Scotland at 45mph

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

  1. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Had a few tests down here cancelled as well, least you got a phonecall, we had to get to the test centre to have it cancelled. Hope you get it in before the CBT runs out, had a few guys lately in your situation, good luck again
  2. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    So to continue where I left off.......

    I was walking down this forgotten path towards the waterfall. I was sure I had Taken a picture of the walkway but apparently I didn't.

    I had to scale a fence to get a decent view of the waterfall. It was awkward as all hell. It wasn't particularly high but the bars on the fence were vertical so I had nothing to get my foot onto and it was wobbly. Plus I'm mega unfit and was wearing my biking gear.

    The path on the other side of the gate was dilapidated. It was concrete and had a barrier to stop you falling in but the concrete was completely worn away in places, exposing pipes underneath the walkway. You can see a picture of it that someone else took here. I'm normally quite the goody two shoes so ignoring a 'no entry' and climbing a fence to get to an area that I'm clearly not meant to be in was fun. It felt a bit like being one of those 'urban explorer' type folk. But instead of walking about the deserted ruins of Chernobyl, I was hopping over a fence. A bit of the safety barrier was missing though so I really was risking life and limb here. :deal

    I was in two minds about the neglected walkway. On one hand, I was on my own looking at a waterfall that most people I've spoken to have never heard of. People tend to bug me. No group pf people bug me more than tourists and most of the beauty spots in Scotland have plenty of them.. So being by myself was a welcomed change.

    On the other hand it's the kind of thing that could be made into a (small) attraction with only a few thousand quid being spent on a replaced safety rail and walkway/viewing platform. It's on the main road anyway so it wouldn't be infringing on the wilderness or anything. Ah well I should probably be happy there's still stuff to discover by oneself less than 50 miles from home.

    The waterfall itself isn't all that impressive tbh, though it's certainly the most powerful I've seen in my time on my bike. My first thought was that it'd be cool to go down on a raft or kayak.

    The Falls of Leny:

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    So I hacked and climbed my way back to the bike and continued on my way.

    Next stop, as it usually is, was Loch Lubnaig. The lay-bys and carparks were full so I decided to find somewhere to stop where the parking wasn't provided. This turned out to require more effort than I had hoped and I couldn't be bothered with it. So I squeezed myself into a lay-by.

    I grabbed a few photos of the loch and the woods around it. I also saw something that I'd never seen before: A Jakey in a Kayak. Kayaking and other watersports are seen as activities for the posh folk. A bit like horse riding. Listening to a guy who sounds like he's crawled out of a Glasgow drug den shouting to his pals on the shore while he paddles away took a bit of getting used to. I didn't take photos of him.

    Loch Lubnaig:

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    Since I'd need to cut across to the East to visit my gran, I took a right at Lochearnhead. The loch had that glass like quality that never fails to impress. There were also 2 fisherman that didn't take their eyes off me the entire time I was by the loch. Either they'd never seen a man on a bike before or they were fishing without a permit. Weirdos.

    Loch Earn:

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    From here I was heading to Alloa to visit my dear old gran. Alloa is a dump. Since I'm not familiar with the roads towards the east side of the country* I missed a few turns and got slightly lost. Rather than consult my map (I have on on my tank bag) I just kept heading down roads that looked promising. Scotland is only wee, so you can't get lost for long and before I knew it I was back on familiar roads and heading to my destination. I think the detour was my subconscious trying to delay my visit to Alloa as long as possible. Thanks, Jimminy Cricket.

    * Alloa is further east than my own hometown by zero miles. :hide
  3. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    That's not good at all. If I'd travelled an hour to the test centre to find it was cancelled there would be blood spilled!

    I'll be cutting it close. I don't think I'll make it tbh. I was meant to get a call from the dealer/instructor this morning to reschedule but got nothing. Several phonecalls and a visit to the shop in person got me nothing as well, as the instructors were all away out and no-one else could deal with that sort of thing apparently. So that's another day less.:baldy
  4. The Guru

    The Guru Adventurer

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    That dealer/instructor in Falkirk by any chance?
  5. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    It is, aye. To be fair I spoke to the fella after and it turns out the other guy who was due to work that day, and could have got me sorted was ill. Things like that can't be helped.

    Anyway turns out that the earliest I can get a date is 11 days after my CBT runs out so unless I get a cancellation (and maybe a small miracle) I'll need to do that again. It also meant that the guy being ill was inconsequential which makes it slightly less infuriating but more infuriating in a different way.

    These things happen I guess. Will make the first ride out minus the L plates all the more sweet.
  6. The Guru

    The Guru Adventurer

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    I'll never go back to them. Their ignorant and have carp customer service. I use Saltire in Edinburgh. Superb! I'd rather ride the 30 miles along the road for for a better service than keep JA in business.

