Day One: Wednesday 23rd May
Musselburgh, Scotland to Hull, England
Distance: 256 miles / 412 km
Song for today: Teardrop : Massive Attack
Having loaded up the panniers the night before, all I had to do was drag the Triumph Sprint out of the shed, fire it up and ride down to Hull to meet up with the others so that we could all arrive at the ferry together. At least that was the plan.
|All loaded and ready to roll|
On arriving in Hull at a local supermarket (fuel and food in one convenient place), I met up with Norrie (MZ Skorpion Traveller) who had been there for some time having been up with the larks and away before most folk had even rolled out of their beds. Next to appear was Gareth (Derbi Mulhacén Café 659). He'd earlier stopped for Terry at the side of the road who'd been having electrical problems with fuses blowing all over the place. When Terry (MZ Skorpion Tour) finally did arrive he was unsure if he should proceed. His bike was now working, sort of, but any recurrence of its earlier behaviour didn’t bode well for a 1000 mile return trip across Europe. Eventually, the decision was made for him when he ground to a halt about 500 yards from the supermarket as we were making our way to the ferry port. His holiday was over before it really begun and he ended the day on the back of a recovery wagon. So, it was just the three of us who made the boat in the end.
|The first round|
What can I say about a ferry crossing? Well, there's a big boat, you go on board and strap down your bike in the hold, climb about a zillion stairs to the passenger accommodation in all your bike gear, drop everything off in your tiny cabin and then shower and change before heading for a well-deserved beer or two. That's about it, really.
|Trying to remember how to tie knots|
One thing of note, and not a good thing, was that for this route P&O ferries consider it adequate to throw some lengths of greasy rope at you and leave you to try and tie your bike down yourself. The crossing was calm, so no harm done, but that's not the point. Motorcyclists are paying customers too. Considering that most motorcycles cost as much as a family car these days, and that the older British bikes on board were probably worth considerably more, if only to their owners, I find this sort of treatment hard to fathom. Would it kill them to be a bit better prepared? It’s not as if they never carry bikes and don’t know the score here. Oh, well, I'll just have to start travelling with proper tie-downs again, which is a bit of a pain as they take up valuable room in your luggage.