Back To Scotland, First Time Solo (Pic Heavy)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Kebabmonster, May 1, 2019.

  1. Kebabmonster

    Kebabmonster Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Durham, England
    Forgot to put the pics of my gear on the last post.

    Pants will have to go in the bin, ripped on the knee and also on the hip

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    Coat not so bad

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    Andy
    #21
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  2. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    where elephants roam
    Great insights on the spillage.. hopefully lessons learned and now keep it upright !
    #22
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  3. Kebabmonster

    Kebabmonster Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Durham, England
    Day 4 continued

    So I ride into Durness and decide I'd fill up with fuel. There's 1 unleaded and 1 diesel pump, and a card machine to pay for it. There's a big Mercedes 4 wheel drive vehicle at the pump, and the woman driving it points to the pumps asking if I'll be wanting to use them. I nod and she reverses back, nice lady. So I fill up and as I'm about to start, another woman walks over and asks if I know how to operate the card reader and get gas? "Yeah, it's pretty straighforward", I say. "Well we've had some trouble", she says, "Would you be able to help us please?". "No problem, I'll just fill up then we'll get you sorted", I say.

    So I fill up, push the bike out of the way and get chatting to the woman. Turns out they are 2 sisters doing a tour of Scotland. She's from Montana, and her sister lives in Alabama, and I reckon they're both past 60. They'd tried the card machine but couldn't get it to work. So I ask if the Merc is a petrol or diesel? Petrol she says, so I tell her sister to pull to the unleaded pump. She goes back and forward but still cannot get close to the pump, it's taking some manoeuvring the big Merc. So she pulls forward to go round and come in again. As she does this, a Honda Civic pulls up to the pumps and he fills up. By now my arm is starting to give me a bit of hokey from the crash, and I'm really wanting to be on my way. The Civic leaves and the merc pulls back in at the unleaded pump. I opened the fuel cap door, and it's diesel. Oh man!! So I says she'll have to pull to the diesel pump. Well she pulls forward again, then drives round the corner. Then the first woman I spoke to says they're not going to bother filling up, they'll just head on but thanks for my help. :imaposer

    Phoned my wife and told her what had happened with the crash, and told her I was ok bar my arm starting to hurt. She was concerned but pretty ok about it (way better than I thought she would be mind). Then I headed out of Durness, still got almost 70 miles to go to get back to the hotel. Take it fairly easy as the pain in my arm is getting worse every mile. Stop off for a few pics on the way. I want to be back at the hotel, but also needed a few stops to give the arm a bit of a break.

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    An explanation of what you're looking at at one of the viewpoints:

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    Got back to the hotel at 4:45. Arm was really hurting now. Had a shower, changed, and had a bit lie about, before I went down to the hotel bar. Ordered a Loch Broom burger:

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    Once again, burger was nice, chips were standard fare.

    I'm sitting at a table on my own when a guy walks up and asks if he can sit down as he needs to charge his iPad and there's an electric point on the wall at the end of the table. Feel free. He was a guy from Seattle touring around Scotland. I told him he wasn't the first American I'd spoken to today and was telling him about the sisters from Montana/Alabama. Turned out he was originally from Montana.

    After 5 pints, I headed back to the room. My arm was so bad, I couldn't even use it to push open the door to the men's toilets in the bar by now. Started thinking that heading into the Cairngorms tomorrow might not be a good idea, ragging round the mountain roads round there would be tough when I'm not feeling 100%.

    Bed about 10:45, after telling the wife that my arm was now feeling fine. LIAR!!!!!

    Day 5 to follow...
    #23
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  4. JimRidesThis

    JimRidesThis Local celebrity

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
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    Eventful report so far KBmonster!

    That road from Durness down to Ullapool (and the Drumbeg Route) is an epic route. I was up that way myself last autumn. I had a little incident of my own too, but no ‘off’ thank goodness.

    Looking forward to Day 5 :lurk
    #24
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  5. JimRidesThis

    JimRidesThis Local celebrity

    Joined:
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    Cumbria, UK
    I looked up Gilnockie’s Tower on Wikipedia, I’d never heard of it even though it’s only about 6 miles north of where I live, near Canonbie (you nearly got it right!).
    #25
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  6. Kebabmonster

    Kebabmonster Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Durham, England
    Day 5.

    Today's planned route:

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    However, I woke up at 7:20 and my arm is hurting, a lot. I decide that instead of heading through the Cairngorms as planned, I'm going to head back to Inveraray the way I came on day 3. So it ended up like this:

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    Not much to report about day 5, but after the events of day 4, I was pleased it was uneventful. Doesn't mean it was boring, but it might be to read on here. Apologies if it is.

