Round-and-Round and End-to-End (Swampland to the Highlands) - Lots of photos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slartidbartfast, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    This pass was, well a paved sheep trail. Whether found by the Romans or just following an ancient wildlife trail the ride under the conditions was a definite challenge. The "road" seemed more fit for mountain biking than motorized transport. There was one bicyclist and a couple of hikers struggling across in the opposite direction.

    There seemed to be a local landscape co van whose driver seems to be a bit annoyed with the driver of another car and he spared no time or traction trying to pass the auto on this narrow path to arrive at a home a few miles after the pass.
    #61
  2. DewNmoon

    DewNmoon Been here awhile

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    One thing I learned is that the "better half" won't let me free for another escapade like this without her. (She took off for Cozamel in our absence, girls trip!)
    #62
  3. Ted Bell

    Ted Bell I want that one!

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    What an amazing report!
    #63
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I'm really not sure when the rain eased off. It seemed as if it would never stop and we were getting quite sick of it. Somehow, when we went through Carlisle, almost on the border with Scotland, we were able to stop and extract a camera briefly in order to record the fact that we saw another castle - Carlisle Castle!
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    It was drizzling again and chilly when we pulled off the motorway for fuel, somewhere south of Glasgow. We ran across several other bikers there, all bemoaning the weather. The only one who seemed indifferent was also wearing the least waterproof-looking garb and riding a hard-tail Triumph. He had already covered a substantial distance and had much more to go. We were suitably impressed.
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    Much to DewNmoon's amusement, our refueling break also happened to coincide with the arrival of an old Reliant Robin 3-wheeler.
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    #64
  5. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    As we skirted Glasgow, the showers became less frequent and, more or less when our route converged on the A82 and Loch Lomond, it actually began to brighten up and warm up a bit.

    Loch Lomond is really beautiful. It is not as long as Loch Ness but it is the largest body of fresh water in Britain. We stopped several times to take in the views as the weather continued to slowly improve.
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    The road runs right along the lakeshore (lochshore?) in places and the views of the Trossachs are truly magnificent. From a biker's perspective, the road is just great, with no straight portions to speak of and many varied turns, dips and rises. It is quite narrow for a busy road, however, being sandwiched between the lake and railway tracks for much of its route, and there are not many opportunities to pass slower moving vehicles. We got stuck behind a few cars following a couple of really slow bikes. The one in the back looked like some sort of mid-sized trailie but when we finally got past, I was surprised to see that the pokey bike causing all the backlog was an R80RT - rather handsome in dark blue but travelling at a snail's pace.
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    This area has been described as the Highlands in miniature which is probably fitting - Although I always thought "The Trossachs" sounded more like a medical condition - maybe something you'd suffer from after a hard night on the Newcastle Brown.

    "Hey Jimmeh... are ye cummin ovah te watch the footy wir uz?"
    "Nah... Ah dinnae think I can make it. Ah've gorra bad case o' the trossachs. Ah think mebbeh there were summat wrong wi that vindaloo ah hed last neet..."

    Leaving Loch Lomond, the route continued to be both scenic and fun. We eventually turned onto the A-85 at Tyndrum with the impressive bulk of Rannoch Moor on the North and Ben Lui on the south.
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    I'm not entirely sure mf my geography here but I think the valley is known as Strath Fillan or Glen Lochy. Anyhow, it was a really great ride. We were even beginning to dry out a bit.
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    I really began to feel as if we were in the wild parts of Scotland (a feeling I would keep for several days). Traffic was light and the road broad and well maintained - A perfect motorbiking road in other words.
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    Reaching Loch Awe, we somehow managed to pass Kilchurn Castle without stopping for a better look - we were enjoying the road mightily so that might have had something to do with it. We did stop by the loch and I found an interesting piece of industrial archaeology rusting away in the water. Any ideas?
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    Eventually we reached the tidal Loch Etive. The tide was almost in but there was an impressive current moving in the narrows. You could smell the salt on the breeze as we passed Connel Bridge and turned south for Oban
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    Once again, the GPS took us unerringly to our destination, the Scottish Youth Hostel Association youth hostel, right on the sea front in the coastal town of Oban. It's hiding just behind the big church to the left of this shot.
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    We checked in, collecting our sleeping-bag sheets (more on these later), unpacked and locked the bikes. It had turned out to be a great day's ride, despite the ugly, ugly weather early on. I had my heated jacket liner, heated grips, the RT's beautiful big fairing to hide behind, and boxer cylinders to warm my toes and had just about completely dried off by the time we arrived. DewNmoon was almost dried out but still needed a quick shower to warm up before we set off on foot to explore the town.
    #65
  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Here are a few shots of Oban. DewNmoon was "people watching" again and also interested in the architecture and gardens.
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    Note the architectural oddity on top of the hill. We were intrigued too.
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    We decided to stroll up the hill and have a better look at whatever was at the top. To a swamplander and an acclimated swamplander, it was quite a hike up the steep streets.
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    #66
  7. Anarchist

