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Our Biking Plans for 2005 already included a summer tour of Europe for Wesley, myself and our wives.
Dez and Pete had also organised their summer holidays, so rather than an additional
Wrinkly tour of Europe we decided on another run up to Scotland again in early June - but this time with a
difference. I planned the route for this trip, and a few ferries had been included to make things a bit more interesting.
Bike changes for this year were:
Pete had now swapped the aging Suzuki GSX1100 for a lovely Honda CBR 1100 Blackbird,
Dez hadn't changed his bike but being Dez had added one more to his growing collection...A Honda CBR1000 which he'd already toured Spain on at Easter.
I'd changed the BMW R1100S, which was falling apart around me for something with better build quality - it had proved to have all the finesse and durabiltiy of a cheap Czechoslovakian watch! I'd gone down in size to my smallest bike since the Fazer 600 and opted for Honda reliability with the purchase of a bright yellow VFR800.
Wes still had the Honda CB1300 - the longest he'd ever kept a bike, it was a truly superb machine.
Jack who was meeting up with us later on the run still had his R1150R Beemer - which hadn't yet managed to shake itself into a decomposing heap...............Give it time though!
This is the route of our Scotland 2005 Run:
Out on the wild & windy moors - Heathcliffe !! On our way to Lockwood Farm
We left Dez;s place and headed north up the M6 for
Dumfries, the weather was a bit rainy & breezy but by the time we reached Shap
the breeze had become a howling blustery gale. Keeping the VFR on a straight line was a
nightmare in the crosswind, especially with the top box fitted. Weatherwise
things got a little better when
we left the motorway and headed towards our first nights stop at Lockwood Farm Steading near Irvine.
However, about 10 miles away from Lockwood I got separated from the
others when I got stuck at a busy road junction after Wesley and the
others flew off leaving me stranded there. There had been a bit of
"pissed offness" with the GPS - which had tried to take us
along a footpath, so I think tempers had become a little frayed!
I found myself onto a 3 lane dual carriageway, not a clue where I was. Fortunately I'd done what I always do on these trips and packed my own route cards - never rely on anyone else is my philosophy! I pulled over at a lay-by and got the cards out, popped them into the little clear window in my tank bag, I was just about to leave when the others rang asking where I was. They wanted me to stay where I was and they'd come and find me, but I told them not to bother, I'd find my own way there, I couldn't have told them where I was anyway!
20 minutes later following an "interesting" ride along a country lane which was covered in cow dung - and other unmentionable brown liquid slurry type stuff that country folk always seem to enjoy chucking about all over the roads with gay abandon - I arrived at Lockwood which is not an easy place to find and was fully expecting the other motley crew to be well there by now, but there was no sign of them. A few minutes later my phone rang again, it was Wesley, saying they were having a terrible job finding the place and asking where I was. It went down well when I told him I was already there!! Anyway a bout 1/2 an hour later they all came trundling up the lane looking well brassed off. just goes to show - GPS isn't always best! They all cheered up though when they saw the farm - it's a fabulous B&B.
The bikes at Lockwood Farm the following morning
Lockwood Farm Steading....a first-rate B&B, way off the beaten track and a bugger to find but well worth it. Great place and lovely people. On the hillside opposite the farmhouse they have a Jaccuzi hot tub. Of course it would have been rude not to have a shot, so we took some swimming togs with us and gave it a go. I could try and describe what Pete turned up in, but one picture is worth more than a thousand words - or so they say!
Being over the road from the Farmhouse we had to walk over to the hot tub in our swimming
knickers and when we arrived there, 3 German women were stood looking over
the fence at the steaming 'Tub. Of course when Pete arrived wearing his asylum issue swimming gear, not to mention Dez with his
green froggy bathing cap......The Fraus almost moistened their Teutonic der
The enduring image of 3 grown men who looked like they'd escaped from the set of "Crazy People" has probably been taken back to Germany with them. They couldn't have helped but wonder how the hell we'd beaten them at anything at all, let alone 2 wars and a world cup!
The Farm also had a Llama called Geoffrey, who was friendly wee guy...............
After a huge B&B breakfast, we left Lockwood and headed for the Ferry at
Gourock which would take us across The Clyde Estuary to Hunters Quay. From there a cracker of a road would then take us over
the peninsular to Portavadie where we would catch the tiny ferry to
The ferry to Hunters Quay from Gourock
The Sound of Bute from the road to Portavadie
Waiting for the ferry at Portavadie to take us over to Tarbert where we'd pick up the road to Oban
On the ferry, a man and his Blackbird
When we booked the
B&Bs for Oban we couldn't all get into the same place, so I opted to
stay in the B&B next door. It was run by very nice old dear who had recently returned
from travelling and living in South Africa. She'd set up the B&B with an old friend and her husband.
Having been all over the world, we sat for ages chatting over tea and biccies about the places she'd been
to and the things she'd done.
Next door however things weren't as rosy, their landlady was about as houseproud as they come ! She was horrified when she opened the door to see 3 hairy arsed bikers grinning at her. Looking down her nose at them with total distain, she exclaimed "Oh.....you're on ............ .........Motorcycles?"
Apparently she didn't take bikers, but the fact we got the place from the Peter Gleave, "Bikers Welcome" guide to B&Bs shows what a crock of shite that particular publication is! She went on a bit about the situation, but eventually let them in, although not before locking up her daughters, fitting their chastity belts and putting down plastic sheets onto which the chaps had to walk and put their panniers down, I did laugh. To shut her up they told her Pete was a vicar and she lightened up on them a bit, if only she'd seen him in his "swimming gear" at Lockwood Farm she'd never have let him over the doorstep, and to be honest who would really blame her? The daftest thing though was that he had to answer to "Reverend" for 2 days!
The little slate mining village of Easdale
The Bridge Over the Atlantic
We opted to a have a day off the bikes while we were in
Oban, and spent the day
on an open top bus which took us along a maze of narrow roads to the quiet little slate mining village of
The ride on the bus made an interesting change, as we could now do a bit of sightseeing. Most notable was the Atlantic Bridge, which wasn't that interesting in itself but watching the driver squeeze the bus over it was.
The most remarkable sight of the day though
had to be Pete in his new "Darth Vader" hat.
Being a baldy old git, when we'd got on the bus and sat on the open top
deck for a few minutes he decided his bonce was cold and that he needed
a hat. He did a quick run to Woolies just up the road and bought this
(below) off the
kiddie counter for £2-50. He looked a right knob in it, so I've modified
it a bit !
On the way back to Oban we passed a little white cottage which the driver mentioned over his "tourist" tannoy was the place used in the film, "Ring of Bright Water". One hell of a coincidence then, that when we got back to the B&Bs later I switched on the telly in my room to find the very same film just starting.....Spooky! Didn't look much like the same cottage to me though!
Next Morning we left for Skye and the little harbour village of Kyleakin.
Pete's new hat.........."Does my bomb look big in this?"
The weather on our run up to Skye was superb. First stop was for some elevensies - Dez needed cake! We stopped here at a cafe near Castle Stalker on the Appin peninsular.
A couple of Tarts later we were on
our way to The
Corran Ferry where we were to meet up with Jack.
This is a short ferry crossing, which goes over Loch Linnhe at it's narrowest point to
Ardgour. This then gives access to the Arisaig Peninsular from where we caught our final ferry from Mallaig over
Dez and his "Marvelous Tart"
The Coran Ferry crossing Loch Linnhe
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