    Decided I would have breakfast today. Went down to the dining room just after 8. It's a buffet breakfast, but the yolks of the eggs weren't runny. Just like when my wife does a fried egg :dirtdog:

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    Breakfast was very good, and 3 cups of black coffee should keep me awake for a while.

    Decent weather today:

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    Unlocked the bike, and noticed the indicator was hanging off. Out with the duct tape, and you can only just tell it's not as it came out the factory, but only if you look really close :imaposer Still works though:

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    Went to the cashpoint across the street, but it's not giving out cash, tried 2 different cards, but no joy. I've now got more used clothes than unused, so a major re-jig of the bag is required. No matter, I've got plenty time. I program the new route into the sat nav back to Inveraray, and go and load the bike up. Arm is really kicking off after lugging the bags about. Check out and hit the road around 10:00.

    Just take it easy at first to see how the arm is when riding. It's ok when just tobying along. Get off the A835 onto the A832. Took a few pics along the way, but also have some fun cos this road is class. Had to back off as ragging the bars started to hurt the arm again.

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    I stop to take these photos:

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    As I'm taking them, 2 guys on a ZX6R and a GSXS (I think) pull into the car park. I ask them if they'll take a couple of pics for me, and I do the same for them. Turns out they're a father and son doing a tour of the North Coast and are heading back south. Had a good chat for about 10 minutes with them finding out about their trip and told them about my crash the day before, nice lads.

    Here's the pics they took:

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    The rest of the day is just great roads, great riding and decent weather. Stopped at Lochcarron for fuel and had my usual sandwich for dinner from the fuel station shop with a packet of crisps and a bar of chocolate. The A82 was pretty empty with long straight sections with very few other vehicles around. The A85 was much the same. There was a 370Z, F-Type Jag, and an M3 absolutely caning it on the A82. I was doing around (ahem) 60, and they came past me like I was standing still, bet they had a whale of a time.

    More random pics from the day, some excellent scenery again:

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    Took my time on these single track roads :imaposer

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    I love this pic:

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    More pics as I headed towards and through the Glencoe area:

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    The A819 which goes from the A85 down to Inveraray was a fantastic bit of road. I turned onto it and had a wagon in front of me. Got past him, and never saw another vehicle going my way for the 15 miles to Inveraray. A road with loads of sweeping bends and a good surface, what a hoot, it was fantastic. And knowing I was close to my destination, I wasn't fussed about how much hokey my arm was giving me, plus I was concentrating too much on having fun to take much notice anyway :imaposer

    Got to the hostel about 5:00, got the same room 7 as I'd had on day 1. There was 1 other guy sitting in the communal area when I got there, no cars in the car park. Shower, changed and off to The George for 3 pints, then into The Inveraray Inn for a couple more. I ordered a Highlander pizza (I think that was it's name, but cannot find it when I've looked at their online menu tonight) in the bar, not cheap at £14.95 mind. It had black pudding, haggis, and chilli beef on it I think (most people I've told about it think it sounds revolting), and it's one of the best pizzas I've ever had. Absolutely delicious:

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    Back to the hostel by 8:30 feeling tired. Had a couple of cans in the communal area watching the snooker on BBC iPlayer on my phone through the wifi. The guy who was there when I first arrived is still on the settee, but there's no dialogue with him.

    Hit the hay by 10:30, totally done in, and my arm is still hurting.

    Summary for the day: Class. Good weather, great roads, great riding (even with a bad arm), fantastic scenery, not much traffic, good crack with the father and son, a few pints, a magic pizza, and watch some snooker. After the previous day's action, a steady day was needed. Superb!!
    #26
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  7. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,858
    That breakfast looked superb....but wait....no toast? No corn flakes?? :lol3
    "Jest" a wee jest! T'looked grand! Glad to you a good ride and a great day! Looking forward to the next episode!
    #27
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  8. Kebabmonster

    Kebabmonster Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Durham, England
    Day 6 and beyond...

    Time to head home.

    The original plan was this:

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    But I was all ridden out. I'd decided the night before that that route wasn't going to be taken on my last day. So I just clicked on Home on the Sat Nav, and it found the quickest way to my house, which meant motorways and dual carriageways. So this was the route:

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    Had a bad night's sleep. Kept waking up for no reason, and woke at 6:00 and knew I wouldn't get back off. Lay about until 7:00, then got myself sorted out. Started to load the bike, and the guy who was in the communal area last night was in the kitchen making himself some breakfast. He had his cycling gear on and we got chatting. He was from Chester and had parked his car further south, then cycled up over a few days. Today he was heading south to Tarbet, then down to Campbeltown, then he was going to get a ferry across back to where his car was. His plan was to then drive to the North coast, where he was meeting loads of his pals. They were hiring a few lodges for a week, and doing cycling and hill walking.

