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Thread: Scotland 08 - remixed

  1. #1
    alane Guest

    Default Scotland 08 - remixed

    Since last years first team visit to Kintail lodge in shiels Bridge I had extolled the Scottish roads and people to anyone and everyone who asked "been anywhere nice on it" when referring to the bike.
    This year, circumstances were prevailing against me going again but a couple of really good pals basically bullied me into going and promised to look after me with suitable new ales and good roads.
    Didn't think we could do better than last year but by the f..k, 08 was awesome.
    friday through tuesday was planned with precision
    Friday, meet up at 8:45, junction 21a M6 North, first wave of 4 bikes. Precision was foiled as only 3 of us appeared (Pan, cbr600rrrrrrr, ktm 990 adv(orange me)) with 4th guy playing a joker and having a lie in. No time to wait so 3 set off north to rendezvous at J36 with the Macc lads.
    cbr600rrrrrr pulls off with puncture and returns to base with the archetypal wounded soldier words of "you, lads, go, on, without, me...I'll be alright"
    Nothing particularly eventful (M6=boring)
    J36 and gsxr750, 05 blade, cbr600rrrr, ktm990 adv(black), r6 are waiting.
    Weather looks damp and we progress.
    Round loch lomond (up the left side I believe) and through Crianlarich
    Stop for fuels along the way and make a plan for the good food place th'opposite green welly. chips and pie and rain rain rain.
    Sure I saw Gizmo on our way through to Fort Bill and gave a heartier than normal wave, nod, flash, tip of the head, we gang of seven carried on regardless looking for our snow white.
    Wet wet wet made a comeback and they were with us most of the way…mildly damp in Glen coe was interrupted only by the roadworks.

    Arrived at Kintail lodge at 4:30ish and set about introducing ourselves to the bar. Fantastic people made us feel more than welcome and the food is top notch.
    Long day so we settles early after 4 bottle so of pont neuf and a liberal dosing of Guiness….not recommended for early start but we felt we had earned it.

    Saturday, the Skye plan was ditched (cos we did that last year and this time we got a better map). Coastal routes…ooohh, they look nice…and they lead to Ullapool (don’t most roads do that?), and assen is on, and the mariner bar has tellys, and they have eurosport, and the rumour is Stoner has new electronics….so, Gairloch, lochCarran, coastal routes, single track roads, Ullapool. It sounds so basic but bloody hell it doesn’t get much better does it?…Saw Stoner win then off to….Summer Isles.
    Wow, single track road through spectacular scenery and worth the million passing points.
    On the way back I held back from the group and stopped a couple of times to tip the nod to absent friends, it’s just that type of place for me.
    Well, fuel was well low and Gairloch was the scene of a multitude of slipstream manouevres and fuel conservation techniques such as engine off type of stuff (not for us ktm guys though, just the japs). Reached the main road and I shot of right for Kyle Lochalsh and found the petrol station shut early (as most others for some reason). However, the 24hr recovery guy did offer to sell me a gallon (hmmm, 1 gallon split between 5 = not enough) but Pan Man found the Shiels Bridge garage shutting at 8pm and we arrived at 10 past to find the girl had stayed behind purposely for us to get fuel – top marks for her.
    Sunday loomed and the group needed to split in 2 cos 5 had work commitments. That left us 3 commandos to go north and explore. (oh yeah, the puncture wounded soldier braved the solo trip up on Saturday and reckons the Shiels bridge road was awesome and well worth the trip).
    So, up north go 2xktms and the pan man, the work group get a ferry to Malaig and head for arran before trudging back through lakes.
    Us 3….made the gairloch, ullapool, unapool, lairg(?) single track road through north to eventually Thurso and John O’Groats..837, 835 are numbers I recall of fantastic roads.
    Very very windy and saw what I thought was a 5 legged octupus crossing the road…it was a dog blown inside out…blinking windy it was and horizontal rain at one point.
    We were supposed to stay at Altnaharra (?) but the hotel has gone into administration and couldn’t do the business, so we got recommended to stay at Forss Hotel near Dounreay…what a find that was! Elderly lady in charge was fantastically funny and very very accomodating. she even taught me and pan man how to drink whisky with just a single teardrop of water. The whisky was orkneys own and was preceeded by a camra awarded Orkney Dark Island Ale (or maybe 2 or 3 but who’s counting).
    food was fantastic and the rooms palacial (? real word?)
    That was Sunday and I thought it couldn’t get better…DOH!
    A route march planned by our captain to get us back via tongue, altnaharra, lairg, ullapool, gairloch et cetera and time permitting we HAD to do applecross, then back through glen coe, fort william, Crianlarich, Crieff, over to Glen Eagles, Glen Devon and stay at “An Lochan” Tormaukin…450+ miles from 9:45am to 8:45 pm including lunch and fuel stops. A lot of wet weather for the last couple of hours in the saddle.
    The hotel was worth it and we were the only 3 residents for the night and again sampled the local generosity with food and wines.
    Tuesday, time to go home…but not the straight route for us. God knows where we went but it did involve very bendy roads and we coffee’d in Moffat after a phenominal final set of miles on fantastic roads (how many fantastics can I use…not enough)
    Down past Edinburgh and eventually through Kendal to back roads through a historic heritage village or two and break and hartside for bacon and brew.
    a mini epic trip to sedbergh and final break at devils bridge( – read the appeal for witness’ to the accident at melling so if anyone has anything to add please check it out.)
    Back on boring M6 and got home tonight.
    In all 1773.9 miles door to door from cheshire to John O’Groats and back.