    Anarchist Office Linebacker

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    Absolutely tremendous pics. Please keep them coming.
    #67
  8. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    We huffed and puffed our way up the hill, following the blue and white signs for McCaig's Tower. At least this confirmed it was some sort of tourist attraction and not merely an interesting piece of industrial architecture.

    DewNmoon was intrigued by the tightly packed houses with their multiple chimneys, neat, colourful flower gardens and decorative mouldings. "Surely they could combine the flue pipes into one?"... "How do they keep the slates on those steep roofs?"
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    I was stripping off layers due to the exertion, thinking about dinner and wondering if my knees were going to survive the walk back down :D
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    According to the plaque (which also labels most of the visible landmarks) McCaig's Tower was built by the philanthropic banker John Stuart McCaig around the turn of the century (as in 100+ years ago, not 8 years ago). Supposedly the stonemasons who worked the granite and erected the structure did so in the dead of winter when they would otherwise have been unemployed. It must have been miserable work.
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    The style was supposedly intended to reflect the Colliseum in Rome (I thought it looked familiar!) The tower was originally intended to house a museum and art gallery but construction ceased with the death of McCaig. For DewNmoon and myself, it gave us a good excuse to stretch our legs after sitting in the saddle for days. As a bonus, we got some great views of Oban, the Firth of Lorn, and the islands of Kerrera and Mull in the distance.

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    We stayed to watch the sunset, which was a bit of a disappointment as it was basically invisible in cloud. Sure was worth it just to relax for a while with the view and the cool ocean breeze though. As the sky began to darken slightly, a couple of lighthouses started winking in the distance.
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    We passed a gorgeous hillside garden and picturesque cottage on the way back down the hill. There was still plenty of light for photography.
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    The problem, however, was that the sun set was so late (after 9:30pm) and while it takes another hour or so to get dark, it meant we were going back into town when many of the places we could buy dinner would be closed.
    #68
  9. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Back down in the town, supper seemed to be our primary concern. While wandering in search of a suitable restaurant we strolled past the Oban distillery and talk turned to the possibility of visiting in the morning before we headed out for our next destination.

    I rather fancied an Indian mean but the one restaurant whose menu we perused was fiendishly expensive and I couldn't seem to talk DewNmoon into trying his luck in the cheaper establishment down the road. We settled on a fish and chip shop with a few formica-covered tables in the window. Good choice!

    We were greeted by an incredibly friendly staff who wanted to know all about who we were and where we were from. They also shared their tales of travel in North America and elsewhere. I was drooling over my neatly wrapped paper package of meat pie and chips, little wooden fork in hand, while we edged closer and closer to a table. "Well we'd better let you enjoy your meal..." Finally!

    We had no sooner sat down and unwrapped our food than a passing local struck up a conversation. We had a lot of fun chatting with him and the staff joined in again while we ate. We were told about the pass to Applecross, near Kyle of Lochalsh, that we absolutely had to ride. Steeper, narrower and higher than Hardknott we were told. The local guy turned the conversation to alcohol which was not surprising as he seemed to have had a few already. He began telling us about all the good pubs and clubs nearby and it soon became apparent he was angling for us follow him there and buy him one or two. When we indicated we were going to turn in early and get a good night's sleep, he wished us well and headed off, rather unsteadily, in the direction of the harbour as we began walking back to the youth hostel.

