A Highlander Returns Home. 200 Years Later.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Humunn, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Post #75 - your last update at 7:05 this morning (Pacific). Like I said, it very well could be the proxy at work...this place drives me nuts(er) with the things it randomly blocks from time to time...lol.

    EDIT - I correct myself, it goes back to post #73 like @xr-nut pointed out. All I see is the IMG tag - like something isn't formatted or the hosting site is doing something goofy.
    #81
  2. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Ok I think I know what I did wrong. I'll fix and repost later. Thanks for the heads up.
    #82
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  3. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    In the ferry line and on the boat I meet this nice German couple, Karsten and Miriam. Fellow moto riders, they'd been here, done that before and had some great advice. When I said I was pushing for Ullapool for the night she gave me the "are you sure?" look and nicely suggested I adjust (reduce) my expectations and look around the Lochcarren area. She even finds the number for me!
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    Remains of a very old castle of Clan Donald I am told.
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    I arrive at the Lochcarren Hotel in time for happy hour. They put me up in a single room for 50 pounds which included breakfast.
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    Best part of the evening was the local bar which is part of the hotel. I take it as a challenge each night to see if I can impose myself into a local conversation enough to where I get a glimpse of what their lives are like. I walked into the bar wearing a french soccer jersey and that caught attention. Not sure what the fellow said but it was definitely a jab. I guessed at an appropriate retort by saying something like "I hate the bloody french too" and I instantly became part of the group, just like that. Spent the next couple of hours drinking with them and listening to their day to day stories. Was a fantastic evening!
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    Day 2/3 miles = 185.
    #83
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  4. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Hey. Don't you all just love ADV? This super cool Moto adventure forum where we can share awesome adventures?!
    #84
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  5. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Saturday June 30.

    Breakfast is included in the stay at Lochcarron. I'm feeling I need to venture away from the Black Pudding...and why isn't it called something more like what it really is...like "Blood Cake"? One of the standard items on the menu is scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Got to try that. I grew up in the Puget Sound area and smoked salmon was common but I've rarely had it since that compares. But, this did more than compare, it excelled! It was one of the most amazing breakfasts I've ever had and will set the tone for the rest of the trip. And the eggs weren't like the ones at home. They add cream!
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    A relatively new tourist event is the NC (or North Coast) 500. The NC500 is a route around the Highlands that is promoted as a tourist event. I was told it was relatively new. What a great idea. I was on the NC500 for part of my route and had to have the t-shirt.
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    In planning the trip I was told several times to make a pit stop in Applecross, so that is my first destination today. A few pics en route.
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    And a little Highland free stylin'.
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    #85
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  6. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    More pics.
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    #86
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  7. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Rolling into Applecross.
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    Killer posed moto pic.
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    Not exactly sure what this is but it was nice and, by the sound of the motor, demanded respect!
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    Frozen version of cream. But this time with no salmon.
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    #87
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  8. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Leaving Applecross I continued north along the coast on single and double track paved roads. I finally spot one. The elusive Horn-ed Coo! Nothing like an American "Cougar" after all. Ha ha ha.
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    I eventually end up on the A896 and then to the A832 where I take a break in Gairloch. Here are a couple pics from the parking lot of Hillbillies Coffee.
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    When I first heard about Scotland's "single track" roads I immediately was concerned. Stateside, single track refers to generally technical offroad dirt bike trails. How do you ride single track with a big ADV bike? I know Chris Birch does it but I'm no Chris Birch. Probably my number one observation of these roads is that they force you to slow down a bit and take in the scenery...and there is a lot to take in.
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    #88
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  9. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    From Gairloch I continue to hug the coast. Everything about the ride is perfect - the weather, the bike, the scenery, the roads. Somewhere in here I fall into a bit of a lull, maybe mostly sensory overload. Something that happens when your consistent surroundings become the new "normal". Snap out of it...after all, I'm riding a motorcycle in Scotland! Time to get off the bike and walk around.