    If I can get the pukka route names and places I’ll list all official like, but for now I am sincerely humbled by the awesome scenery and routes north of the border.
    Thanks

    Alan.

    Alpine road down towards Loch Carron after having come over from Applecross:


    Onway back from Summer Isles:
    Last edited by alane; 01.07.2008 at 11:46 PM. Reason: because I am unable to spell Whisky correctly

  2. #2
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    Good write up but the woman maybe taught you how to drink whisky but not how to spell it
    Well you know what they say......A cuckoo in May.......OOO ARR OOO ARRAY

  3. #3
    alane Guest
    Cos I can't spell...I bin an corrected it. Thanks Davie.

  4. #4
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    Glad you had a good trip and the weather was kind.

  5. #5
    alane Guest
    There's so much that I've not included my head is full of little moments that make me smile...like going back to visit Nairn McEwan and just sitting there, the 4 of us taking in the scenery and having a brew and craic.
    Applecross - everyone should be forced to take that route at least once in their biking life.
    We reckon we have gone round at least 25,000 bends over the 5 days.

  6. #6
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    Great write up and glad you enjoyed Highland hospitality.
    Sounds as if you did part of the route from the Masher last year combined with the run we did the other week for the Black Isle Weekender.
    I'm not sure about admitting to knowing Nairn though..............
    Has he mellowed in old age or is he still a reprobate?
    Never argue with an idiot..onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

  7. #7
    ProjectImola004 Guest
    Good to see the Beallach na Ba again. I haven't seen since our decent after the Masher last year in pretty crap weather. Amazing place we live in up here, glad you enjoyed it and good write up.

  8. #8
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    what a great write up Alan - sound fantastic and makes me want to jump on the bike and just head north again. Applecross is def one of those "once (at least!) in a lifetime roads" !!!
    Old enough to know better.... young enough to not give a s**t

  9. #9
    alane Guest
    Sunday:
    Shiel Bridge A87 >
    Kyle of Lochalsh
    Coastal route to Craig >
    Ardnarff>
    (A890) Attadale>
    Strathcarron>
    (A896) Loch Carran>
    Shiel Daig>
    Annat>
    Kinlochewe>
    A832 Slattadale>
    Charlestown>
    Gairloch>
    Tournaig>
    Sand Laide>
    Badcaul>
    Dundonnell>
    A835 Ullapool>
    A835 Strathcanaird>
    St Elphin>
    A837 Unapool>
    Badcall>
    Sarsgrum>
    A838 Hope>
    Tongue>
    A836 Coldbackie>
    Bettyhill>
    Dounreay>
    Bridge of Forss>
    Thurso>
    John O'Groats>
    Forss

