‘Chelsea and Fulham’ Harley Davidson Owners Group ‘Castles and Coastlines Challenge 2020’

A road trip over mainland Europe is an essential requirement within my Chelsea and Fulham H.O.G chapter’s Precious Metal Rockers© scheme as a qualifier towards our silver award. With European road trips off the table due to Covid19 the chapter kindly set up an alternative one-off national based challenge that could stand in place of a continental trip. The aim of the challenge was to visit a number of castles, light houses and lifeboat stations.  Of course a challenge is a challenge and to achieve the qualifier a minimum of 6 locations and 500 miles had to be completed as a continuous journey.  Ideally the start date had to be Saturday 22nd August and the whole trip had a 2 week window in which to be completed.  As I’m still (thankfully) working through this crisis I had no option but to condense my ride into a single weekend.

NB: Apologies for the time-stamping on the photos but this was required as proof 😉

So I set off from London on Saturday morning…..  I would have liked to write here that this was at the crack of dawn when even the birds had yet to sing, but in reality I’m just not a morning person so read this as more like 11 am after a leisurely breakfast.  Also my route wasn’t planned as such – I simply loaded up the bike with a few overnight essentials and set off using Apple Maps to select my next destination once I’d reached the first.

Guildford Castle
My first stop was Guildford castle, build shortly after the Norman conquest of 1066 to secure an important route between London, the south coast and the west of England. Like most of the castles on my trip they were unfortunately closed to the public for obvious reasons. It looked like the trust were using lockdown as an opportunity to do some structural work.

My next stop killed two birds with one stone and took in New Point Lighthouse and Hurst Castle; an artillery fort built by Henry VIII in 1544 . This was as close as I could get by road but what a view. Very breezy and the bay seemed to be popular with kite surfers. My bike seemed to attract a fair bit of attention (mainly from BMW trailie riders) and all of it along the lines of despair at what the salt will do to my bike! Strangely none of them had heard of FS365.

A quick photo stop at Salisbury and its famous spired cathedral.

At this point I booked a hotel. There wasn’t much available (well at a reasonable price that is) so I broadened my search to just over the other side of the River Severn. Newport seemed ideal and this pretty much decided the next part of my journey. By this point the light had gone and my brief journey via the M4 over the Prince of Wales Bridge was in the dark 😦

With the light failing and work the next day it was time to head east back towards London. To stave off motorways as long a season possible I joined the A48 into Gloucester to cross over the River Severn at its source, before dropping back down and inevitably having to join the M4.

So to conclude, I managed to pack into 36 hours some 15 locations and cover 545 miles. Lots of photos, a few fridge magnets and a nice dusting a sea salt will hopefully have been sufficient to pass the challenge!