Scotland at 45mph

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Matt 82, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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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...
    #41
  2. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    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.

    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.

    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.
    #42
  3. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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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.

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    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:

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    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.

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    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:

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    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

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    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.

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    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:

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

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    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.

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    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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    #43
  4. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider a certain something

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    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.
    #44
  5. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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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.

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    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 :grim

    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:

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    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:

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    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.

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    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:

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    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:

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    A distant view of Killin:
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    Must be nice to wake up to this on a sunny morning!
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    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 castle that may or may be not be getting ...=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crannog]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):

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    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!
    #45
  6. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    I appreciate your commenting! How was the weather at that time of year? We had some pretty crazy storms about then.
    #46
  7. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Our glorious week of sunshine is over. It's back to being dull and cloudy. Summer sure was fun though. I'll miss it.

    Took a trip to Glen Coe yesterday and photos will follow shortly. This update will be a small one though, about my journey to St Andrews. It wasn't great.


    The first problem was that I had woken up feeling ill. This wasn't too much of a problem as the sky was grey so staying in bed wouldn't be a hardship. Then the sun came out. Sunny days are a rare thing in Scotland. Often we can go entire summers without getting 3 sunny days in a row. So when the sun is out, you make the most of it.

    What I should have done was picked somewhere not too far away to go have lunch but instead I decided to do something a bit different and head east, to St Andrews. One of the many places I hadn't been since I was a child, I was looking forward to the warm, seaside air.

    The journey there sucks.

    It starts off nicely, with a trip over the Kincardine Bridge and onto Culross (pronounced 'coo-russ' for some reason). The road into Culross is your typical winding, up and down country road that is great fun on a bike. And Culross itself is a cute, quaint village with dodgy corners that you have to peep the horn before going round.

    Once you're past that though, things start going downhill. The road I was following is the 'Fife Tourist Coastal Route'. Which sounded promising. It did not deliver on that promise. It's town after town (with harsh speed limits), with almost no scenery or even enjoyable roads on the way. Some towns are nicer than others of course (Aberdour is cool, Kirkaldy is ugly) but all in all I found it a slog.

    So much so that by the time I reached St Andrews I was so tired and frustrated that I drove through the town, doubled back and came home. I only stopped when I saw the golf course and decided to take a picture.

    Trying to avoid the same, dreary road on the way back I took a different route. I got lost but it was way more fun. Just wish I'd been in a mood to enjoy it.

    Anyway here are the 3 photographs I took;


    This one is a bush. I was trying to take a photograph of a bird but it apparently disappeared before I could take the picture. I include it for you today as I feel it sums up the entire trip.

    Bush:

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    This is the beach at Kirkaldy. The seafront of Kirkaldy seems like it's trying to be a Scottish Holiday resort with high rise flats by the seaside. The problem is the flats all have that horrible post war we-don't-have-any-money-left-to-build-stuff look about them. They were so ugly I didn't even take pictures. I'm sure there are nice bits but I didn't see them.

    Sand:

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    St Andrews was heaving. Clearly the students had decided to skip classes and enjoy the sunshine. I'll say now that St Andrews must have the highest population of attractive women I've seen. Concentrating on the road was not easy. I have no photos of attractive girls, before you ask. It seemed pretty nice though and I'll likely to go back (on a different road) at some point as there was clearly lots to see.

    Golf Course:

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    And that's that. I'll hopefully get my Glen Coe report up later.
    #47
  8. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    So yesterday I returned to Glen Coe. The warm weather this week meant that I was out on the bike as much as possible and the chance to go see the stunning glen without freezing my ass off (see page one of this thread) was not something I was going to pass up.

    So off I went. I'm clearly getting faster on the bike as the journey up felt nowhere near as long as when I tried it the first time.

    As with any sunny day, there were plenty of bikes on the road. As it was a Monday however, they were mostly retirees or foreigners here for a holiday. So the roads weren't quite as packed with bikers as they were on Sunday.

    Once again, Loch Lubnaig was busy with campers. Tents lined the shores and campervans filled the carparks. I saw the aftermath of two crashes at the entrance to carparks on the way up. Both cars seemed to be pulling in when someone ran into the back of them. I've nearly done something similar myself in the car when I didn't see the indicators because of the sun and the guy pulled across the road in front of me. So I decided that I should maybe use some hand signals as well.

    Anyway, a ride up past Loch Lubnaig wouldn't be the same without stopping at one point to grab a couple of pics.

    Loch Lubnaig:

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    The rest of the journey up went smoothly enough. The roads were almost clear of caravans etc which I wasn't expecting. I had a quick break at the Green Welly Stop and had a wee chat with some of the other bikers who were out, making the most of the sun. Almost everyone was as shocked as the next guy about the weather.

    A little further up the road I pulled in at a rest stop that has a good view of Loch Tulla and the surrounding area. It was here I found my 3rd crash of the day. A car was being removed on a flatbed lorry. Saw a few cops talking to the people who appeared to own the car so don't think there were fatalities or serious injuries.

    Loch Tulla:

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    I didn't have far to go until I was off the bike again. There was a bit of a running theme with a group of cyclists who were on the same road. I'd pass them on the bike then get off to take photos and they'd pass me. Happened 5 or 6 times. I think they thought I was weird.

