Monday 31 May 2021

A Scottish tour, wet version!

 So after a long time we thought we would escape lockdown, Covid, the Scottish Government idiots and try and get back to some form of normality. The trip was planned and we were to be going away for a week but then shortened to four days, we were looking forward to getting back on the road and although I'd rather have been heading for sunnier climes and a destination where the value for money is much better but because of the disease beggars can't be choosers so we took the 4 day Scottish tour. 

It started well, the A82 was dry and not as crazy busy as expected, of course droves of motorhomes and converted vans but it was sunny so all was good. A stop in the shadow of Buachaille Etive Mor for a cup of tea and a sandwich, spirits were high, the short Ferry crossing on the Corran ferry and then the splendid run to Strontian, the camp site was busy which took us by surprise and it was good to see Tim again. Unfortunately a wee mix up meant we could only have one night in the cabin and Tim managed (thankfully)  to get us into the hotel for a night.

Into the Hotel for dinner and a couple of pints but because of Covid rules you had to remain seated at your table and were not allowed to hang around the bar which was fair enough but to be honest it felt weird and a bit disappointing.

The following day we had to vacate the cabin by 10.30, by now it was pissing with rain, we set off towards the ferry at Lochaline to get the ferry to Mull, it rained, onto Mull, it rained heavier, into Tobermory and it rained even heavier. Tobermory was looking a bit run down to be honest, mind you unable to get a seat in the only cafe selling food inside didn't help the mood. Once again the whole thing was just feeling weird and to be honest a bit miserable, basically we hung around to get the ferry off the island to Kilhoan. Off the ferry and the rain was horizontal, the roads are really bad now, huge potholes (hidden by the rain) and the sides of the road just a drop into a gravel trap which would mean an almost certain drop for any poor motorcyclist forced off the edge by the camper vans or Locals driving to fast. We were glad to get back to the hotel safety and it was great to get our wet riding gear off, a shower and some dry clothes. Nice night in the hotel again and thanks to the owner for drying our gear overnight.

Heading for Gairloch it rained, heavily! A stop at the Fort for provisions and a fine run by Ivergarry and towards Eilean Donan Castle for a much needed stop, it was raining heavily so we were looking forward for some respite in the cafe, the cafe because of Covid or really because most of Scotland has forgotten how to work and serve tourists only does take away, not much use when you are cold and wet and on a motorbike, fine if you are in a car or Motorhome. We used the facilities and left, luckily they haven't had to resort to outdoor toilets YET!

A hundred or more years ago coaching Inns were set up for weary travelers after a day on the horse, motorcyclists are these same horsemen and now we are being denied any hope of sustenance in comfort. It was at this point I realised that this model of everybody being scared to serve anyone, disinfect your hands, wear a mask act like you are speaking to a leper when serving customers is total bollocks, what is the point of the huge inoculation drive if we are all still terrified, government subsidies and a year of weirdness has sucked the life out of the tourism industry, whilst having the greatest of sympathy with anyone trying to run a business in these crazy times I can't help but feel the rules and scaremongering by the government is hindering any return to normality anytime soon. It is a bit like the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust portrayed in several B movies years ago, the Zombie apocolypse.

At least in Gairloch we managed to get some food and tea inside a terribly authentic coffee house which seems to think the Greta devil child is the new saviour, not wanting to be denied food or a hot drink and 30 minutes out of the rain I kept my mouth shut. 

We had a hut booked at the Sands camp site, perfect, it rained and was windy all night but on the Tuesday there was some blue skies, Hurrah! We rode home on the Wednesday to a mixed weather window and glad to report there were pleasant windows of weather. Apologies for the ranting but I had to convey my anger at the lack of return to anything like normality.

As Fiona said "I've travelled half the world on a motorbike in all sorts of conditions but three days in the pissing rain in Scotland has broken me" 

I waited a week to post this, now its sunny and all is good but be warned, when it pisses of rain in Scotland more than three days in a row, its a shite place to visit on a motorbike, its a battle against the elements, the not maintained roads and the Zombies!

On to the pictures for some light relief.



Started well
One of the nicest views from a gas station
Clouds gathering
Ferry again
Notice its wet
Tobermory in the rain
Triumphs grumpy
Whisky, no wonder we drink
That castle, off my Christmas card list
This is normally a stunning view into Gairloch
Greta fan base
Out of the storm
Woo Hoo sunshine
Clouds reminding us not to relax
Happy Fiona

Rain over there
Sun over there

Everybody happy now
Nice sunset
Jacket on though
And a wee sunset to cheer us up before the run home

Monday 3 May 2021

Bank holiday weekend

Normally the Guzzi rally weekend and now a year since we should have been leaving for Russia etc, slowly restrictions are being lifted but as always the rules seem nonsensical. Friday night we went out for a meal in a restaurant for the first time in months, it was a great meal but soulless, no tablecloths because of Covid apparently, leaving your name and number before sitting down, wearing a mask until you get seated and no alcohol with your meal. Its not exactly the going out for a meal experience we expect. 

Its ok to drink beer outside but the opening of outdoor bars in Scotland (a ridiculous concept) has been greeted by an Arctic front sweeping in, high winds and rain, temperatures far away from double digits, I feel sorry for the people trying to make a living with our draconian rules. Saturday we had a run to the seaside, apart from getting wet slightly on the way there and soaked on the way home it was pleasant, still using the heated jackets though as the temperature in May is still bloody cold on a bike. We stopped at a well known bike shop in Cupar and I'm sorry to say apart from an MV in the window there was nothing exciting there, Covid and Covid rules has even sucked the life out of bike shops.

After getting home and drying out for an hour we set off again on the bikes to meet some of the crew at Dunkeld for the evening, the Taybank has a great outdoor seating area, it was great to see people again face to face and not just on a computer screen. It was cold though and we were glad to have the full bike gear on, as I said in Scotland the re are rarely more than a couple of handfuls of days when Al fresco eating or drinking could be classed as pleasant. Our return to Perth saw us narrowly miss a huge hailstorm and downpour but not the aftermath of flooded roads, the bikes and chains certainly needed some TLC after that a wee darm and the Guzzi club zoom meeting with the central heating at full pelt! Sunday we managed a lunch al fresco avec motos and it was pleasant but luckily we got home and the bikes cleaned before weather Armageddon was unleashed once again. So that was the May Bank Holiday weekend, wet, cold  but some motorcycling and some real and virtual interaction, och it wisnae bad at all!

Very stylish
Triumphs at the Beach, also very stylish
It was bordering on pleasant
Blue skies
But clouds were gathering