Scotland at 45mph

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

  1. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Seems like ages since I last updated.

    Still have no licence. The earliest I will have one will be the end of next month. Still, my CBT has been renewed so I'm still getting out on the road when I can. So on Wednesday there the weatherman promised a dry day (with actual, real life sunshine!) so off I went.

    The route was to be a relatively long one. I would head north through Glen Coe to Ballachulish before swinging back down through Oban, Inveraray and past Loch Lomond. It was a mix of the familiar and unfamiliar.

    The Route:

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    The journey up was notable for one thing: Traffic. I got the impression that the local councils had decided, like everyone else, that they were going to make the most of the dry weather and get everything sorted while the rain was off. By the time I'd reached Loch Lubnaig (35 miles away) I'd encountered 8 sets of traffic lights or guys holding stop/go signs. By the time I'd reached Glen Coe (90 miles away) I'd seen 11. It was a good thing I left early. The delays were almost enough to cancel out my early start.

    The other, more bizarre, delay to the journey up was the queue to get into the Safari Park. I skipped round the whole thing of course but it still slowed me down. I checked online when I got home. The queue of traffic to get into the Safari Park was 3.3 miles long! I did not know that as a nation we Scots have such a strong repressed passion for getting our cars shat on by baboons that we would be prepared to sit in traffic for hours to experience it just because the sun is out. Never mind teen pregnancy or heart disease figures. This was our real national disgrace.

    If you've been paying attention to the thread, you'll know I had trouble finding the ruins of a castle on Loch Dochart. This time, I looked on the right loch. It was quite cool but you don't get the best view from the banks. I believe you get to see more from out on the water.

    Loch Dochart Castle:

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    Next was the Green Welly Stop. There was a Harley Owners Group ride out by the looks of things. At least 10 of them sitting there all shiny. A GS1200 showed up. The guy appeared to have bought the works from the Touratech catalogue. It certainly looked the business. True to form however, the guy had the cleanest, shiniest bike in the entire place. And when you consider the amount of chrome present, that was no mean feat.

    The Green Welly:

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    My next stop was the Rannoch Moor. I'd love to see this place with a bit of mist sitting on the water. Or if I can brave the winter, a bit of snow.

    Rannoch Moor:

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    From there, as always, it's onto Glen Coe. It never fails to amaze. The first mountain that looms into view is Buachaille Etive Mòr. I dunno how to pronounce that but a quick internet check tells me that it means "the great herdsman of Etive". It's a good name as it does look like it stands watch over the surrounding area. One of the features I like about it, is that it changes shape as you approach it. On first glimpse it looks rounded at the top, but then morphs into a pyramid when you're up close,going kinda jaggy inbetween.

    Buachaille Etive Mòr:

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    I've only got one more from Glen Coe and it doesn't feature Buachaille Etive Mòr. I think this might be Glen Etive since it sits adjacent. Let's go with that.

    Glen Etive:

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    I wasn't actually stopping in Ballachulish so these next photos are from North Dallens on the banks of Loch Linnhe. It's a sea loch and I'm not sure exactly where the loch ends and the sea starts but these yacht mooring are well back from the sea. Not sure what's going on with the cloud in the first photo. Looks like a B-2 Bomber.

    Loch Linnhe:

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    There was a tiny stream of fresh water coming down off the surrounding fields and into the loch. The path the stream took through the rocks was decorated by a bright green moss that gave the whole area a primeval feel.

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    I was barely back on my bike when I got a very pleasant surprise. Castle Stalker. Most people know this as the Castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's an impressive sight. As I stood looking at it I couldn't help but be annoyed that at the age of 30 I know so little of my own country that I could be surprised by something like this castle. Obviously I'd heard of it and knew what it looked like but I literally had no idea where it was. On the other hand it means that I get to experience the thrill of rounding a corner and seeing something that I didn't expect to see. Any day you get to see or do something you've never seen or done before is a good one in my book. Within reason of course. ie I've never been bitten by a snake.

    Castle Stalker:

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    My next stop was a brief stop on a back road beside Loch Creran. One of those small roads you go down on little more than a whim. Glad I did as it had great views of the loch. It also had a family standing by their car in a lay-by. The second I showed up they all looked at each other and disappeared in a car. While I was taking these photos I was looking about to see if the'd dumped a body or something but the area seemed clear.