    Good luck.
  7. windmills

    windmills Gnearly Adventurer

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    Great attitude man. No point eating yourself up about things you cant change.
    Thanks for keeping the great photos coming, checking this thread is a real pleasure.

    mick
  8. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer

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    Lovely pictures. My father had a place in Ullapool when I was a kid so i got to spend holidays in the Highlands, classic lonely damp carpetbagger vacations. To be honest I didn't much care for tree-less hills and horizontal rain in a climate where I could usually see my breath. That said your pictures are astounding and your pleasure in your surroundings reminds me why Advrider is so valuable as we all get to see places we otherwise wouldn't enjoy.
    As to the motorcycle I like scooters too but sometimes in life the practical takes second place to the mind's eye and if you see yourself on a motorcycle then a scooter won't do. I like the idea of a Deauville, weather protection, shaft drive and comfort. I hope you will ride something that will encourage you to keep exploring narrow awkward roads away from the wide highways preferred by large heavy bikes.
    Finally to prove I've read and enjoyed the details of this thread I wondered at the pictures of the Vital Spark in May in Tarbert (the "Fital Spark") and was amazed to see a reproduction of the heroine of the Para Handy tales tied up at a wharf. Great fun, thank you.
  9. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Unlucky on the test dates but you never know the weather may even pick up by then:rofl
  10. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

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    Matt,
    I am really enjoying your thread- wonderful pics!:clap:clap:clap

    It sounds like the system for getting your motorcycle license is quite different there from the states- we have two ways of doing it-
    1. my husband took the 1 day classroom for a permit, then rode around the block with the DMV tester behind him to get his license.
    2. I took a 2 day class that was part classroom, part riding, rode a cones course at the end and got my license.

    Reading your report, it is apparently quite a bit more complex in Scotland and other parts of the world-
    Could you provide details of what you need to go through to get your moto license?
    Thanks!
  11. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    TYVM.

    The system here is actually quite complex. There are various tests you can do that have various restrictions once you've passed. I'm doing the one that has no restrictions at the end. I might get one or two small facts wrong here but this is more or less how it works.


    1. You get a CBT. Compulsory Basic Training. This is about basic bike usage. It's usually done over 2 days but you can get it done in one day, as I did. Half of it is in a car park going in and out of cones and the other half is out on the roads. At the end you get your CBT certificate and can ride a bike on the roads by yourself. Your bike can't be bigger than 125cc, you can't have a pillion, you cannot ride on motorways and you must display L plates. The certificate lasts 2 years. If you do not have a full licence by the time it runs out, you have to do it again. Official info here.

    2. You sit a theory test. Have a go at guessing British laws here! 50, multiple choice questions and then a video where you click whenever you see a hazard (this part is very poorly done). I think you can start training without a theory test but you can't do any practical tests so most places will tell you to get that done first.

    3. You sit you Module 1 test. This is a more advanced version of the cones in a carpark stuff from earlier. Slaloms, figures of 8, emergency stop and a swerve test are some of the things you have to pass to get through this one. The whole test takes about 10 minutes.

    4. You sit Module 2. This is the on road section and takes place on a different day to Module 1. The examiner takes you on a variety of roads and basically watches you ride. It takes about half an hour I think.

    At the end of that if you pass, you have a licence.


    The restrictions I mentioned earlier come into play due to the bike you learn on (and if you're under 21). If you learn on a big bike, you can ride whatever you want at the end. If you ride on a smaller bike, you get a restriction for 2 years where the bike has to be under a certain BHP. Once that restriction is up, you're free to ride whatever.

    I think that's it!
  12. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Matts got it spot on..........till january when it gets more complex again with new age and bike restriction's(I promise not to rant:D) due to next round of poxy euro license regs that most of europe will ignore except for us brits as usual....sorry almost went there:evil

    Just to add, cbt can be taken from the age of 16 and lets you ride a 50cc, turn 17 and you can jump onto a 125 as your cbt will still be valid and then keep taking the cbt every 2 years as Matt said until you pass the full motorcycle test
  13. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    I have had good service from them on occasion but I find the lack of organisation infuriating at times. Calls are rarely returned. That annoys me more than anything else.


    Exactly. It's frustrating but getting bent out of shape won't do anything other than to mess up my day. I might not have a full licence but it's not like I'm without a bike. Just without dry weather. And acceleration up hills. :D


    I doubt I'd have appreciated it much as a child either. I have vague memories of visiting some of the places in the thread but I'm certain I would have been more concerned with the lengthy car ride than scenery at the time.

    I have bought a Deauville. I was planning to wait until I had my licence but one came up in excellent condition at a price I couldn't really ignore so I went for it. It's only a few hundred quid more than I'll get when I sell my Suzuki so I'm barely out of pocket. My one concern with it was that it might be a bit heavy to be taking on all the winding, potholed, single track roads that I like. My original intention was to get something like a Yamaha XT660. The way I saw it, I didn't need off-road capability, I needed crap-road capability. Like I said though, the Honda was an offer I couldn't refuse so we shall see how that goes.

    I did not know about the Vital Spark so you're educating me here, all the way from Florida! Though I'll point out that the ship is in Inveraray rather than Tarbert. I knew the boat next to it was a museum ship but it was closed when I was there sadly and I didn't pay too much more attention to it other than that it looked like a nice old boat. Assuming it will open again at some point I'll head in. I absolutely love old boats. Working boats (as in boats made for work rather than leisure) are even better. I love that you were looking through my photos and recognised something though. That's made my day.


