Wednesday 29 May 2019

Kilmac Southern Ireland

Late Bank holiday weekend brings the annual Irish Norton meeting at Kilmac, just south of Kenmare, we decided we should go as its been a couple of years since we were last there. Leaving after work on the Wednesday we headed through the rush hour traffic in Glasgow but I have to say most people made room for us to squeeze through so it wasn't too bad. Fuel at Girvan for the bikes and a stop at the chippy for fuel for us, a very pleasant trip down the Ayrshire coast to our accommodation at Cairnryan. Alex arrived eventually and we spent a couple of hours in the pub getting the banter. Very early start the following day, up before 6am to ride the couple of miles to the ferry, still dry so that's a bonus.
Sunset at Cairnryan
Alex adopting a weird stance
Fiona looking happy despite the early start
Two hours on the ferry saw us deposited in Larne around 9.30am and two hours later we arrived at Mickey McEneaney's place at Castlebellingham in the Republic. The bikes seemed to be going well which was good, its always a worry when you ride bikes almost half a Century old, despite preparation shit still happens. Fiona's bike has the 2 1/2 Gallon tank so after 100 miles its good to fill up, 120 miles and its a panic, 150 miles and your sitting at the side of the road wondering why you didn't stop 50 miles ago.
After an excellent lunch courtesy of Mickey's wife Pat we set of for Nena in County Tipperary for the night.Going through a particular town whose name escapes me but who obviously don't vote for the right people there was a particularly potholed and rough bit of road, this plus the vibration colluded to break the indicator mount on Fiona's bike, it fell of and some kind soul ran over it. Of course at this point the rain got heavier which is to be expected, parts of indicator retrieved we set off again and at a fuel stop we had a Bizarre moment when the forecourt felt like a scene from and early 70's movie as it filled up with old Vauxhalls going to a Vauxhall rally in Tipperary , without further drama we arrived at our B&B  just before the landlady, it was just starting to rain heavily again so probably good timing. The Landlady remembered us from our last stay, great to have a nice welcome, an evening in the pub and then the following day after a hearty breakfast (Friday) some rain to greet us when we set off.

The Dayglo brothers
Is it the 70's?
Photo-bombed by Michael
Just weird now

Really busy heading down to Kenmare probably because of the 5000 cyclists who have hijacked our weekend for a cycle race around the Beara peninsula, lunch just up the road from Kilmac and we arrived at 4, perfect time for a beer, the weekend was spent socialising and talking nonsense, great to see Martin Connachy as he has been in the wars and great to see him managing a few pints of Murphy's and on top form. We didn't go out on the run on Saturday as to be honest doing battle with 5000 lycra warriors isn't my thing, a great time was had despite that and my thanks to Martin who despite having other things to worry about managed to organise a great meeting again .
Sunday we left at almost dinnertime due to our good friend Alex having no concept of time (nothing new). A hard 370 mile run up to Ballygally just North of Larne for the night, as the day wore on the tiredness and the cold started to get to us, we arrived at 7.30pm having been on the bikes all day. A pleasant evening before the ferry back on Monday,  we parted company with Alex in Glasgow and as we headed North near Stirling the sky looked like the Apocalypse , then the torrential rain, the road turned to a river but we plodded through and glad to say the bikes never missed a beat. We arrived home at 8pm, cold but happy, thanks to all for the banter. 

Nortons at Kilmac
Parked for the weekend
Alex's Guzzi parked for the weekend
Luke's hobbit house on Lukes Island
Helen's Tavern
Looking down the loch
The motorway to Kilmac (there are alternative routes but they have more grass than tarmac
Nortons at rest
Lukes BSA (may be for sale)
Colm looking confused
parking the Norton for the night
Mickey looking happy with himself
Martin explaining something
There was a wedding on, not sure if this was related, nice anyway
And its a Triumph
My Norton is faster than your Norton talk
Kevin, myself and Mickey comparing waist sizes
Joined by Martin
The girls
Post wine and beer and joined by John Martin from Texas
The end of a long day
Our hotel wasn't too shabby though
Antrim coast
Pre final leg conflab