    Loch Creran:

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    My plan was to stop in Oban and get something to eat there. However, the place was packed. It was also riddled with roadworks. So I decided it was too crowded for my liking and made my way to Inveraray. At the public toilet I noticed all too late that the turnstyle that lets you in was broken so I didn't actually need to put money in to use them. There's 40p I'll never see again. I've taken loads of photos of Inveraray recently so I didn't bother taking any when I was there.

    I've got loads of photos of Glen Croe in this thread. There's still plenty more to see though. There's a waterfall there that I had previously noted for a visit which was my target. While the weather was nice for my visit, there has obviously been a lot of rain recently. There was going to be plenty of water to see.

    The area around the waterfall was soaking. I really had to watch where I put my feet. My concern was that I would slip and fall down onto the rocks. I've seen Bear Grylls though so I know what I'm doing. Loads of photos here.

    Glen Croe:

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    I've always loved this view of the road on the way south.

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    The next stop was Stirling Castle. It was getting pretty late and I was getting pretty tired so I wasn't looking to stop anywhere. However the setting sun was bathing the castle in golden sunshine so I couldn't resist.

    Stirling Castle:

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    The real treat from stopping to view the castle was when I looked back towards the sun. The field reminded me of the end to Gladiator. There's something great about stopping to look at one thing and then noticing an infinitely more spectacular view somewhere else.

    Elysium:

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    It was while admiring the sunset and field combination that I remembered that I would be running very short on petrol. There was a petrol garage a few miles along the road though so it wouldn't be a problem. Or it least it wouldn't have been had I not completely forgotten about the petrol when I rode past the garage. I got another 3 miles closer to home before running out. Switching to reserve didn't work as it turned out that unbeknownst to me I had already had the reserve option selected. D'oh! A quick call later and my mother and step dad were en route with a gallon of petrol to get me home. Luckily I was only 7 miles from home.

    The upside is that I know that I get 90mpg. And that it didn't happen in the middle of nowhere when it was freezing of course.

    My rather sorry looking, fuelless bike:

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  2. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    How did you get on? I rode through Oban on Wednesday but didn't stop as it was busy and I'm not a fan of crowds. I'll head up again though when the summer holidays are over. Looked like a decent place.
  3. Quasi1960

    Quasi1960 Been here awhile

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    Excellent thread. I rode from Cheltenham to John O Groats ( a distance of 620 miles) last year on a 50cc Peugeot scooter. It only took me three days. I had an absolutely super time. Its amazing how much more you can get out of a trip like this when you can only do 35 mph. I am considering doing it again next year.
  4. chammyman

    chammyman Been here awhile

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    Funny I was out on Wednesday and was on a lot or roads you were (I done, Glasgow - Callander - Tyndrum - Inverary - Glasgow) When I got to the Welly there was maybe 6 bikes there.

    Also yesterday mornign I went back, inspired by this thread to the Falls of Lenny. In the car though, was years since I was there, the only thing was it was a lot muddier than your pictures showed it to be.
  5. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    I can't really imagine racing around these roads at high speeds, even if I could. You'd miss so much.

    If you do it again, make sure you do a RR. That sounds like you'd have plenty of stories.



    You maybe passed me then. I saw a lot of bikes on Wednesday. Always do when the sun is out of course.

    That's cool you went to see the falls. Thinking back, the path was surprisingly dry when I was there. I certainly don't remember much mud. I'm guessing the constant rain has eventually taken its toll. I wonder if the falls had much more water flowing than when I was there. I've noticed a few waterfalls looking a lot more active in the last week or so.
  6. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    I'm not long back from a few days up north with my girlfriend. It was good letting her see things like Glen Coe for herself rather than just hearing it from me and seeing the photos. However I've never been more aware of how much better riding is than driving than when I was driving through Glen Coe. You can see the road in front of you but not much more.

    Having said that, I already mentioned that Glen Coe never fails to amaze. When we arrived, the clouds were wrapping themselves around the mountains. It was eerie, beautiful and stunning.


    What I've decided to do here is take photos from previous posts and show how things change throughout the year.



    Here is Buachaille Etive Mòr in the middle of April:

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    And again in the end of June:

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    And at the end of June on a cloudy day:

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    Here is the waterfall in Glen Coe in May:

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    And after a few months of near constant rain:

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    All I need to do now is brave the snow!
  7. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Good to see the sun out. How come its such a long wait for the mod 1? I know were a bit luckier down here and can get to two sites in an hour for tests but a month seems a long time to wait:huh
  8. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Apparently there were loads of cancellations. When I went to see about the new date there were another two guys in the same boat.

