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Old 05-09-2012, 07:05 PM   #31
Matt 82 OP
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Campbeltown

Ok so yesterday I decided to take a trip to Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula. Not because there's anything there (there isn't) but simply because I was looking at a map and saw it was fairly easy to get to and because I'd never been there before.

It was going to be a pretty long journey. It's 160 miles there and obviously the same distance back. My previous longest trip was the first featured in this thread and it was 200 miles so I'm trumping that by quite a distance. I like that I'm getting more used to longer trips. If I didn't need to return home at the end of a trip, today's 320 miles could have seen me go to anywhere in Scotland, with miles to spare.

The Route:



So I headed up my new found favourite road, the A83. The last time I was up this way I didn't take any pictures until I found a viewing area. This time I just found somewhere to stop at the side of the road.

Loch Long:









Glen Croe:













Last time I was at Inveraray the loch was pretty choppy. Today it was like glass. An English tourist obviously thought to anyway as he kept repeating that fact over and over again to his wife.

Loch Fyne:











We were now in an area of Scotland where I was riding through villages that I'd never heard of. Here was the view from Furnace.

Furnace:








I then moved on from places I'd never heard of to 'places I'd never heard of and couldn't pronounce even if I had'. I'll get some pictures of the town welcome signs if I'm ever through again. They give you the name of the town in English and Gaelic but it's not always clear which is which.

The next port of call was Tarbert. It is the epitome of fishing village. Seriously, if you were to try picture a quaint, Scottish fishing village you would picture Tarbert. In fact, when it first came into view I burst out laughing at how it fits the stereotype. It was a nice place but everything was closed. In small, out of the way places you tend to find that shops don't share the same opening times as shops back in the cities. Maybe everything shuts on a Wednesday. I wasn't staying about to find out as I had to press on.

Tarbert:






At the far side of Tarbert is West Loch Tarbert (a sea loch) and on West Loch Tarbert are numerous ferry ports. They take you to various islands (including Ireland). I noticed that one of the ferry terminals had a right good view so I stopped in the no parking zone and grabbed a few pictures.

West Loch Tarbert:







View of West Loch Tarbert from above:



After this, the road follows the coast before cutting across the peninsula into Campbeltown. The weather I got here was the best I got all day. It was so bright and sunny that you could be forgiven for thinking these pictures are of some mediterranean island. Few things are better for the soul than some fresh sea air and glorious sunshine!

Coastal Road:





Note: The land in the far distance is Ireland



The road after this wasn't great. There was resurfacing and various other work going on so I spent a lot of time on gravel and waiting for green lights. So it wasn't too exciting and Campbeltown itself was pretty drab from what I could see though it had a nice harbour. Still, today's trip was all about the journey and not about the destination. So a few quick photos and I was heading back to do it all again.

Campbeltown:







It's always amazing how simply going the other way along a road makes it seem brand new. What made me laugh was how I noticed things like mountains that I hadn't noticed previously. How the hell do you miss a mountain? Anyway, the A83 is a pretty spectacular road when going north, but I think it might just be more special heading south.

So that's me til next week probably as I'm busy for the next few days. Hopefully the weather will stay dry again and I'll find somewhere new to play.
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Matt 82 screwed with this post 11-13-2012 at 06:53 PM
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:52 AM   #32
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Brilliant stuff! Thanks.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:19 AM   #33
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Scotland

Great to see some more photo's of my back yard !!!!!

Thanks for posting

Andrew
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Old 05-11-2012, 04:09 PM   #34
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Wow just discovered this thread, great pics
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:24 PM   #35
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Great photos! my family originated from the area of Stirling Castle and Stirling (also Sterling) has been a common name in my family since they emigrated in the 1750's... family lore says that we were kicked out after the 1745 rebellion but I have no proof of that. I have never made it their yet but the pictures gave me something to think about!
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Old 05-13-2012, 03:33 AM   #36
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FANTASTIC...!!! Keep it coming!
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:42 PM   #37
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Brilliant stuff! Thanks.
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FANTASTIC...!!! Keep it coming!
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Wow just discovered this thread, great pics
Thanks guys. Had some storms here the last couple of days but should get back out soon.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:52 PM   #38
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Great to see some more photo's of my back yard !!!!!