    I spot this little inlet here: 58.1082879,-5.2753817 for a break. I decided I'd just walk around. No music in my ears, just the sounds and smells and up close visual of this cool place. Let it soak in for awhile.
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    #89
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  10. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Getting late in the afternoon at this point and I'm starting to wonder about where I'll stay for the night. No worries though because it's all part of the adventure. From here I guestimate that I'm roughly 2 hours from Inverness (or Inverstress as I learned in Lochcarron) and thinking I should be able to find a place this side of the big city. En route I spot this across the river. Hadn't seen any castles yet (which was a little surprising because I was told they are everywhere) so I had to snap a pic of this one. A little grainy from the overzoom.
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    Just around the corner was this place. No cars in the lot but a couple people outside. Wasn't sure if it was even in operation but I decided to stop anyway. If nothing else I could hopefully at least get local intel on a place to stay.
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    They were actually open but informed me that the cook had the day off so there would be no food. But the bar was open and the room was cheap so I'll take 2 out of three. After all, it is all part of the adventure.
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    The pub was mostly empty except for a couple locals that showed up. Turns out, it had been standing room only the night before as there had been a huge celebration. There were so many people they ran out of glasses. I spent most of the evening chatting with a couple young ladies who were there on a work-away program and traveling. One was from Denmark and the other from Canada. I was amazed at the travel-work options available to young people now and encouraged them to keep it up as long as they can before they are old...like me.

    I think they felt sorry for me and offered me soup and french fries. Now I'm batting 3 for 3! Adjacent to the bar is the pool room. Love the felt!
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    End of day four. Miles today = 222.
    #90
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  11. keithg

    keithg Been here awhile

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    Great story!
    #91
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  12. Welshman

    Welshman B.U.F.F.

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    If like Wales, single track refers to cars, the roads are one car wide with frequent passing spots, there is an etiquette regarding the uphill vs downhill but cannot remember who reverses. :photog
    #92
  13. Johann

    Johann Long timer

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    Like everything it depends but I normally give way to anything coming uphill. The steeper the road the more reason to yield. I just have to come to a stop, the person coming uphill would have to do a hill start. I think the tradition goes back to times when cars weren´t always guaranteed to be able to get going again if they lost momentum on a climb, on a really steep bit of road you basically had one shot at getting up. On a bike it doesn´t really make any difference either way, I went up Hardknott Pass in the Lake District which was supposed to be legendary for burnt out clutches in family cars and on a bike it was a total non event.

    Enjoying the R/R, keep ´em coming.
    #93
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  14. griz2

    griz2 Adventurer

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    Down hill traffic gives way to uphill !
    #94
  15. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Pretty sure that was a Bentley you saw...quite the machine in its day. Nice RR. You seem to have struck some good weather...long may it continue!
    #95
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  16. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    Sunday July 1 - Day 5.

    One thing I've noticed about trips that last more than a few days with no set schedule is that I completely lose track of what day it is. I'm not on social media (except ADV, of course) and paid no attention to the news so I found myself "lost in the moment" so to speak, many times during the trip. Another form of freedom.

    The castle I saw on the way last night is the Carbisdale Castle and it is only a short walk from where I'm staying so I decide to take a trek there first thing in the morning.
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    About the castle from Wikipedia:
    The castle was built between 1905 and 1917 for Mary Caroline, Duchess of Sutherland, the second wife of George Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland, whom she married in 1889. She is better known as "Duchess Blair" because of her first marriage to Captain Arthur Kindersely Blair of the 71st Highland Light Infantry, who died in a hunting accident in 1883 near Pitlochry. The marriage was not well liked in the Sutherland family. When the Duke died in 1892 his will, in favour of the Duchess, was contested by his son and heir Cromartie. In a court process that followed, the Duchess was found guilty of destroying documents and was imprisoned for six weeks in London.[citation needed]

    Eventually, the Sutherland family came to an agreement giving Duchess Blair a substantial financial settlement. Furthermore, the family agreed to build a castle for the Duchess, as long as it was outside of the Sutherland lands. The Duchess employed a firm of Ayrshirebuilders and work started in 1906 just outside the Sutherland lands in Ross-shire. It was located on a hillside to be visible to a large part of Sutherland, especially the main road and rail line which the Sutherland family would have to use to travel south. Thus it became known as the "Castle of Spite" as it was widely considered that the Duchess located the castle there to spite her husband's family and the settlement agreement.[5] This is further supported by the fact that the castle's tower only has clocks on three of its four faces - the side facing Sutherland is blank, supposedly because the Duchess did not wish to give the time of day to her former relatives.[5]

