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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by JimRidesThis, Mar 13, 2016.
Looking forward to the rest.
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Day 2: The Highland Fling
Day two dawned cold but sunny, we were up at the crack of 9-ish, raring to go.
My pal, Mike, wanted to ride through Glencoe, something he'd not done before. Local intelligence at The Green Welly informed us that officers of the law were performing the vital task of operating a speed trap for bikers a little way up the road. With George's Guzzi in running-in mode we weren't at any particular risk from the scuffers, but we still kept our eyes peeled for 'a grey unmarked Audi'.
Over Rannoch Moor the temperature dropped and forced us to stop at the Loch Tulla viewpoint to put on an extra layer and warmer gloves. Fortunately the piper wasn't there to spoil the ambience.
My riding companions: Mike, Graeme & George
Loch Tulla viewpoint
Glencoe was its usual spectacular self with fresh snow on the tops. It's an amazing place whatever the weather with an atmosphere that still resonates with the massacre of 1692, a particularly macabre period of Scottish history. The Chinese tourists we ran into were just as interested in Graeme's beast (oo er!) as the scenery.
Mike offers free rectal examinations in Glencoe. No takers.
TDM900 in Glencoe. Perfect!
Graeme was sure he'd left his bike there
From Glencoe we turned south towards Oban and then onwards towards Lochgilphead. That's a very short half sentence to describe one of my favourite stretches of road in Scotland - the A816 south of Oban. Mike (Triumph Explorer) and I enjoyed a 'spirited' ride south. I believe we might have exceeded the national speed limit on a couple of occasions, or about 30 odd miles, whichever is greater!
Connel Bridge and the falls (complete with crazy kayakers)
Oban harbour with the Isle of Mull ferry
No explanation necessary!
They think big in Oban.
Crinan is just one of the jewels on this coastline and non of my companions had ever been there, so we made a short side trip for a coffee stop. Crinan lends it's name to the Crinan Canal dug out in the early 1800's. It's only about 10 miles long but it provides a safe route from the Clyde to the Hebridean Islands without the long and dangerous journey around the Mull of Kintyre. Nobody wanted to run into Paul McCartney obviously.
If they all push at the same time...
VIC32, the last remaining steam powered Clyde Puffer. The white van of the Islands
From there we turned north to Inverary and over REST & BE THANKFUL to Arrochar. REST & BE THANKFUL are the words chiseled on a stone near the top of the pass by soldiers who built the original military road in the mid 1700's. The pass got its moniker because the climb from Ardgarten is so long and steep it was traditional for travellers to rest at the top, and be thankful for having reached the highest point. The name stuck and is still used to this day.
I took those soliders at their word and had a rest on the slopes of 'The Cobbler' (2900ft), to take a couple of photos while the rest of the crew continued on back to the campsite.
REST & BE THANKFUL
You can see the old road in the valley bottom
The evening was spent in the bar enjoying some live music. No photos again!
Next instalment... The ride home
Day 3: The Ride Home
Let's get this RR finished!
The day probably dawned bright and frosty. It was still bright and frosty when we broke cover for the 08:30 rendezvous at breakfast.
That's us then, all packed up for the ride home.
The route through Crianlarich and Callander down to Sterling was another brilliant route. Fantastic weather, more or less empty roads, brilliant scenery - non of which I photographed. I did wave (or, more accurately, gesture) at the occupants of the unmarked grey metallic Audi who were discussing road safety issues with an unlucky motorist; I'm guessing my companions did likewise.
Somewhere on the A84 just north-west of Stirling
At the Edinburgh ring road my companions turned left while I turn right, taking the old A74 alongside the new M74 until Moffat where I stopped for my final coffee of the trip. Perfect riding weather to end a really enjoyable weekend.
Down town Moffat.
Same again next year please!
#4 South: Three passes, one Boot, one fort and a whole lotta nuclear fusion…
Saturday afternoon and I’m kicking my heels - time for a ride out!
'ere we go...
Today's route leads south towards Cockermouth and Keswick before I get side-tracked and turn right, away from the Lake District and out to the west coast. Less traffic and clear views right across the Irish Sea to the Isle of Man and way over in the distance, the Mourne Mountains in County Down.
What's all that then?
That there is Sellafield Nuclear Plant aka Windscale and Calder Hall. The first nuclear power plant in the world!