Thanks for posting

Andrew
You tend not to hear too many kind words said about Fife when you live in Falkirk but it's a cracking part of the country.

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Great photos! my family originated from the area of Stirling Castle and Stirling (also Sterling) has been a common name in my family since they emigrated in the 1750's... family lore says that we were kicked out after the 1745 rebellion but I have no proof of that. I have never made it their yet but the pictures gave me something to think about!
Nice! You probably have more heritage here than me then. My family came over from Ireland at the tail end of the 19th century. If you can find out about your family I'd recommend a visit. There are countless historical buildings and towns here that it would blow your mind if you found out you were walking in the footsteps of a distant relative.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:57 AM   #39
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Great thread this mate, excellent photo's. I love these scottish ride reports on here, the likes of yourself and kamchat really get me chomping at the bit to get up north, been visiting scotland at least once or twice a year for the last 20 years or so and the place just grows and grows on me with every visit, all been well got a week planned for late june/ early july time, last time up in bonnie scotland was last august so i'm ready for it to say the least!!
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:34 PM   #40
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Great pics & commentary. Tourism Scotland should have you on a retainer. Many of your pics remind me of the Cabot Trail and the fishing villages of Nova Scotia.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:48 PM   #41
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I have been to Scotland 7-8 times but never on a bike. Your report has me wanting to go there soon. Awesome Country. You need to ride to the Isle of Skye and the road to Applecross is a must do. You had great weather. But anyday in Scotland is a good day to me...
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:28 PM   #42
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Great thread this mate, excellent photo's. I love these scottish ride reports on here, the likes of yourself and kamchat really get me chomping at the bit to get up north, been visiting scotland at least once or twice a year for the last 20 years or so and the place just grows and grows on me with every visit, all been well got a week planned for late june/ early july time, last time up in bonnie scotland was last august so i'm ready for it to say the least!!
Nice! Hope you get good weather. It's been so bizarre this year. Seems we've good a week of sunshine ahead though so it's all good.

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Great pics & commentary. Tourism Scotland should have you on a retainer. Many of your pics remind me of the Cabot Trail and the fishing villages of Nova Scotia.
Just had a look online. Yeah very similar in places. I'll hopefully get more photos of fishing villages when I head off to the islands later in the year.

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I have been to Scotland 7-8 times but never on a bike. Your report has me wanting to go there soon. Awesome Country. You need to ride to the Isle of Skye and the road to Applecross is a must do. You had great weather. But anyday in Scotland is a good day to me...
Skye and Applecross are on my list. They're too far away for a day's riding though so I'll do them as part of a longer trip. As for touring Scotland by bike; I couldn't it recommend enough. I've seen plenty of the country by car and it's nowhere near the same.
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #43
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Right. Loads of photos today. So many that I ran the batteries out in the camera.

I attempted this run a few days ago but had to turn back as I'd completely forgotten that I was supposed to be going to the cinema with my good lady. Today however I was free so just went with what I'd originally planned. So the first few photos are from a few days ago but I'll be sort of pretending they're from today.

The weather was great and the destination was Sma (rhymes with 'law') Glen. The route there was on the familiar road through Callandar before heading east past Loch Earn, through Crieff and then home.



Loch Earn was busy! Clearly the sunshine had roused the Scots and there were anglers, water skiers, bikers and hikers on and around the loch. I probably should have stopped to take some scene setting photos but I didn't. So you'll just have to imagine a loch with people around it doing stuff.

Here a few of the photos of Loch Earn I took a few days back. The weather wasn't so hot that day so no water skiers.

Loch Earn:







This was a water run-off thing that looked pretty cool. I had some child yapping in my ear while I was taking the photo. He buggered off before I could tell him a monster lived inside.



When I was on this road a few days ago, a fella had come off his GS on a bend. I had seen him and his pal earlier in the day when they'd overtaken me. I didn't stop as the police and paramedics were already there. The guy seemed to be in decent shape as he was standing and talking to the medic. I hope he's doing well.

Today, I approached the same corner and to my surprise found a a cop stopping traffic. A car had gone into the ditch at the side of the road. It looked pretty beat up as a result. That's 2 accidents in a week. One more and we get to keep the ball! By that I mean we'll get a shiny new speed camera. Joy.