Saturday 18 May 2019

Guzzi Bimble

So a couple of weeks ago we had a week off and decided on a wee tour to Applecross and Ardnamurchan before we attended the Guzzi Rally in Falkirk. For various reasons we left on the Monday in incredible weather, warm and sunny, we took the back roads to avoid roadworks on the A9 joining at Dunkeld, a short and not too busy run to Dalwhinnie the highlight of which was being passed by two Hercules transport planes, low flying just a couple of hundred feet above our head. I sometimes wonder how they stay in the air they seem to be moving so slowly. A tea stop at the side of Loch laggan in the sunshine then a great run through to Loch Carron and a stop at the Riverside Tea room and then a splendid run over the Bealach to Applecross, tent pitched and off to the pub.
Sitting outside were some of the locals we are friendly with and a splendid evening was had by all with quite a late finish thanks to Judy who was plying me with whisky. Judy by the time you read this will have been to Buckingham Palace to collect her well deserved MBE.
Tuesday arrived with a colder feel, a day walking and talking and then the inevitable return to the Inn for more food and maybe a slightly lesser amount of partying.
Wednesday morning and it had been raining so the tent was taken down wet, not my favourite pastime, a misty run over the hill and quite windy so no photo opportunities. The shortish run to the Isle of Skye to catch the boat from Armadale to Mallaig, a ferry always makes it feel like a proper holiday.
The run from Mallaig to Strontian was outstanding, cooler but sunny and clear, by the time we reached Strontian we were gagging for a cup of tea and as we were sitting in the cafe another Guzzi headed by to the campsite, after wondering who it might be I guessed George from Morpeth, turns out I was right. We ended up in a cabin at the campsite rather than getting into a wet tent, this was a good move as the temperatures dropped.
A couple of days at the wonderful Strontian campsite (where we watched the Moidart run reported previously) and it was time to head back to Perth for a night in the house before heading to the Guzzi Rally in Falkirk. The plan was to catch some of the pre65 trial at Kinochleven on the way down but the hailstones and sleet persuaded us otherwise. We took the longer way home on the back roads getting off the A82 as soon as we could, this used to be one of my favourite biking roads but because of the huge amounts of tourists and halfwit drivers its no longer enjoyable, although incredibly scenic you cant take your eyes off the road for a minute and in Summer its no more than a nose to tail procession. All the way home I was looking forward to getting back to the house and getting a hot shower and turning the heating up to max, not to be the case as our boiler had decided to go faulty, our plumber arrived quite quickly after my SOS but confirmed it needed a part and it would probably be Tuesday.
Saturday we took the small roads to Falkirk, very enjoyable and stopped at Jim Allan Motorcycles who are now Scotlands only Guzzi dealer, they had put on a bit of hospitality for the Guzzi members which was well appreciated, also we got to see the new V85 in the flesh, hopefully they sell by the bucketload.
The rally as always was brilliant, great to see everyone from the Guzzi family, a great time was had by all and sadly on Monday it was time to pack up and ride home, a great week and plenty catching up with people, this motorcycling is a great lark, maybe it'll catch on........ The photos I'm afraid are in no particular order
At rest in Strontian
Thats hail heading our way down the loch
Fiona using the Guzzi hand warmers
Sunny at Laggan
warm even
Landscape a bit brown here
Looking over to Skye
The Bealach
Standard shot of this famous road
Tea time
Beer time with Barry, Phil and Glynnis
Love when the sun goes down here
Judy and our new German friend, the guy visited Applecross with his pals 25 years ago and always wanted to go back, even more amazingly Judy remembered them
I'm watching you
Skye again
walking to the shop
Guzzi Rally
Martins Spada in good company
Dereks Cali
Pretend Guzzi
Russels trusty falcone
Same owner from new!
The new V85
and again
Old and new
Yep its a phone
General nonsense
Serious talk from George
Mal dancing
assembled Guzzisti
Not sure what Kate was explaining to Sue here
Back to the tent
Union Canal
Falkirk wheel
Its impressive the first time then it gets a bit boring
Normal Guzzi madness expected from these two, the glitter has finally gone girls.........