    It began to drizzle lightly as we covered the last few hundred yards along the sea front and the wind picked up and turned colder, causing us to zip our bike jackets up as we walked. Just as we approached the hostel we were treated to the dual and unlikely spectacles of a slightly overweight mature woman in an improbably short skirt and flimsy blouse and impossibly high heels staggering and tottering across the street and into a nearby hotel bar while talking loudly and in an agitated manner to a man who didn't appear to be listening; and equally unlikely, on the other side of the sea front wall, was an elderly chap swimming toward the steps. He must have been bloody freezing. I know I got goosebumps just watching. They're either an incredibly hardy bunch up here or utterly mad.

    Back at the youth hostel, we tried to get on the internet for a few minutes to catch up with one or two ADVrider postings from the week but the hostel's public internet access turned out to be a coin-operated terminal that had no means of transferring photos (or doing much else other than browsing the web.) We sent a couple of emails and turned in for the night.

    In what would become a frequent occurrence, we found ourselves sharing the room with a couple of German bikers who had just come from Skye - our ultimate destination the next day.
    #69
  10. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    What had started out as an exciting ride but in almost indescribably horrible weather had turned into a beautiful journey through stunning scenery on near-perfect roads. [Running low on suitable adjectives to indicate something yet more awesome than before and we haven't even got to The Highlands yet.] I'm not sure of the exact distances but we probably covered somewhere approaching 250 miles.
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    In US terms that doesn't seem like much, especially as a good portion of it was on the motorway. However, I was knackered when I fell into bed and had an extremely sound night's sleep.
    #70
  11. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    My parents have told me they're following this report (as are members of my daughter's girl scout troop aparrently - "Hello Girls. Go Dragons!") Chatting with us in Devon, my parents recounted some motorbike trips that they had taken back in the 50's and sent me a few photos.

    This is my mother in 1956 (I believe) on board their Aerial 350 single port, at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire. Motorcycle-specific helmets were somewhat of a new idea back then and the model she is wearing was the latest design.
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    They did most of their Scottish touring on a BSA 650 Gold Flash. Here's my father eating his lunch on the back of the bike, somewhere in Scotland.
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    Back in the 50's many of the main roads that now allow easy access to northern parts of Britain simply didn't exist. We saw more than a few examples on our trip, where a section of narrow, gravel covered single-track road parallels the road we were riding. Usually these narrow remnants twisted and turned, following the lie of the land rather than being engineered across or through it. Small hump-backed bridges seemed commonplace, one existing everywhere a tiny stream flows down a hillside. The level of adventure that my parents might have experienced in their explorations of Scotland surely doesn't exist any more - Not that it in any way prevented DewNmoon and myself from having an outstandingly good time - and without the newer, wider, faster roads, we couldn't have got to half the places we did in the time we had available. Not that I'm suggesting we confined ourselves to the newer, wider faster roads all the time - No indeed!
    #71
  12. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    We were up, packed and ready to leave while the Germans were still snoring.
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    I tried to check my tire pressures and added a little to the rear tyre. We decided not to go the the Oban distillery but get on our way - There'll be other opportunities to sample some scotch I'm sure.

    Not far north from Oban and we spotted the first castle of the day. Dunstaffnage Castle makes quite a strong impression, perched on a point of land on the other side of Dunstaffnage bay, where it historically commanded access to Loch Etive.
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    While trying to find a better vantage point, we pulled into a marina where this cute old thing caught both of our attention.
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    Ride 1/2 mile... Stop to admire scenery... Take photo of scenery... Ride 1/2 mile... repeat...
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    We followed the signs for Fort William which directed us across the Connel Bridge that we had passed on the way in yesterday. From the bridge you get a gorgeous view of Loch Etive in both directions but we couldn't stop.

    The road soon looped around Loch Creran and as we crested a hill approaching Loch Linnhe, I whooped in my helmet as a dramatic view of another castle opened up before us.
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    Around another few sweeping bends and we got a much closer look. Monty Python fans might recognize Castle Stalker as scenes from Monty Python and The Holy Grail were filmed here.
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    The road followed the shore of Loch Linnhe, which is absolutely bonnie, even without fairytale castles.
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    In just a few short miles we crossed the Ballachulisch bridge and before we knew it, we were entering the town of Fort William. It was the first place we'd seen that looked as if it might have a souvenir shop.
    Dew: "Let's find a place to park and walk around for a bit."

    "Great. I can look for a pressure gauge."