The next bunch are from the road into Comrie. I've ridden through Comrie maybe 20 times and never stopped yet. The road in from the west is great though. Good quality tarmac, winding roads and some cracking scenery. I had my footpeg scraping the ground at one point. Only done that once before, on a hairpin bend. As with the first time, I nearly shat myself when it happened as I'd no idea what the hell it was at first.

A85 into Comrie:



















I'm not entirely sure about the names of the places coming up here. The Sma Glen is what the road signs say which suggests that that would be the official name but everything I see online suggests that this is just a nickname for Glen Almond. I don't know for sure and I don't suppose it matters much either. Sma Glen sounds like a bastardization of 'Small Glen' which is how I'm going to think of it until I'm corrected.

It's a stunning area. It doesn't have the size or majesty of Glen Coe but the more intimate feel is what makes it. I have heard of people feeling a bit uneasy in this glen as the hills look like they're closing in on them. Hard to imagine on a sunny day like this but I bet a misty night up here is pretty damn scary.

I parked the bike up a few times and wandered on foot to get some non-road photos. I even waded in 2 inch deep water of the River Almond to get some of these so I hope you appreciate it.

Sma Glen


























There were almost as many bikers on the road today as there were cars. I always nod at bikers but I'm not really quite sure how to greet them when there's 20 in a row. Nodding would probably induce motion sickness and taking my hand off the handle bars to wave for half an hour just seems dangerous.

Further up the glen there's a fantastic bit of road. You need to watch out for sheep though. They often get out of the fields and wander about the road. Whenever I take photos near them, the rams always stare at me. Not sure how I'd cope with one charging at me when I was riding on the road. See if you can tell the sheep from the rocks in this bunch.















By the time I got through this area, I'd done what I'd set out to do today. On a whim though, I took a side road to Glen Quaich. I'd never heard of it and Wikipedia tells me nothing about it so I'm guessing there were no massacres here at any point. Or maybe there were, but the killers covered their tracks really well!

Anyway it's a single track road. That's single track as in relative to our road system. All it means is single lane with passing places every hundred yards or so. Some of the roads can be in bad shape with huge pot holes and gravel every where. This one was perfect though. I'm guessing it was resurfaced recently. It was a fun road. All little hills that make you lose your stomach. Or go airborne if you go fast enough.

Glen Quaich:











The loch that the road runs alongside is Loch Freuchie. It's the most blue I've ever seen a loch.



This next bit is where I decided to turn back. I had no idea where the road was taking me and I needed to double back to make sure I got photos of the parts I wanted (a lot of the photos above were actually taken on the way back). So I pulled in at the side of the road, took some photos and grabbed some juice. I was a bit nervous about heading back as the road was quite difficult to navigate. The hill I was on was very steep and had 2 hairpin bends at the bottom of it. I had to drop down to first to get up the hill in the first place and I could see the difficulty that cars were having negotiating the turns.. My fear was that I'd go in way too fast and not make the turn.

This photo, as always does not show how steep the hill was. It does show a cyclist struggling to get up though. The poor guy lasted another 5 seconds after I took this picture before running out of steam and keeling over. Didn't get his foot down or anything. He was shattered. I headed on foot to help him but he waved to let me know he was ok. I waited to make sure he got away before trying it myself. As it was I made it down no problem so I was quite relieved.



He passed me an hour or so later later when I stopped to take photos. He said hello and seemed to be in a better state than when I saw him previously. He was heading down hill for one thing so I'm sure he was thankful of that.

So that was me heading home. The journey back was more or less unremarkable. Took a different route back which is more about the road than the scenery. The battery had run out on the camera so I wouldn't have mattered anyhow!


I'll finish with an annoyance and a bit of a mother earth loving lecture/rant. Apologies in advance to both the members here and the Scottish Tourist Board.

Litter annoys me everywhere. City or countryside, I can't really think of an excuse. If you can carry a can of coke with you someplace, you can carry an empty one until you find a bin. For all the amazing sights I see when out on the bike I still find piles of rubbish lying beside lochs or empty lager cans floating down rivers. When I take these photos, I make sure there's no litter in view as it makes for prettier pictures but quite often there will be something just outside the field of view. Like I said, it annoys me wherever it is. But when I see real beauty spots like we have in Scotland being tarnished by Scots it really pisses me off. To take this photo I had to step over or walk past household waste, a discarded car tyre, half a washing machine and what looked like a carpet.

