Roads and Ruins; 3 days riding Scotland.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dwayne, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    Every ride starts with an idea, and this one was quite basic. My friend Darren, whom I have known since childhood (in fact our fathers were friends before they met our respective mothers), is studying in St. Andrews Scotland. While I was mulling over visiting Darren and his family I had obvious insperation....I should rent a bike over there. Thanks to some of the inmates here, I found Cupar Motorcycles in, of all places Cupar. It was only 10 miles from St Andrews. Perfect.

    Gordon and his staff treated me wonderfully and very much reinforced the hospitality of the Scots. I rented a wee strom, and it came with a top box. Perfect.

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    Having never ridden on the left side of the road I was a touch nervous, but in short order I adjusted. I headed north, and after getting a bit turned around in Dundee, a quick bite in Montrose, I continued toward Stonehaven for a visit to Dunottar Castle.


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    After traversing the steep approach (both up and down 100 or so feet), gaining the main gate covered by scatter shot and cannon loops, turning a 90 degree bend in the entry you are met by more shot holes.

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    The backside of the castle is even more formidable, being naturally protected by cliffs and pounding surf.

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    This naturally protected location or Dunottar lead the Scots to hide the Honours here during one of Cromwell's campaigns to subdue the Scots.

    There are lots of really old (by North American standards) thingd to see in Scotland.

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    Some other views of Dunottar.

    The Chapel;

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    The Warden's Quarters

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    The Stores

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    Even the washroom has an especially nice veiw...

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    From Stonehaven, I headed northwest to visit the Caringorms and follow the Spey. Some views along the way.

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    approaching Lecht Pass

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    The heather was just finishing in mid September, but some could still be found

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    Cutting the corner to the A95 that follows the Spey

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    I finished the day at a B&B in Elgin. I was very cold. Thought the pass I rode though sleet, and it had been raining on and off all day. Between Dufftown and Elgin it snowed and poured in a thunderstorm. Luckily the smart lads at Cupar Motorcycles had fitted heated grips...a life saver!

    #1
  2. FlyNavy

    FlyNavy 2 much not chromed 2 list

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    What were the costs involved in renting the bike? Insurance, Petro, Lodging, wine and women?
    This just might be a perfect father/son trip for me.
    John
    #2
  3. Gordy

    Gordy Team Listo

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    My god, that's some beautiful country! :yum

    Thanks! :thumb
    #3
  4. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    Here is the web page where I hired the bike from, with costs.

    http://www.cupar.co.uk/bikehire.htm

    the also have a shop in Perth that deals Kawasaki

    http://www.perthmcs.com/bikehire.htm

    The rental includes insurance (less a deductable, called excess in the even of a claim), so it is comparable, maybe even cheaper, than renting a bike in Canada.

    Fuel is about $2 US a liter

    B&B are 25 to 45 pounds per person per night away from major centers. Food pubs and resturants is 1.5 to 2 time the cost in north america, alchol is about par.
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Looks great!! Nice roads.. and pics, thanks for posting :thumb
    #5
  6. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    After a huge breakfast, I headed off to find the ruins of Elgin Cathedral. Fortunately a wrong turn sent me in the direction of Lossiemouth. Lossiemouth is a quaint fishing town. Notice that I didn't say quiet. There is an RAF base there, and another two or three close by.

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    #6
  7. WRThumper

    WRThumper Adventurer

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    I just love pictures of the British Isles! But when I look at pictures like the road to Lecht Pass I keep hearing "Stay off the moors" in my mind! :eek1 :lol3
    #7
  8. Duscherck

    Duscherck Vufera Era

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    Amazing trip!
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    :clap
    #8
  9. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    I did manage to find Elgin Cathedral. Hard to miss, really.

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    If your interested, you can read more about the cathedral here.

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    Graves, monuments, and memorials are always interesting, if sometimes a bit morbid. If you have an interest in symbols, these sites can tell much of who these people were (or at least who the people that commissioned the grave stone thought the dead were). Again the dates that are carried on these stones strike a kind of wonder in me. Where I grew up, a two hundred year old grave is really ancient.