    After a brief loop around the town's one way system, we spotted a car park with a free motorcycle parking area. We pulled up next to a couple of mopeds and a gorgeous old Harley Sportster.
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    The HD was not in pristine or original condition but obviously getting used which is far better in my book.
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    We locked up the bikes and went in search of souvenirs and a pressure gauge. We found souvenirs. I bought a Scottish flag sticker to adorn the pannier next to the Welsh dragon I purchased in Caernarfon. While DewNmoon was pricing T-shirts I found a liquorice log with chocolate inside - or was it chocolate-covered liquorice (I'm a bit of an addict and this was a novelty I couldn't pass up.) I think it was gone before we made it out of the shop.

    "Is there anywhere around here I might get a tyre pressure gauge?"

    "Well, there's a motor-parts shop in the industrial park just past the turning for Glen Nevis."

    I looked at DewNmoon... "We're taking a detour up Glen Nevis."

    As we started walking back to the bikes, it began to rain.
    #72
  13. DidierD

    DidierD Noob Dreamer

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    Excellent write up. I'm going for a week trip around the highlands at the start of August so this is especially interesting :clap
    #73
  14. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    You won't be disappointed, and being from Harrogate, I don't need to remind you to take your waterproofs :lol3
    #74
  15. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Durn it! I was really looking forward to today's route and had fervently hoped the biker gods were going to cooperate with the weather today.

    I did have one small bit of luck and picked up a one-pound coin in the street. That'll buy enough petrol to get me about eight miles.

    After another trip around the Fort William one-way system, we quickly found ourselves at the Glen Nevis turning.

    What can I say... the road up Glen Nevis is amazing. Firstly the road is running along a green valley with a fast river running down it and gorgeous high mountains on either side, their flanks shrouded in cloud.
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    Then there's the road itself... The first two or three miles are two-lane, followed by another mile or two of single-track. The engineers who laid out this ribbon of asphalt did not mess with the landscape any more than they had to. It faithfully follows every contour and bump it crosses, at the same time as it swings back and forth, tracing the bends of the valley and winds almost randomly as it negotiates the pitching, rolling valley floor. The swoops and dips and never-ending changes of camber and radius make for an exciting and gratifying ride. The road surface was near-perfect and there was hardly any traffic - what more could you ask for?
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    Well it could stop raining - and it obligingly did.

    At the head of the road, we found a considerable number of parked cars, presumably belonging to some of the many hikers who we had spotted here and there on our way up.
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    The narrow footpath continuing on from where the road ends was marked with some dire warnings
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    I picked up a set of car keys and spent several minutes trying to work out where to place them so the owner would find them easily but they would not be advertised to every passer-by. While I was doing this, DewNmoon disappeared somewhere, camera in-hand.

    A splendid waterfall tumbles from somewhere high on the valley-side
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    and smaller but equally attractive cascades are to be found in the river alongside the road.
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    On the way back down the valley, we stopped several times to take it all in and try to capture some artistic or especially relevant images in-camera.
    "Do these saddlebags make my arse look big?"
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    We stopped off briefly at the Ben Nevis visitor center and as we were pulling out, I spotted a hiker's whistle, lying in the road. "Hey, I just keep picking stuff up today."

    Not everything was going my way, however. Some dope pulled out right in front of me at the roundabout back on the main road and then I managed to drop my helmet outside the car parts shop - It rolled half way across the road , picking up a couple of nicks and scratches along the way. Oh well! At least my head wasn't in it.

    I did find a simple, inexpensive pressure gauge - and it doesn't need batteries either. Tyre pressures weren't too far off and after a quick adjustment, we were on our way again, heading up the Great Glen in the direction of Loch Ness.
    #75
  16. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Oportunities for walking, climbing and perhaps touring at a more sedate pace abound in this area. I have never walked to the top of Ben Nevis but it's been on my "To Do" list for many years.

    Hmmmm... I'm thinking perhaps some sort of bike-n-hike trip... Three peaks (Snowdon, Sca-fell Pike, Ben Nevis) perhaps? So much to do - So little time to do it in!
    #76
  17. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    The Great Glen is the name given to the valley containing a series of Lochs and connecting rivers that follow the line of a massive thrust fault, cutting diagonally across Scotland and dividing the Grampian Mountains on the southeast side from the Highlands on the northwest. From Fort William to Inverness you have Loch Linnhe (a Sea Loch), Loch Lochy, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. 23 miles of the total 60+ mile length is occupied by Loch Ness.

