. Anyway, the roads are very well marked.
In Scotland, we can name several types of roads:
– the “A” roads – perfect for bikers, you can drive ahead, admiring the amazing views
– the “B” roads, or those that do not have names – single lane roads, two-ways with passing places – … comfort of riding drops significantly (you need to be vigilant – cars from the opposite directions, numerous turns), but they provide a great driving experience and spectacular views all around
Wandering so many hundred miles, and especially in Scotland, we were aware that at any moment it can start raining. Therefore we had our rain suits always at the ready. Sometimes they protected us from the rain, sometimes from the wind and sometimes from the wind and rain. However, we can safely say, that the weather has spared us. There has been only one day with such heavy rain and strong wind, that we could not move out of the tent. Apart from that we actually didn’t put the rain suits on. But this is Scotland – unpredictable weather, especially when daily you travel tens of miles – you have to be prepared for everything. We have encountered rain, wind, sun, fog, (clouds!), warm, cold days and nights.