Shameful.

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Old 05-21-2012, 12:30 AM   #44
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Brilliant!

Very nice! Man when you said much (or all) of Scotland loos the same, you weren't kidding. I was on holiday last October into November on the North Coast (Kyle Of Tongue area) and it is very similar to some of your pix. No less enjoyable for it tho- keep it up and best of luck with your bike! Lovely country- I appreciate your taking the time to post the pix.
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Old 05-27-2012, 04:55 PM   #45
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The weather here the last week or so has been awesome. It's likely to be the only good weather we get all summer right enough. Anyway I haven't been updating as I've been out riding. So this one is from last week.

I was heading up to Loch Tay to the small village that rests at the tip of it; Kenmore. I'm familiar with the roads south of it, but had never gone up and round the loch itself. To get home I was following my route up.



When it's sunny the road up the side of Loch Lubnaig can get very busy. The car parks are spilling over with caravans and tents and the smell of barbecues carries for miles. It's a shame we don't have bears anymore

On weekdays however, the roads are quiet regardless of the weather. The first photo here is from the journey up but the others are from the return leg. The bottom two are from the very northern tip of the loch.

Loch Lubnaig:









After Loch Nubnaig you have a brief encounter with the outskirts of Lochearnhead before heading into Glen Ogle. It was here that I spied a stream off to the left of the road that I hadn't really paid any attention to before. Pulling in at the side of the road I decided to excercise my Right to Roam and battled my way across marshes and passed barbed wire to bring you a handful of photos.

Glen Ogle:









Here's the pleasant view south from the road through Glen Ogle. Note the barbed wire on the right hand side there that I negotiated just so you could see these photos above.

Also note the speed camera sign at the bottom of the hill there. They're everywhere.





The best thing about the route I've taken today is that there are almost no lulls. You get a small village to ride through to catch your breath and then it's back to the winding roads and scenery. By the time you've passed Loch Nubnaig you're just about in Glen Ogle, which leads to Killen and by the time you're out of there you're at Loch Tay.

So you may have worked out from that that the next photo stop was Killen. There aren't many better ways to spend a sunny afternoon than sitting on the rocks by the waterfalls. It's a great place to stop, stretch your legs and have a snack.

Killin:














Leaving Killin and you're a hop, skip and a jump to reach Loch Tay. It's a long Loch at 14 miles and the 4th largest in Scotland by volume of water. The road around it differs to a lot of other lochside roads in that you are not down by the water side. The road is on a hillside to the north of the loch. It was a pretty good road though there are a few houses and a lot of trees that block the view of the loch a lot of the time.. A load of sheep had escaped their field when I was there as well so there was a lot of stopping to allow them to get out of the way.

Loch Tay:





A distant view of Killin:








Must be nice to wake up to this on a sunny morning!


At the northern end of the loch sits the sleepy village of Kenmore. I didn't know much about it when I arrived. Don't know much about it now either. There's a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taymouth_Castle]castle[url] that may or may be not be getting renovated. I couldn't see it through the gates to the grounds anyway and didn't fancy wandering off at random in the hope of seeing a castle that at the time I wasn't even sure existed.

Kenmore:





If the plaque outside this pub is to believed, it is the oldest in Scotland. 1572 is when it opened. I'm guessing it's had more than a few refurbs.



Entrance to Kenmore is achieved via a small, single lane bridge that operates a traffic light system. It gives great views of the loch.

South, from the bridge:





North, from the bridge:









There's also a little beach. This is where I sat down, drank some juice and sent my girlfriend a rather gloating text about how I was sitting on a beach and she was at the dentist.

The beach:





This next photo has something of interest hiding away in the corner. I'm annoyed that I missed it at the time because it's something I would have liked to have visited. It's a recreation of a Crannog. These are ancient water dwellings and the one in this photo is the best recreation in the country. I only found out about it when I got home and was looking up some info on Loch Tay. Can't believe I was sitting looking at it and didn't notice!

The Crannog (on the left on the water line):




So that was that. Like I said at the start, the weather has been glorious and I've had a few days away with the lady and spent the rest of it on my bike. I was going to do a post about my trip to St Andrews but to be honest it was crap so I won't bother. Til next time!
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