    From Fort William (and Glen Nevis) we headed toward Inverness along the Great Glen. In places the road follows the Caledonian Canal, an 18th century constructed channel designed by Telford to allow shipping to bypass the dangerous passage round the northwest of Scotland. At the Fort William end, we whizzed past a sign for Neptune's Staircase before I had time to remember it is the name given to the first series of Locks (as opposed to Lochs) that raise the ship channel from sea level.

    I'd try to describe the "ooohhh, ahhhh" spectacular scenery and the great riding but I'm using the same adjectives over and over again. Suffice to say there's plenty of distraction from the road, which is very distracting from the scenery.

    Dodging another shower, we pulled in to a tea room near Aberchalder where there is motorcycle parking and received a warm welcome and a hot cup of tea.
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    The owners came to chat with us. They took the place over quite recently and much to my chagrin, I can't remember the name of the place. I found it on the net as the "Thistle Stop Tea Room" but the bit of sign in the photo seems to indicate "Heather". I'm mad at myself as this young couple deserves a plug - he is a biker and, as I said, they made us feel very welcome.

    DewNmoon enjoyed some sort of... well I'm not sure I remember what it was but he enjoyed it
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    while I had a tasty baked potato - with beans, much to Dew's amusement again. I also caught up on a few emails while DewNmoon chatted with a couple of cyclists who showed up behind us.
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    The cyclists were on a marathon tour of Scotland by tandem. DewNmoon is quite the cycling buff and took a great interest in their ride
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    I was interested in a different way because my grandparents used to tour Scotland on their tandem, back in the 1930's.

    Moving on, we reached Loch Ness and thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns, ups and downs of the road along the western shore for about fifteen miles or so until we came to Castle Urquhart.
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    Fortunately for us, the builders of most castles chose defensive locations that also make for incredible backdrops to their handiwork. Castle Urquhart is no exception. We came across another group of riders stopped for the same view and had a quick chat about who was going where, etc.
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    When I used to drive this way 17+ years ago, there was a fabulous view of the castle with the dark, brooding Loch Ness behind that popped out at you as you drove by. The owners have since constructed a visitor parking area that is designed to obscure the near view almost entirely - presumably to encourage you to pay for the walking tour. They have even gone so far as to plant umpteen kinds of spiky, thorny, prickly plants on the wall (plus signs telling you not to stand on the wall.) DewNmoon apparently missed the signs :lol3
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    Leaving Urquhart, we retraced our steps for a few miles back down Loch Ness. The Loch really has a unique character.
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    I have never seen another body of water that can display so many contrasting surface textures at once. You can certainly see how people could "see" things lurking or moving in the depths.
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    The sun was out again and this is a place I have dreamed about riding for years. Life is good!
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    ...and the bit I recall as being the best part of this route is yet to come...
    #77
  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I've never been up in the far Highlands but where we were going today I have travelled more than once. The road from Loch Ness to Kyle of Lochalsh and the Skye ferry (more on that later) is one of the most stunning and spectacular routes I have ever driven. Heading more or less westward, it passes through several connected glens (Moriston, Cluanie and Duich at least) and alongside a couple of lochs. The road itself.... well I'll let the photos speak for themselves:
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    Last time I was here was probably 1991 and I was between motorbikes at the time. I remember wishing I could ride this road instead of driving it (even though, as a drive in a car it's pretty darned amazing)
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    Loch Cluanie is a couple of miles long but made much larger than its natural origins by the addition of a dam to provide hydroelectric power. Supposedly, the geography and meteorology of the area have mysteriously conspired to ensure the loch often has its own rain cloud and it consequently provides a very steady supply of water, sometimes even overtopping the dam. We got a quick sprinkling as if to keep us on our toes. Although it had started raining on us several times during the day, it never really turned nasty and the only truly wet road we had ridden was in Glen Nevis.
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    There is fabulous hillwalking in the area and the Five Sisters of Kintail can be seen from by Loch Cluanie. There are many other beautiful views that open up as you come over a hill or around a corner. The road is broad and well sufrfaced and has no hedges or fence for much of the way - a perfect biking road in other words.
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    Approaching Loch Duich, the first sea Loch at the western end of the road, we came around a corner to find these fellows in the middle of the road.
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    They were incredibly agile and all but one quickly jumped up the sheer rock walls of the road cutting before we could get our cameras out.
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    I knew what was coming next but let DewNmoon just roll along, enjoying the ride alongside Loch Duich until we came around a corner to find Eilean Donan Castle right in front of us.
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    Eilean Donan is possibly the best known and most iconic Castle in Scotland after Edinburgh, and is certainly the best known landmark in The Highlands. Similar to several others that we saw it was of 13th century construction but almost certainly on the strategic site of much earlier fortifications. This particular castle was rebuilt several times over the ensuing centuries (unusually, to make it smaller) and was then partially destroyed by the English after it was occupied by Spanish troops in the Jacobite uprising of 1719. The castle was rebuilt in its current form in the early 1900's.
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    The castle has been used in numerous films but was not showing it's best side for us due to the extremely hazy, bright sky. We spent quite a while wandering around taking pics but had to move on - not before stopping on the other side of the road bridge over the connection to Loch Carron for "one last look".
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    There we met an older Frenchman who was most chatty about the castle, bikes and cameras. He took a pic for us and we continued west toward Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye.
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    #78
  19. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Chatting with a couple of the fellas we met in Oban, they mentioned the bridge to Skye. I didn't ask about it but was thinking "I don't remember any bridge - maybe it's somewhere else (i.e. not at Kyle of Lochalsh.)"