The west coast of Cumbria is laughingly known as ‘The Energy Coast’. There’s a long history of coal mining in the area which began in the 1700’s and led to some of the world’s deepest undersea coal mines. Commercial coal mining ended in 1986 but the ‘energy coast’ moniker is really a reference to the nuclear industry. In 1956 the world’s first nuclear power plant, Calder Hall, started supplying a small amount power, a slightly larger amount of weapons grade plutonium and really large amounts of radiation to an unsuspecting world. It's now called Sellafield, still there, still doing some sort of nuclear job.
Turning my back on the nuclear future, I’m heading towards the central hub of the Lake District.
Looking towards Wasdale from Eskdale Green
The road (there's only one) leads through picturesque Eskdale up towards the village of Boot and beyond to Hardknott Pass. It’s hard terrain, which makes it more surprising that the Romans used this as a main trading route from Ambleside (Galava) to the port of Ravenglass (Glannaventa). They built a fort (Mediobogdum) on Hardknott Pass to safeguard what was a major route.
It's a great time of year when the hedge banks are full of bluebells, cranesbill, etc.
The local sheep - a Herdwick. These tough mountain sheep usually live up on the high fells but are brought down (gathered) for lambing and shearing.
Hardknott Pass (you can make out the road if you look closely)
The top of Hardknott looking west to the Irish Sea. You can see the Roman fort just off the back of the bike.
Hardknott Roman Fort
It’s hard to make progress here. The roads are tight and there’s a view around every corner. Hardknott and Wrynose passes dispensed with I turned north through Ambleside and Grasmere. Dunmail Raise has only just reopened after being washed away in the winter floods and they’ve done a great job, resurfacing the entire stretch from the top of the pass down to the northern end of Thirlmere. Ten miles of super smooth twisty tarmac and a great way to end this mini ride report!
Great stuff. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Here's our equivalent of "much fun to be had up ahead."
It looks like a great thread but those bloody HDR photos just burst my head so I gave up reading, be good to see ordinary pics if possible.
Hi Twin Torque, I'd been thinking that myself and had said the same on the advscotland forum (are you on there?), I've posted up some images that haven't been processed in the Scotland posts - enjoy!
I plan to be right up north next week, RR to follow, no HDR.
Philip, I must have seen a photo of that sign a hundred times and never get tired of it One day I hope to find myself, on a motorcycle, right at that spot.
Anytime you're ready...
It is amazing to me how all the stuff we studied in history is more interesting from a motorcycle.
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Great stuff . . . I was exported to Oz from Kirkcaldy many years ago. Dad's family was from Newcastle area,
Granny lived at Eaglesfield, one aunt worked at Chapel Cross, another lives in Carlisle, and my bro's at Workington.
Scenery here is a bit drier . . .
A really good read!!
I think I was born ready!
How true. I wasn't that interested in history in my younger days, now I find it fascinating. And, as we all know, there's no finer place to experience the world than from atop a motorcycle!
Thank you, I aim to please
You've got me surrounded! I do have a mate in Redland Bay and my brother lives in Adelaide so I can mount a counter attack though
Nice work; I was back up there only a couple of weeks ago. Discovered a whole load of great roads I never knew and what an event Hardknott pass is!
#4 West: Far North becomes Deep South out West.
My plan for midsummer? A short camping trip up to Durness in the far north of Scotland. The reason, to see exactly how many hours of daylight they get up there. This time of year it's only dark for about 4 hours where I live (11pm to 3am) and the north of Scotland is a degree or two further north. I'm from the Look & Learn generation so I get inquisitive about these sorts of things.
However, fate decides to throw a spanner in the works (in a nice way) when my son visits right when I should be on the road. So, instead of going to see how light it is at night up north, I go to see what lights up at night out west...
Procrastination is the thief of time and by the time I procrastinate about which direction I might go it's already late in the day. Good job it's not dark 'till 11.00pm then!
After a 120 mile dash and I find a quiet campsite on the North Rhinns. Only me and one other guest on the site (I never saw him/her) and they have a camping pod available, only slightly more expensive than a tent pitch, so I give it a go. Brilliant decision! I've never used a Pod before but I think they'll be my preferred choice from now on.
My 'pod' home for the night, and very comfortable too.
4.00am wander with my camera and I spot a Roe Deer.
Next episode... I see the light!
Gimme a shout next time you're up this way
It's a big event if you drop it on that Challenging hairpin with the lovely camber
Jim we'll have to have a run out together, I also have a TDM but it's for sale at the moment as I moved on to a Honda NC750X but no less a bike and very nimble!