Dunoon to: Dunoon via Strachur -circular route
The Dunoon circular route is 68.2 miles, offering an excellent challenge of diverse driving conditions, gradients and cambers. Try this out, you won't be disappointed.
The Strachur to Dunoon stretch is a particularly fast section of road. Catch the Western Ferry from Gourock ( 0141 332 9766 ) to Dunoon. On arrival, drive north west across the B836 as if heading for Otter Ferry but take the south route A8003 to Tighnabruaich. Continue south, then follow the road north to Otter Ferry, with its lovely pebble beach and little harbour. Continue north on the B8000 to Strachur.
Finally, to complete the circle, head south from Strachur back to Dunoon on the A815. The Strachur to Dunoon section is pretty fast going and a fantastic stretch of road. Unsurpassed scenery with plenty of restaurants, hotels and a few camping sites dotted here and there. A particularly good one is situated on the banks of Loch Eck which runs parallel with the A815 for several miles. Interestingly, if arriving at Strachur this way (from Dunoon) you can head on north up to the Highlands via via Oban for Fort William, or turn east to visit the Trossachs as both routes comprise excellent roads and world class scenery.
ALTON to: BASINGSTOKE
on to the B3400 Basingstoke to Andover make a nice through route returning via the lovely A3057 Andover to Southampton through the Test Valley.
Andover to: Newbury
I am blessed that this is the road I get to travel to work on every day. OK, most of the time I wimp-out and take the car, but on the bike, it puts a smile on my face. Here it is. As you leave Andover under Enham Arch you are tempted by a short stretch of dual carriageway interspersed with a couple of fast clearview roundabouts - get the tyres warmed up here. Give it a quick blast on the short stretch of open road between Andover and Enham, but watch out 'cos this road holds flood water for days after rain. Steady through Enham and don't be tempted to wind-it up too quickly 'cos the first right hander is tight. Now you can go. Into the dip and then into the forrest stretch (some nice twisties - watch out for pheasents and deer) before emerging high above Hurstbourne.
If the conditions are right and you are on the road early in the morning, you may now be given a real treat as you aften get a cloud inversion in the Valley below. It looks stunning as you descend from clear skies into mist. The drop into Hurstbourne is quite steep, over the bridge, lovely double-s (slow though and steady for villagers). As you come out of the village you get a clear view up the hill - wind it back here and burn-off the slowbies. Fast right hander at the top and then power on down the straight past Essebourne Manor. The next bit I find tricky. A sweeping downhill righ-hander through the forrest, followed by a moderatley tight lefty at the bottom. I don't know if its a slight unfavourable camber, or 'cos I've seen two many cars ploughing fields here, but that combo plays on my mind and I always tighten-up! Now a couple of fast bends and up and downy bits (good stuff) before a long up-hill straight through the trees (this looks stunning coming the other way). At the top, another combo, this time a lefty, followed by a down-hill right and then a fast left, before hitting the straight past the Yew Tree. Steady thro' Highclere, under the A34 and onwards into Newbury.
If you do this in reverse, watch out for speed-traps: (i) as you come out of Highclere and (ii) at the bottom of the hill as you enter Hurstbourne. Have fun. About 15 miles of it.
A11 to: Fakenham
If you join the A1065 at the Mildenhall, Thetford round-about and head north towards Swaffam. A lovely route that goes on for about 35 miles, twisties, straights (160Mph+ on a ZZ-R600) and nice little lips of round-abouts. There are a few police, though they're not too bright and tend to wait in very slow sections where you are well under the 60MPh limit. Once at Fakenham, you can either go left to King Lynne (on the fast A148) or right to Norwich also on the A148.
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