    I'd rather have crappy weather for my test so that good weather days can be spent enjoying myself! Still, I wouldn't complain about a dry day for the emergency stop.
  14. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    In a way I'm glad I'm a bit late to biking as it means I got to skip all this crap and go straight for DAS.
  15. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Oh DAS is staying mate, just upping the age to 24!

    Top job on getting the other bike at a good price, yes they are heavy:eek1 but you get used to it....really:rofl
  16. LisaS

    LisaS Dubious Adventurer

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    Thanks for the response on the licensing- that is quite complex:eek1 I read it several times, and still not quite sure I get it!:huh
    I assume for each level they expect you to part with some cash, what is the total cost of getting fully licensed?
  17. mustardfj40

    mustardfj40 Been here awhile

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    Beautiful country and pictures! Thanks!
  18. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Yes, at each stage you part with cash, a cbt is usually around the £100 figure, the theory test at present is £31, the moudule 1 fee is aprrox £18 and mod 2 is £85. On top of the mod 1 and 2 fee's will be bike hire costs/training fee's. Typical cost for doing whats called DAS(direct access scheme using at least a 500cc machine making at least 46bhp) will be around £5-600 including the test fee's for an average 3 days training with test fee's. You could in theory buy your own large bike, insure it etc, trailer it to the test centre and just pay the test fee's yourself but you would need to be either very confident on the bike or very good at riding to have no training.
    Some people take that route if they take their test on a 125 giving them the restricted licence for 2 years as there is no difference to what you do on a CBT in regards to safety, just the standard is expected to be higher on the actual test and in theory can afford to fail each test a couple of times before reaching the costs some training schools will charge

    It changed to this system in 2009 as before you used to have cbt and theory and then an on road practical assssment with doing a u-turn and emergency stop in a quiet road with another 30 mins riding.........then the sods in Brussells decided to interfere with our licencsing system:cry

    Hope that makes sense:norton
  19. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Still no further forward with the test issue so even the suggestion of dry spells yesterday was enough to get me out. Talking to Conchscooter about the 'Vital Spark' put me in the mood for Inveraray.

    My mind was made up when my step dad, Bob, decided to join me. He's been biking for 30+ years but due to him spending most of his life in Australia, had never found himself on the A83 through Rest and Be Thankful. This had to be rectified asap and this was our chance.

    Bob likes old BMWs. This means that his bikes often don't work (Hi Bob! :D). His bike was working yesterday, though it has an odd feature where is makes a (fairly irritating) beeping noise when you put the indicators on. It only beeps the first 3 times the indicators flash so it's not much use to remind you to turn them off again. If my bike did that, I'd never use my indicators.


    True to form it started to rain just as we climbed on our bikes. It was light, but obviously had the potential to pick up so I wasn't too confident. It did get worse and in places there were fairly large puddles on the road. I set a target of the town of Balloch at the south west corner of Loch Lomond. If the weather wasn't better by the time we reached there, we'd head back. We were in luck.

    The weather at Loch Lomond was actually pretty good and it seemed like we had clear skies ahead. So we pressed on.

    Bob had said that I should feel free to stop and takes photos whenever I feel like it. However since I normally traipse about for half an hour or more when I pull over, I would be leaving him sitting by the side of the road by himself so I only grabbed a few snaps.

    Annoyingly, I made the decision to get my photos of Glen Croe on the journey back rather than on the way out. This allowed the sun to move (or Earth to rotate) just behind the hills I wanted to photograph so some of the photos ended up a bit washed out. New rule: Take photographs when you see something worth photographing. One of the reasons I didn't stop was that the roads here were so busy. Rest and Be Thankful normally only has a handful of vehicles in there when I visit. Yesterday there was a guy there to direct traffic! I was glad when we passed it as the traffic thinned out a bit.

    I hadn't been in Inveraray since the middle of June. So this was my first visit since the school summer holidays started. It was also a Saturday. It was busy. On my previous visits I've wondered how some of the shops here survive with so few customers. I now see that they get swamped in the summer. My first stop of course, was the Vital Spark.

    Inveraray:

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    There are always a handful of bikes on the car park. Sunshine on a Saturday seems to multiply that by 6 or 7.

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    After a brief stay, we headed home. Traffic was far better on the way back, thankfully.

    Glen Croe:

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    This photo in particular annoys me. The mountain face looked great earlier in the day with the sun casting shadows all over the place. Now it just looks blue.

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    I took this photo at the same time as the others here. You don't have to look far in Scotland to see a rain cloud.

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    Turns out it had been raining all day in Falkirk. Which made the day all the sweeter. We will apparently get some sunshine this week, so barring a miracle with the test, I should have some more photos later in the week.
  20. glenn2926

    glenn2926 Been here awhile

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    Great photos Matt as usual. Lets hope you do get some good weather later this week as we are heading up for a long weekend from Yorkshire. Will be in Oban Friday night drinking beer I hope outside and taking in the views.:1drink