    I took no pics on the ride today I'm afraid, motorways just don't have the same appeal for photos. The forecast was to be dry at first, with rain heading in from the west affecting the full west coast of Scotland and moving across the whole country. As I was heading south then east, I was hoping I could stay ahead of it. Left by 8:20. A83, then A82. I stopped at Dumbarton for fuel, and the sat nav said 179 miles to go to get me home. I figured I may have to stop for a splash and dash fuel stop, maybe not. My DL has never hit the numbers for mpg that some have posted on here, but I put that down to me running a fairly rich mixture on the Power Commander as I hated it before when it was running far too lean.

    So I set away from Dumbarton, skirted round Glasgow and got onto the M74. Sat nav said 89 miles to the turn off I wanted, zzzzzzz. I'll not bore you any more, but I got home at 12:15 without needing any more fuel or having another stop. The motorways were great for my arm though, and although it was still bothering me, it would have been worse on the B roads I'd planned originally.

    Made it back:

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    So, my thoughts on the trip overall:

    Even with the crash, this was absolutely amazing. And even though I'd ridden more than half the roads before (almost 2 years since the last time mind), I'd never get sick of going up there. The scenery is great, around every corner is a new photo opportunity.

    The accomodation was basic, but did the job. I like a roof over my head rather than a tent, and everywhere I stayed was ok. The hotel was rough around the edges, but I didn't think £84 for 2 nights including breakfast was going to get me 5 star.

    I probably (well not probably, definitely, when I think about it) programmed too many miles per day for the type of roads I was on, and this had a hand in my crash. Next time I go up alone, and I will, I'll cap every day to no more than 250, and even less when there are single track roads involved. The roads I picked bar the one around Syre were great. Some fast with sweeping curves, others single track and technical with loads of blind 90 degree corners, and everything in between. Going with my mates we always pick the fast sweeping roads, but I enjoy the tight twisty stuff, so most were fine.

    Doing a solo trip is class. Having never done one before, I'll admit I was apprehensive, but it was great. With me not being an outgoing type of person, some nights were a bit tough, but in fairness, there weren't many people knocking about the 2 nights I was in Inveraray. But getting up when you want, setting off when you want, going as fast or slow as you like, stopping when you like, and as on day 6, doing a longish stint without stopping when you like, is spot on. If anyone is thinking about going solo but has reservations about it, just go for it, you won't regret it. I met some great people when I was up there. Not being a talker, it was good to hear what other people were up to and where they were from, and they were interested in what I was up to.

    Food. Never had any bad food, even the sandwiches from the fuel stations were ok. Both fish and chips were very good, and the pizza was awesome. Funny how when I'm dossing around the house I get hungry a lot, but up there, I only had 1 breakfast, and most days, only a sandwich or McDonalds around 12-1 o'clock saw me through to a main meal around 7-8 o'clock that night. Must be boredom/comfort eating at home I suppose.

    The crash I've went into in an earlier post, so there's no point in going over it again. All I'll say is it was my own fault, and me and the bike got off lightly.

    So all in all, it was a fantastic trip. If you've never done a bike trip to Scotland, get it on your To Do list. And if you have, get yourself back there.

    Going a bit off topic here, but I'd promised my mother I'd paint her dining room the day after I got back home. I'd texted my sister when I crashed to tell her and we agreed that I shouldn't tell my mother what had happened. She's now 76, and she's never been keen on me being a biker. "Bikes are dangerous" has always been her line. Both me and my sister knew that she'd only worry even more than she does now every time she knows I'm on the bike if she knew I'd came off. Ignorance is bliss in this case.

    I knew my arm would hurt like hell doing the painting, but I couldn't back out without telling her why, so I had to do it. But now it was starting to bruise up, so over the 3 half days I was on with it, I had to keep a jumper on. I was cooking but couldn't take it off :imaposer I was pleased when she went out to meet her sister on the 2nd day so the jumper could come off. But I got it done, was in loads of pain, but she still doesn't know that I crashed :lol3:lol3:lol3

    This was during the decorating:

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    So that's my RR done. I hope you're still with me and haven't dozed off, and I hope you've enjoyed it. I'll be reviewing my gear next post, what I used and what was good/bad, and then I'll be posting up the bike repairs that are well under way.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comments. :clap

    Cheers,

    Andy.
    #28
  9. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    Thanks for posting that Andy. I enjoyed reading and looking at your pics. My last trip to Scotland was 1988 so I think I may be a little overdue???
    #29
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  10. Kebabmonster

    Kebabmonster Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Durham, England
    Definitely!!!
    #30