Just after our return from holiday we were invited to a meeting in Lochcarron which is around a 200 mile ride up to the North West of Scotland on some of our favourite roads. Firstly I'd upgraded the forks in the Triumph with new springs (an easy less than 1 hour mod) and was interested to see how that affected the bike, as it was right after our Euro trip it was a useful back to back comparison.
Unbelievably the weather was stunning as we set off, avoiding the A9 just North of Perth is a good idea due to roadworks so we did that, the ride up the A9 was ok with the clear sky and sunshine enhancing the beauty of this route, too often we curse this road due to the traffic but actually if you take the time to look the scenery is stunning. A fuel and tea stop at Dalwhinnie and a chat with a fellow motorcyclist and then a chance meeting with the Blair boys set us up for a stunning ride across Loch Laggan, an almost clear run up to Invergarry and then to Eilenn Donnan castle for a tea stop again before the last leg over the single track road to Lochcarron.
The Rally really is a meeting of old friends and a pleasant evening was spent in good company. The run home on the Sunday was OK but it rained from Invergarry, not an unusual occurrence unfortunately, still enjoyable and the verdict on the fork upgrade was that it was £60 well spent, it really transforms the handling and does away with the annoying dive at the front end when braking. Geoff followed us to Invergarry where he obviously got bored of our company and disappeared. A stop at a cafe just after Laggan locks for tea of course and a snack then back to Dalwhinnie and the A9 for the last 60 miles. Coming down the hill at Blair Atholl I spotted a motorcyclist in distress so pulled into the layby, as I pulled in I realised it was in fact a Norton Commando, the rider hunched over the back end, I recognised him straight away, Bill Downie junior (his father Bill Senior had been a friend of mine many years ago) Bill junior had been a Perth man but the pursuit of education and greater things took him to far flung exotic cities such as Glasgow and Thurso, he had been up to Thurso that weekend to see old pals. His stay in exotic cities had obviously taken its toll on his mind as he had set off on this 600 mile round trip with a knackered chain and more importantly a knackered sprocket, when I stopped he was trying to tighten the chain enough to stop it riding over the sprocket! I said "my god, what would your father have said about this ?" His reply was " if you knew my Dad he would have kicked my backside" I took my helmet off and he said "Gino, oh no, the shame" it also transpired he had next to no petrol, we followed him down to Pitlochry but the petrol station was being refurbished and had no fuel, a scavenge around and we managed to cut a bit from the workman's hosepipe and found an empty milk carton, some fuel from Fiona's bike got him enough fuel to get to the next stop, glad to say he got home safely, the moral of the story is, check your bike before you set off and if you don't you will be publicly shamed if I catch you :-)
A great weekend and probably the best run up the road for a while.
|Iconic castle (and bikes)|
|Bert's newly aquired Commando already green! Laurenne on the bobber|
|Sunset over the loch|
|The baldy chap had a full head of long hair and a beard only two hours earlier and got it shaved for charity (Air ambulance) Pictured with the organisers|
|Cafe on a boat at Laggan|
|Bill junior |
|This used to be a sprocket! |