    Monday:
    Forss>
    Tongue>
    A836 Altnaharra (awesome road and scenery)>
    Lairg>
    Rosehall>
    Ullapool>
    A835>
    A832>
    Dundonnell>
    Badbea>
    Badcaul>
    Tournaig>
    Poolewe>
    Charlestown>
    Slattadale>
    Kinlochewe>
    A896>
    Annat>
    ShielDaig>
    single track road to Applecross - big roundroute to Tomapress>
    Lochcarron over scenic route and alpine pass>
    Kirkton>
    Strathcarron>
    Ardnarff>
    A890 Auchtertyre>
    A87 Shiel Bridge>
    A82 Loch Leven>
    A85 Crieff>
    A822? Glen Devon

  10. #10
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    Another satisfied visitor, which is what we like to hear .
    If you want a second helping there's always the Midgie Masher Flypast in August..
    DB

  11. #11
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    Nice one Al, glad you had a good time fella !
    | www.ianwoodphotography.com |
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  12. #12
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    I think we were already at hotel in Ft Bill, i was watching out of the window and saw a group with a couple of kabooms go through about 3.30 ish. Was it raining as you went through ft bill or still dry Alan?
    The truth about life - is it found in the beginning, middle or end?

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  13. #13
    alane Guest
    Raining Michael (edited: whoops, could have just been the start of the rain actually). which pretty much set the tone for about 30% of the holiday.
    But.....the scenery, the people, the roads......
    for one reason or another I don't have a passport so the foreign climes whilst beckoning are currently beyond my capacity. I've done my stint of european camp sites, swiss alpine passes, italian 2 kiss greetings, and too be honest I have found the Scottish highlands to be on a par with the best to be offered.
    I think it was in one of the polls last year that the shiels bridge road was voted best in world (?), although after having sampled a lot of the other tarmac I would have to argue that the poll should have read "gives access to the best roads in the world".
    Arguably my view is obviously restricted under the circumstances but I would certainly like to partake once more perhaps on a solo own pace trip in the not too distant future...

  14. #14
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    totally agree Alan, I've toured a lot of europe and prefer Scotland now, still got a couple of places I'd like to do west coast US and end to end in Japan but for the moment Scotland and the isles is perfect even with rain
    The truth about life - is it found in the beginning, middle or end?

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  15. #15
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    2 more voters for the SNP!
    Well you know what they say......A cuckoo in May.......OOO ARR OOO ARRAY

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davieravie View Post
    2 more voters for the SNP!
    Would that be Sorry No Passports?

  17. #17
    alane Guest
    Don't know if this will work/fail/whatever, but worth a go...
    stitched photo of the road we had just come down towards Ullapool.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by alane View Post
    Don't know if this will work/fail/whatever, but worth a go...
    stitched photo of the road we had just come down towards Ullapool.
    http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/l...o_Ullapool.jpg
    probably about 1/2 mile away from this one Alan, A835 just north of the big reservoir

    The truth about life - is it found in the beginning, middle or end?

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  19. #19
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    Glascarnoch.
    We nearly stopped there for a photo shoot at the Black Isle Weekender.
    But it is only 4 miles long and Eddie missed it.
    It was Eddies idea that we should stop there!
    Wouldn't have thought it possible but if you can lose a major town when you are leading a group then I suppose a large dam is just as easy to miss.
    Never argue with an idiot..onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

  20. #20
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    In Ed's defence I think it was the dry-roasted tarmac he was focussing on - the rate he was going at it was just as well ! Ah, yes. What a fabulous day that was !

    We need to make the Black Isle Bash an annual fixture on the SDC calendar, I would say.
    DB

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