    Lining up along the road through Kyle for the short ferry-ride across the Loch, was always a ritual for tourists visiting the area in the summer, and one that I had participated in. My father had talked about doing it in the 50's by motorbike and getting waved past dozens and dozens of cars that had been waiting for hours.

    Well there's now a bridge. In fact it's been there for over ten years. Oh well!

    Shortly after leaving Eilean Donan Castle, I looked down to see exactly 40,000 miles on The Duchess' odometer. By amazing coincidence, it was at exactly 39,000 miles when we left Rattery, although DewNmoon said that the Weestrom had gone 1100 miles so one of them was waaayyy off (or they both were). I whipped my camera out but by the time I had got it ready, the odometer had moved on already.
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    Over the Kyle bridge with no fuss, no delays and no tolls (stopped after a few years due to public outrage at the high rates I was told). We stopped for fuel in Broadford. What a fabulous road!!! Skye is mountainous and it's coast deeply indented with bays and inlets which the road either climbs over or follows faithfully around. It certainly made for a fabulous ride.
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    After Portree, the road is a little narrower and passing slower vehicles becomes a bit of a chore but both the road and sights therefrom continued to thrill, charm and enthrall for every inch of the way.
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    Finally we made it to Uig, which is a lot further across the island than you might think from a casual glance at a map. Uig is situated in a deeply incised south-facing bay on the west coast and the youth hostel overlooks the bay from fairly high up on the east side. A short steep driveway with tight bends must be negotiated to reach the hostel from the main road.

    The tower is some sort of folly - a landscaping feature with no true purpose.
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    A song thrush entertained us as we unloaded the bikes.
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    What a pleasant way to end a great day's riding.
    #79
  20. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    13,707
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    When we checked in, we collected sheets and pillowcases and found ourselves in a room with several empty bunks. "Great! - we can dump our stuff on the top bunk and sleep on the bottom one." We noted that, so far, each youth hostel had had a different style of bedding - one of the others had sleeping-bag sheets (which Dew did not get on with, claiming they were too short) and one had fitted sheets and duvet covers.

    We found that we were sharing a room with a young Dutch man who was cycling all over Scotland and carrying an absolutely massive, Russian-made medium format camera. It looked just like an old-fashioned eastern European camera but scaled up to Brobdingnagian proportions.

    We walked down the road to one of the two hotels (and as we weren't packing our own food, the only places to get food, so we were told.) Over dinner we chatted about the day. "What absolutely incredible riding." "What fantastic views." It never really rained hard on us, in fact we had sunshine much of the way. We covered less than 200 miles but it had again taken us all day.
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    But the day wasn't over yet. There was one more awesome treat in store for us...

    Back at the youth hostel, I popped open a can of beer and wandered outside at regular intervals to catch views of the sunset. This was actual sunset at around 9:45 I think:
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    Thirty minutes later:
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    And another hour after that, later than 11:00pm (proof that the sun does set very slowly in these parts at this time of year:)
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    Fantastic! :clap :clap :clap
    #80