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    The craftsmanship and detail is really amazing. Almost 800 years and these arches are still standing.

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    As you wonder around you come across this Pictish standing stone. I probably dates from the 800-1000 AD era.

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    on the other side you find this

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    The chapter house is very impressive, I love the roof.

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    Alright back on the road for a different "spiritual" experience.

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    #9
  10. Fillmore

    Fillmore Adventurer

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    Great photos, looks like you got some good weather for your trip.
    The V-strom looks well in blue, possible contender if/when I trade the VFR.
    #10
  11. Deano955

    Deano955 Insatiable

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    Nice images, I love the cathedral shots.
    #11
  12. FREDO RIDER

    FREDO RIDER I'm enjoying the route !

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    Beautiful Scotland.
    Thanks for showing us.

    .
    #12
  13. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    Elgin is also home to the Glen Moray Whisky Distillery. I am new to whisky, but I figure late is better than never. Notice a) the spelling of whisky, in Scotland a point is made that it is always without the E and b) that I didn't call it scotch. Apparently in Scotland, scotch refers to blended whisky. Single malt whisky is not scotch.

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    At any rate Glen Moray uses hot air dried malt, and onion shaped stills that is common of the Spey side distillers.

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    of course the aging process also plays a large role in the final taste of the whisky. Typically American bourbon barrels are used to age the spirit, but sherry, chardonnay, and brandy have also been used. Barrels can also be scorched or toasted to further tailor the taste.

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    The raw materials to make whisky are pretty basic. Barley, water, and a source of heat (traditionally peat fires). One kilogram of barley yields one liter of whisky, but you need at least 10 liters of water to make that same liter.

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    The whisky tour reminds me a bit of the wine tours that are popular in the Okanogan Valley. Attractive tasting rooms and buildings to help sell the image and product.

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    After purchasing a fist full of miniatures (hey all I have is a top case), I head over the Dallas Dhu for more whisky education.


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    #13
  14. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    Wonderful pics and write up. I love all the history. Thanks for posting! :clap
    #14
  15. dbarile

    dbarile n00b

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    Some of the nicest castle shots.

    And you really manage to capture the feel of the country side.

    It reinforces my desire to see Scotland.

    Now I can think about using a bike to do it!
    #15
  16. repo

    repo no mans land

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    seeing the catherdrals reminded me of "pillars of the earth" by Ken Follett


    can't wait to ride over there....
    #16
  17. stevebtx12

    stevebtx12 Avid rider

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    Awesome pics and a great report! Thanks for sharing...:clap
    #17
  18. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    And more whisky!

    On the ride over to Dallas Dhu, I took a wrong turn. Even though I realized it early only time and low fuel kept me from continuing down this beautiful little road.

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    Dallas Dhu was a small distillery that hadn't been extensively updated for over a hundred years, until it shut down permanently in 1983. It was taken over by Historic Scotland (a foundation that also preserves many castles and other significant properties) and they turned it into a whisky museum. The pagoda style roofs that you see are the malt drying kilns, which means that they actually made their own malt. The more modern distilleries now buy their malt. Malt was dried on screens over peat fires.

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    I continued on to Culloden. It was at Culloden where the fight for a Scotland independent from England came to an end in 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated in battle.

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    The line of blue flags represent the Jacobite lines, there are red on the other side of the field to represent the English lines.

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    Some of the heather by the interpretive center was still in full bloom.

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    My vision of riding into the quaint town of Inverness ended abruptly in a traffic jam. It turns out Inverness is a city, so I turned and rode out of Inverness to the west. I fount a B&B near Contin with a view of the Highlands in the distance.

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    This ended day two.
    #18
  19. gaspipe

    gaspipe Wandering Soul Super Moderator

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    Beautiful.

    :clap
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  20. 8Superman

    8Superman Shut up and RIDE!!

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    :clap I love Scotland. The castles are awsome!
    #20