Scotland 2003                                           
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For 2003 we'd agreed that another visit to Scotland would be good, but this time heading up the more scenic West Coast. The route would include Oban, The Isle of Skye, Ullapool and Edinburgh (try again with a decent hotel!)

By now Pete had decided he'd like a bike of his own and had taken the padlock off his wallet to buy himself an old but nice Suzuki GSX1100, Kinda like a Katana but without the attitude. The bike came complete with a brand new pair of "superb" Barracuda tyres.  We did tell him to get them off and go buy some decent ones but Pete being Pete.............Well,  we'll take up that story later.    

Wesley had changed his Guzzi for a BMW R1150R, and Dez had now got himself fixed up with a lovely deep purple Kawasaki ZRX1100. I still had the R1100R, which was developing more & more rattles as the miles piled up on it. If you've ever heard a bag o' spanners being dropped onto a snare drum then you'll know what I mean  

This is our 2003 route................



 


 
 Monday 24th May meeting up at "Chez Dez" 

 


Oban. Looking out towards the Isle of Kerrera. Taken from McCaigs Tower

 

The first nights stay for this run was at Oban, where we'd booked in at the Kings Knoll Hotel  nothing  special but it wasn't  too bad. The rooms were comfy but due for a lick of paint. It has a bar though, which is a plus for 4 old gits like us who like to partake of a pint or two.  Oban's a great little town with lots to do and see, with some good pubs and places to eat,  we managed to grab a decent Indian at the Saisoor Tandoori Indian Restaurant on George Street.  Afterwards with our bellies bubbling away like a Vesuvian lava flow we took off in search of some decent  pubs, entered a quiz in one of them and won a beer glass.....Just what we needed, another beer glass - yipee doo!  

 


This is a Lay-By on the A87 on the way to the Skye Ferry at Kylerhea .  

 

The following morning we set off for Skye, but not before taking a quick ride up to McCaigs Tower, where we met some nice old dear who thought Dez was a vicar...... the daft old bat!  After mooching about there for a while taking photos etc, we set off in the direction of Skye and our next nights stay at Portree.`

Picture the scene, riding the A87 bound for Skye.  A burger van had been spotted lurking in the bushes near a lay-by, and Dez's bike veered towards it as if drawn by a huge invisible magnet. He has a little gadget fitted to the front of his bike which applies the brakes at the merest whiff of burger or chips (he's working on  a cake version) so we all had to stop while the big fella refueled.  Note in the above shot that Pete is stood by my Beemer? He was already starting to complain that his bike wasn't handling at all well because of his crappy tyres, and I think he was hoping to swap it for mine. Dream on Barracuda boy! Anything over 60 mph and the old GSX, despite several attempts at exorcism became possessed by demons and refused to respond to any rider input. It had developed a mind of it's own and went where IT decided to go.....which didn't always involve tarmac. 

 



This shot was taken on the road to the Kylerhea ferry after we turned of the A87 

 


The ferry office, were we worried? 
Too fookin' right we were worried, and we hadn't seen the state of the ferry yet!!


    
The bikes on board the rickety little Kylerhea Ferry to Skye on our way for a nights stop at Portree  

 


Arriving on a  damp & misty Skye



Pee pee stop - Headed for Portree

 

The most laid back way onto Skye is without doubt via the tiny Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry, the smallest of only a couple of Skye Ferries that still survive.  Access to it is reached by turning off the A87 at Shiel Bridge and following the signs to Bernera. This will take you along a lovely litle winding road which goes for quite a few miles before terminating at the ferry slip.

Once on Skye we rode straight to Portree and our hotel the "The Bosville" which is situated in the town so it's quite handy for the bars and restaurants.  The parking at the hotel is a bit of a problem, if we'd landed by car we'd have been well stuffed because once the few spaces outside are taken there's nowhere else that's really handy. In the event the manager was kind enough to let us leave the bikes on the front path of his house just opposite. The Bosville is a really nice little hotel with helpful and amicable staff, the food here is excellent as well. Although we didn't eat here on this trip I was in Portree with Wee Jimmy Krankie later in the year,  we sampled their menu then and it was good.

 


By the time we'd reached Portree the rain had stopped



Portree Harbour

The Bosville was where I saw the ghost! Something woke me in the night, and in the half asleep and pitch dark of the wee small hours I opened my eyes and slowly focussed on a ghostly luminescent shape that  was  floating across the room at the foot of my bed.  I'm not really a believer in ghosts but here I was actually seeing one with my own eyes. I broke out into a cold sweat and thought to myself, "'Kin'ell"..... As you do !  My heart started going away like a nympho's overworked gadget as the spooky, iridescent silhouette drifted slowly & silently across  the room. I was now fully awake, realising what I was seeing and, starting to really panic, I just wanted to dive under the covers and hide, but was mesmerised by the menacing glowing shape before me ........... Then the ghost opened the bathroom door, switched on the light and went for a piss!  It was Pete, the daft bugger had only brought a 'T' shirt with a bloody great luminous Mooses head on it to sleep in. He's a feckin' liability sometimes - especially when you share a room with him         

 


 


Moody Skye

 


 

 


No visit to this part of Scotland would be complete without going to see the stupendous Eilean Donan Castle  



 
After leaving Skye we headed north through Wester Ross, this is beautiful Loch Carron

 

By now the Barracudas on Pete's bike were really starting to piss him off. I was actually quite pleased about that after the ghostly 'T' shirt incident, it served him right for being such an arse.  Wesley had ridden the Suzuki and conceded that it was so bad he didn't know how Pete was riding it, "Bloody dangerous" was the verdict. We'd taken a small compressor with us so the tyres were now inflated to over 50 PSI but to no avail, the bike's handling still had all the rigidity of a wet bus ticket. We came to the conclusion that Baracudas are made of "Bluetack"  but with slightly less grip. 


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