    It's far from ideal. If it had gone to plan I would have had a full licence by now. Them's the breaks though I guess.
  9. Irishrover63

    Irishrover63 Adventurer

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    Hi Matt, curious to know if you have a Flickr account as you are a keen photographer.If not it's free for storing and sharing the first 200 pictures. Great images of the Buachaille, it's been a while since I climbed it, Buachaille Etive Beag is just behind it and you can do both in a day Beag in Gaelic is "small/wee".
  10. Tackdriver

    Tackdriver n00b

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    Hi Matt, a great thread with some fantastic photo's. Just done CBT myself and planning a few day trips around Scotland on my 125. I'm a good bit further north than you - located in Elgin and a complete noob.
  11. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Maybe you can do both in a day. Would take me a week to climb any of them!

    I will look into Flickr, thanks. Tbh while I knew the name, I barely even knew what it was.


    Welcome to the forum...and biking! I've never been up your way but will get up there at some point. You should have pretty good access to the highlands from Elgin. I guess you'll be riding through Inverness a lot though right?
  12. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

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    Good to see you back out and about.

    Still enjoying the pics.

    Cheers,

    JM.
  13. Ropey Nick

    Ropey Nick Adventurer

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    A superb thread Matt, well done. It's always great to see places through the eyes of someone else and when the eyes see so much, so clearly then it's an even greater pleasure.

    That steep and winding road that you turned round on in Glen Quaich would have become even windier and taken you into Kenmore from the south side if you'd carried on it. I was up over there from Crieff in April or May, whenever that bit of summer we had was, anyway.

    Can't wait to see where you head off to when the big bike comes around :clap
  14. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Here is the new member of the family. Still can't ride it yet but if nothing else, it will stop me crying when I sell the Suzuki.

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    Not a lot of photos today. Decided to just enjoy the ride. Got a few photos of Killin though as I sat out on the Falls of Dochart. It was pretty busy.

    Killin:

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    Went for a wee trip to Kenmore in the car yesterday. Visited the Crannog that I unknowingly photographed back in May. It was pretty cool.

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  15. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Thanks man. Still plenty to come.


    Thanks fella.

    I might try that road again then sometime. I like Kenmore. Was there yesterday (in the car).

    Hopefully with the extra speed (and more importantly) increased comfort I'll be doing much longer trips on the Deauville. The riding position on the Suzuki is the biggest hindrance to long distance stuff. There's no weigh distribution at all so all your weight is on your ass. The Deauville spreads it out a bit so I should be able to go much further before the pain becomes too much. The day I ran out of petrol I was pulling over every 20 minutes to aleviate the pain.
  16. ullukk

    ullukk Been here awhile

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    Just caught up with the last month or so of this excellent thread, yet more great photo's, especially the ones of glencoe, i love it up that way, should be up that way about mid september time work permitting, stopped at the red squirrel campsite a few times in the past and always leave with fond memories, great days riding followed by great evening in the clachaig inn. Perfect!!!.
  17. Matt 82

    Matt 82 Been here awhile

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    Hmm, I was sure I updated this last week. Clearly not. D'oh!


    Haven't been out as much as I'd like for a few reasons. Mostly the weather. Got out last week though and decided to head round Loch Lomond. I rarely go all the way round the loch as the road up through Rest and Be Thankful is much better. However I'd be heading north to Crianlarich before turning south to come down passed the loch so Rest and Be Thankful was off the table. Last I heard, the road was blocked due to a landslide anyway.


    Just a few photos from Loch Lomond. I was just so happy to be out on the bike that I wasn't in the mood to be stopping. I saw a few things that caught my eye though so will definitely revisit soon and get more photos.

    Loch Lomond:

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    And because no natural beauty spot is complete without an eye-sore to go with it, here is what you see when you turn around;

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  18. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Ooo you got sunshine:rofl
    Any more news on the test? That isnt an eyesore when you think of it as an engineering feat:lol3
  19. England-Kev

    England-Kev Long timer

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    All good stuff Matt, carry on.:clap
  20. BigKnobby

    BigKnobby Adventurer

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    ...and great narrative too. Thanks so much for sharing your corner of the world with us. Please keep it coming.