Wednesday 30 March 2016

Easter so it must be Applecross

Easter has fallen a bit earlier this year which of course guarantees weather, when I say weather I mean it all, all sorts including gale force winds. The ride up to Applecross (sidecar mounted) was excellent, sunny when we left, almost freezing but dry at Drumochter, stunning along the Loch Laggan road, quiet to Invergarry and then to Loch Carron where we stopped for a late breakfast courtesy of Kate and Geoff at the Riverside cafe, It turned a bit windy and wet over the Bealach (my maiden voyage over here in the sidecar, Fiona having already piloted it over last Summer)
Bert and Laurenne arrived 5 minutes after us but sensibly in the Land Rover, putting the tent up was a challenge in the windy and wet conditions. We got wetter putting the tent up than riding the 250 miles up there! A change of clothes, aperitifs with Bert and Laurenne in their "Glamping" tent and then the usual mayhem at the pub, great to see everyone and spend some time with Judith later when it died down. A usual Applecross day on Saturday, Lunch and Dinner in the Walled garden, time catching up with our friends who live in Applecross and more banter with Bert and Laurenne. A most excellent experience.
Sunday the McCalls (like most of the other Glampers) had abandoned the site early due to tent leakage and breakage during the previous nights storm, We had breakfast at the Walled garden and then rode up via the coast road, Torridon, Gairloch and Ullapool to Kenny and Sheilas hotel at Lochinver . This has to be one of the most spectacular rides in Scotland and forms part of the NC500 route being promoted by the tourist board, truly amazing. The Culag Hotel in Lochinver a great place to stop off if your considering doing it at some point. Monday the ride home, fantastic until Inverness then the slog down the A9. A great Easter weekend despite the "weather", great company and hospitality, we shared the sidecar driving (although its probably more like steering a boat) and did over 700 miles.
The sidecar's done over 1000 miles the last 2 weekends so its won a reprieve!  
Fuel at Dalwhinnie
A stream
Applecross house
Highland cows with their new born calves
Applecross bay
Out for a walk
Tent and chair
Rain while we pack up
Torridon (I think)
Pose for a pick
Gas stop Ullapool
My turn to pilot 
The Bealach
In the rain
Has to be one of the most stunning roads

Tuesday 22 March 2016


Last weekend saw us heading to the West coast, Tighnabruaich to be precise for a meeting. The sidecar was needing its annual test so we set of to Perth just after 8 am on Friday morning. Hamish at Cherrybank garage was pleased to see me, he hid in the corner hoping I’d go away. The bike was tested efficiently by Jimmy Storrar, certificate printed, abuse exchanged and we were on our way. We rode past Loch Earn which was stunning as always, it reminds me of Lago di Como in Italy, an ad for the Mk5 Le Mans Guzzi had two Guzzi’s side by side riding along the shore of lake Como, I always thought of that as I rode along loch Earn, not sure why as mostly it would be raining and cold!
A pit stop at Tarbet and a late breakfast then a pleasant run along the Loch to Tighnabruaich stopping for a look over the Kyles of Bute.
The Friday night was a bit of a wipe out, Bob, Kate, Heather and Geoff helping Fi and I get very drunk, good to meet up with friends, an evening also spent talking bikes and planning routes with all and sundry. Saturday we made our way over to Portavadie , in this small place overlooking Loch Fyne there’s a leisure complex, what a stunning setting overlooking the loch and the hills, sitting in the outdoor hot tub it felt surreal, like something out of a holiday advert.
Saturday night was a less hectic rerun of Friday and very surprisingly we won best 3 wheeler prize!
Sunday was stunning, sun in the sky and a bit of warmth in the air Fi piloted the outfit home while I sat in the chair, no dramas just a thoroughly pleasant run (despite the bloody potholes)

Tea stop at Tarbet
The Kyles of Bute
Quite busy when we arrived on Friday
What is this life if full of care We have no time to stand and stare.
Well said that man
It doesn't all have to be about roughing it
So the Geoff and Heather fan club spotted this T shirt and thought it bore a passing resemblance so at a certain point they all donned them, it was funny
Geoff didn't think so
Saturday morning, people heading out for a wobble
Nice V7 cafe
Liz appeared to make up the contingent of Guzzi's
Happy times
Packing up on Sunday, plenty logs for the fire!
Being piloted by Fi
Passing Dave (he passed us back)
Final pit stop before home, great weekend in great company