    Anyway I pulled in at the side of the road as I was at a loch that had caught my eye the first time I'd come up but I hadn't photographed because I was so cold. Don't ask me how to pronounce this one but it's called 'Lochan Na h-Achlaise'. It's in an area called Rannoch Moor. It's one of the many spectacular roads in the area. What I like about it most is that you don't have to get off your bike and go wandering to see it. This is literally what you see when you look left from the road.

    Lochan Na h-Achlaise:

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    So I moved on, passing the cyclists on the way. There was a rest stop further up that I was trying to avoid because I took photos there the last time. So I just pulled in at the side of the road and went for a wander. The ground was pretty boggy so I didn't go too far.

    Outskirts of Glen Coe:

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    So I zoomed past the cyclists and into the glen. There weren't as many tour buses as last time which struck me as odd given the time of year but I suppose I was here earlier in the day than I was the last time which might explain it. Another rest stop and more climbing over rocks to get photos.

    Glen Coe:

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    The next rest stop was only 2 minutes round the corner. I considered just pushing on and enjoying the ride but tbh I need the excercise so I stopped for more photos. I noticed a small hill beside the car park and decided to climb it for a better angle. I got halfway up before turning back in disgrace, shattered. I was so tired I considered lying down and letting the local wildlife eat me alive as a less painful alternative to walking any further.

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    Look how far away my bike is! It's the dot south of that campervan. The hill was higher than I thought (but still pathetically tiny).

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    This Dragonfly looked like it was dying. The thing was huge. Prob 4 or 5 inches long. Didn't know we had insects that size here. Having looked it up, it seems it's a Golden Ringed Dragonfly.

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    Round the corner was the waterfall. Having used up all the water I'd brought along while climbing that mountain, I was very tempted to climb down and dive in to the pool at the bottom.

    Waterfall:

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    After that it was Steak Pie for lunch and into Glen Coe Village. The food was good but it just made me sleepy. I stopped at a petrol station to buy some juice and was served by a young lad who was clearly distracted by a pretty young lady filling up her car. He didn't take his eyes off her the whole time he served me!

    There was just enough time to take a couple of pictures of Loch Leven and the view back into Glen Coe before heading home.

    Loch Leven:

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    The journey home went smoothly. No crashes to see anyway. I did at one point feel the need to stand by the side of the road with my trousers at my ankles to cool down though. I had stuff on underneath but it didn't stop me getting some funny looks.
    #48
  9. Kamchat

    Kamchat Long timer

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    Some great photos there Matt..:clap. .
    Rannoch Moor is an amazing place ....if you catch it at dusk, in the right light, it can almost feel like you are another planet.
    #49
  10. chammyman

    chammyman Been here awhile

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    some great pictures.

    Kamchat and myself have probably passed you at some point.
    #50
  11. Red Zebra

    Red Zebra Signal 3

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    Excellent! Stunning scenery. Thanks for posting.
    #51
  12. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Yeah I think Rannoch Moor might just be my favourite stretch of road I've been on.

    I have my theory test this week. So I'll hopefully I'll be one step closer to getting my licence.

    I also just bought myself a tent so looking forward to some longer trips soon. Will wait til I get the licence stuff out of the way first though, I think.

    TYVM. Yep if you ride with him, I'm often out on the same roads that you are. Not sure if I've passed you right enough, though to be fair if I blinked I'd miss the lot of you!

    Thanks for checking them out and for commenting!
    #52
  13. chammyman

    chammyman Been here awhile

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    Funnily enough I have still to meet Kamchat. I have met his mrs and the rest of his entourage but never the man himself!

    I usually go myself or with another few guys. I also usually go out on the weekdays or a saturday most of Kamchats rides are Sundays when I'm not free.
    #53
  14. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Ah right, well in that case we probably have passed each other at some point. Weekdays are when I do most of my riding as I hate the traffic that comes with the weekend.
    #54
  15. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    I'm one step closer to getting my full licence as I passed my theory test yesterday. I have my first lesson booked for next week so looking forward to that. My CBT is actually quite close to running out so I'm going to have to be quick getting through everything or else I'll have to sit that again. In an episode of sadly typical stupidity, I only realised yesterday that my CBT runs out a full month before I thought it did. D'oh!
    #55
  16. f-five

    f-five Adventurer

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    Beautiful!! Thanks for taking the time to share.
    #56
  17. Piaf

    Piaf Adventurer

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    Scotland.......love it. :clap
    #57
  18. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you're enjoying the photos. There's plenty more to come.

    It certainly has its moments! The weather has taken a turn for the worse the last week or so haven't been out much. Hoping it picks up soon. If nothing else I have motorcycle lessons to look forward to.
    #58
  19. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Not a ride report update but one that relates back to a post I made a few weeks ago.

    Yesterday lunchtime I abseiled 165ft from the beautiful Forth Bridge. I was shitting myself but survived. And I raised £400 for 'Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland' in the process so quite proud of myself. It was fun but I can't see myself doing it again for a long time. If you get an overwhelming desire to donate you can still do so, here.

    That's me on the right.

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    #59
  20. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Good stuff, nice abseil. Was up in scotland in april on my ZX9R visiting aberdeen.....it was wet:roflBack up again later this month to do the 3 peaks challenge with work so no bike this time:cry. Kicking off from Nevis and then south all the way in 24hr's...fingers crossed

    If you need any test tips drop me a PM as also a qualified DAS instructor
    #60