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Our first run together was organised by Wesley, Dez had held some romantic notion about us going up to the far north of Scotland so we humoured him. These photos are total crap so we'll understand if you want to skip this page. Hey - we all got to start somewhere you know!
This is the route we did, not spectacular but nice enough for our first run.
This is on the road to Fort William, it had taken us most of the day to get this far (Photo Dez)
The shot above shows the bikes we used for our first bike tour together to Scotland. On the left is the 650 Kawasaki that Pete had borrowed from Dez's mate Steve. Steve had decided that a holiday in Thailand would be a slightly better option than Scotland so he kindly offered to lend the little Kwak to Pete, who was bikeless at the time. Come to think of it, I think he only lent it him in the vain hope he wouldn't get it back again. Apart from a puncture in Fort William though it never gave a bit of bother, it was actually a great little bike.
In the middle is my old BMW R1100R and in front of that is the Q.E. 2 ...Sorry, Wesley's Guzzi California, which he'd just bought to replace his VFR800. We all thought he'd lost his marbles when he did the swap, but the Guzzi was a very underrated bike that he reckoned handled better than it had a right to. We must have looked a right sight on this lot, but did we care? Did we hell. This was proper motorbiking.
The Prince of daftness having an emergency pee pee - it's an old man thing!!
Dez's bike, an old Z750 Kawasaki had finally died at Carlisle after giving trouble all the way up the M6, causing us to stop at every service area between home and the Borders. One of the cylinders kept cutting out, and with It getting late in the day we had to dump it at a very accommodating Guzzi Club member's house at Longtown, a small town near the Scottish Borders. After sorting that out we carried on with Dez riding pillion on Wesley's Guzzi.
While we're on the subject of young Wesley, before we go any further it must be explained as to why he wants to remain "incognito" in all of the photos. It's to do with a warrant that was issued by Interpol for his arrest. Apparently he's wanted in several countries for crimes which include duck rustling, (Namibia) illegal wombat herding, (Australia) and squirrel batting without a licence (Scotland).
Following the delay caused by Dez's broken down bike, it was
getting quite late into the evening by the time we arrived
in Fort William. It was well after tea time and we were hungry as hell, but we'd
managed an amazing run through Glen Coe at speeds in excess
of 50mph!! Blimey! The excitement of life on the open road can be just
too much sometimes - that's why us old guys smell of wee! Time now to
head for the Distillery
Guesthouse. Shower, shave & shit, then off for some Beer and a Ruby.
Tomorrow we head north, up the east coast to Wick.
Dangerous Dez and the borrowed 650 Kawasaki at Loch Ness on the way to Wick
The McKays Hotel Wick wasn't too bad as hotels go, it's advertised as the "Principal Hotel in Wick" which probably says more about Wick than the hotel to be honest. The rooms were clean and the staff very helpful but there was nowhere safe to leave the bikes outside, so they'd arranged with a local motorbike repair shop in the town for us to leave them there, which was very nice of them. One of the staff even came with us to show us the way and give us a lift back to the hotel which was even nicer.
The shop was quite a way from the hotel and when we eventually got there, the entrance to the rear was blocked with their bikes, so they asked us to put ours in the street and leave the keys with them.
The following morning when we went to collect them, my Beemer had 14 miles more on it than when I left it there the night before. Cheeky gits.
The excitement of arriving at Wick, we could hardly
contain ourselves. Steve doesn't know what he's
missing in Thailand the poor sod!!
If at any time you feel in a
masochistic mood and need to go anywhere that's guaranteed to put you off ever
going back there again, try Wick. It's purpose in life seems to be to
make everywhere else look better by comparison.
As we wondered about the harbour area, I couldn't help but get the impression that the place has had a greater past than it has a future. It was sad to see what was probably once a thriving fishing port reduced to it's present state. Just what the natives here do to earn a crust we weren't sure but there were no obvious signs of any affluence, or thriving businesses. Apparently Dounreay Power Station employs quite a few, but judging by the amount of houses here even that would be just a small percentage of the available workforce in Wick.
The Wick folk are more than likely very nice, but we didn't actually see that much in the way of life there so we can't possibly comment. Even an attempt to find somewhere to eat for our evening meal drew a blank, there just didn't seem to be any restaurants or pubs selling food, apart from our hotel which was a bit on the pricey side so we decided to give that a miss. We ended up in a run down old chip shop that had a few well worn chairs and tables scattered about.......The chips were shit as well !
Wick has a ruggedness that some people may find appealing, but it really is an unattractive place, which in itself isn't too bad a thing, but for all it's past it seems to have very little character. Personally I found absolutely nothing pleasant about it at all, it was dull.
So much for Dez's romantic notions!
The loveliness of Wick harbour. Pete was so overcome his leg fell off and Wesley grew a new head
Remind me again Dez....Why are we here?? (Photo Dez)
Having a whale of a time, Pete does a quick verse of solo "Auld Lang Syne"..................
Time to go find a pub, it's raining again!! (Photo Dez )
About as far north as we could get - without swimming! (Photo - some passing biker dude)
Dunnet Head. It's a tad bleak up here! (Photo Dez)
Dez and my R1100S. He rode it down from Wick to here, just north of Inverness
Tea time at Pitlochry (Photo Dez)
Longtown, Scottish Borders. Dez's Kwak 750 waiting for the tow truck - and a headless Wesley looking after it (Photo Dez)
The plan was to end the
trip with a good night out in Edinburgh. We'd booked in at the Averon
Guest House at Gilmore Place which looked nice from the outside. We rang
the bell and were greeted
at the door by a
oriental persuasion who had hair so greasy that you could possibly fry chips in it. She was
also a stranger
to modern dentistry by the looks of things, and
just to add to her overall attractiveness, there was a pretty bad B.O. problem wafting after her wherever she walked, you'd not lose her in a
that's for sure.
She showed us to our (very small) room, which under normal circumstances there would have been a job getting a double bed into.... They had not only got the double bed in there but 2 singles as well which pissed us off a bit seeing as how we'd booked 2 twin rooms. Let's just say we'd have had to be VERY friendly if we intended staying there. The idea of sleeping in such close proximity to each other was a pretty horrible image to contemplate, but the most horrific thought was of of Dez & Wes farting all night in such a confined space that first started me thinking "I'm not staying here". There's not a big enough window in Christendom that can clear one of their bowel rumblings after a few beers
We followed Miss Taiwan as she showed us around the place and it really was minging,
think low budget knockin' shop and you'll get the idea. When we came to the dining room
("This is where you ea'
Breakfas' ") and it was piled high with boxes of shite & assorted rubbish, we made a swift bid for freedom.
Not the best end to our first Wrinkly tour, but we'd had a good time, lots of
beer and plenty
so we weren't too bothered....On to next year.
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