    Colonel Theodore Salvesen, a wealthy Scottish businessman of Norwegian extraction, bought the castle in 1933. He provided the castle as a safe refuge for King Haakon VII of Norway and Crown Prince Olav, who would later become King Olav V, during the Nazioccupation of Norway in World War II. During that time the castle was also used to hold important meetings. King Haakon VII made an agreement at the Carbisdale Conference on 22 June 1941, that the Russian forces, should they enter Norwegian territory, would not stay there after the war. Three years later, on 25 October 1944, the Red Army entered Norway and captured thirty towns, but later withdrew according to the terms of the agreement. After the Colonel died his son, Captain Harold Salvesen, inherited the castle and gave its contents and estate to the Scottish Youth Hostels Association. Carbisdale Castle Youth Hostel opened to members on 2 June 1945.

    Following frost damage, the hostel closed for repairs in February 2011. Further structural damage was discovered, and over £2 million has been spent on repairs.[6]

    Towards the end of 2014, Carbisdale Castle was advertised for sale by the SYHA,[7] and 17 marble sculptures and 36 19th Century paintings were put up for sale at a London auction in May 2015, raising £1million for the SYHA.[8][9] A sale to FCFM Group Ltd was completed in September 2016.
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    The owner's of the hotel/restaurant/bar bought the place eight months before the hostel closed. Sadly, the loss sounds like it was a significant part of their business.
    #96
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  17. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    In planning this trip I wanted to see one or two distilleries. Not a huge Scotch fan anymore but while you're in Rome... Problem is there is like thousands of them (not really, but it seemed that way). Back in my Scotch days I was a big fan of Macallan, Talisker, Aberlour, Laphroaig and others I don't recall so I was hoping to see one or two for nostalgic reasons. A conversation with a local a few nights before suggested I stop at Glen Ord. Never heard of it but he's a tour guide, and it is on my route, so I decided to take his advice.
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    I joined the next tour and ended up with a group of Germans and an interpreter. The tour guide felt bad for me (wasn't a big deal but was nice of her to be concerned) and spotted me a couple extra drams of whisky! No pics were allowed inside the distillery but I found this display interesting in the reception area. I know what peat is but never understood (or even thought about) how they harvest it.
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    I also found out that they only keep 4-5% of their own aging whisky on site; the rest belongs to other distilleries. The participating distilleries spread their barrels among each other to mitigate potential loss from fire. Smart move.

    Heading out the door I run into John! John is my tour guide friend I met in Lochcarron a couple nights ago. Small world.
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    #97
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  18. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Ah, but sure you were in Oban.....where there's a fine distillery! Glad you had a good experience at Glen Ord!
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  19. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    #99
  20. Humunn

    Humunn Agent Provocateur

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    From Glen Ord I get back on the A9 heading east through Inverness and shortly after Inverness I got off onto the Culloden B9006 road, still heading east. I have no specific plans and no place I have to be which is a great, stress free way to travel. But, on the other hand, without research and plans I might miss something. I was lucky today and stumbled on the Culloden Battlefield. It's a national historic site and has a fantastic visitor center.

    More on the battlefield:

    On 16 April 1746, the final Jacobite Rising came to a brutal head in one of the most harrowing battles in British history.

    Jacobite supporters, seeking to restore the Stuart monarchy to the British thrones, gathered to fight the Duke of Cumberland’s government troops. It was the last pitched battle on British soil and, in less than an hour, around 1,500 men were slain – more than 1,000 of them Jacobites.

    The richly researched, stimulating and sensitive Culloden Visitor Centre, which stands beside the battlefield, features artefacts from both sides of the battle and interactive displays that reveal the background to the conflict. It is both a monument and a guide to a pivotal day in history.


    Website: https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/culloden

    Love places like this. Besides all the great displays and tons of information I mostly like to get lost in a sense of what it was like to have been there, to have lived during those times.

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