Sunday 14 April 2024

Wee Smokey

 Despite the hellish weather forecast (Heavy showers and high winds) we had a very nice run to Arbroath for the first "Wee Smokey" of 2024. We left early (for us ) but the car park was already packed by the time we got there just before 11. Once again, an outstanding crowd of lovely people (apart from the loud exhaust brigade not on classic bikes and not doing anyone any favours)

Great to see so many weel kent faces after a long winter and get the banter, once again the pictures tell the story and well done to Eric for his efforts, fantastic! (and again we were lucky with the weather!)


Leaving in the sun
The theme for prizes was under 250cc, this effort was interesting
Phil on his Commando and his son Tom on his xt600
Alan and Marian's triples
And from the other side
Good Matchless and AJS turnout
Jake and Ali's steeds
Hector has been polishing again!
And a Vincent
The "Small bikes ring"
Eric taking the weight off
plenty wee bikes, seems to be a thing these days
Murray and Ian posing for the camera
nice Yamaha
Super nice Ducati
late T3
Ner a Car, a regular at this meeting
Velocette (2nd kick)
Velo like mines but started first kick, how I hate them
Murray's V11 Le Mans
Mikes Morini
and a very nice 350 LC
Nice R100
Brother John and Lesley's bikes
Mr Bloys Single
And his pal John on a very nice Matchy
RD400, he passed us on the way there
And still dont know what it is!
And an out of focus shot of the prizegiving, thanks again Eric

Tuesday 9 April 2024


 Our first season opener took place on Sunday and I was surprised with the turnout, a brilliant line up of Nortons despite the crap weather, rain and storm force winds didn't deter the crowds. I've seen this meeting if the weather is bad have only a handful of bikes but I think everybody is raring to go with the diabolical weather we have had (the weather is only narrowly beaten in second place by the clowns that are meant to be running Scotland) 

Great turnout and a great day for talking, my jaw was sair at the end of the day, great to see everyone and looking forward to the no doubt rainy day next Sunday at Arbroath, as always the pictures tell a better story.

One view
And another
Bills Duke feeling lonely

Some fettling by Budge
Jakes Falcone with Ali's breva behind and John T's Tiger in view, My brother and leslie's bikes blurred in the background 
And all the way from Uddingston (I think)
Worth another look but it is a waste of a good frame :-)

Tuesday 2 April 2024

A Scottish Easter tour

 We set off on Easter Friday, it was raining, not heavy, just that constant drizzle that gets through everything so waterproofs on. Funny a set of waterproofs over our waterproofs because no single set of waterproofs keep you dry in Scotland no matter what anyone says. I often read the reviews of the latest Carlos Fandango kit and am usually amazed at the reviews which say;

 " The waterproof jacket (and/or Trousers) came the next day and they are brilliant, very warm and very satisfied with their performance. I haven't worn them in the rain yet though"

Anyhow I haven't left the hoose yet and I'm already moaning, a strange thing then happened, as we passed Pitlochry, well known for its rain a funny object appeared in the sky, it wasn't a UFO but it was indeed the Sun, this eventually brought a blue sky, we were very happy with this situation, even Drumochter was Sunny and despite the snow on the high peaks it was warm. The A9 was actually OK until we approached Inverness but it was by no means Bank Holiday busy (I believe it was later on though so I'm glad we left early)

We stopped at Dingwall to fuel up and buy some chargers at Tesco because I had forgotten them but rather than eat in the Cafe we drank our tea and had our home made sandwiches in the car park which saved money but more importantly meant I could avoid social Interaction with the general populous. This was how the day panned out, leaving there we briefly went back onto the A9 and turned off onto the B9176 to Bonar bridge then the A836 then A837 another single track road. We stopped to take some photos of Carbisdale Castle and the river before we eventually stopped just before the main road to get the kettle out and brew up again. Then passed or rather stopped at Loch Assynt to take a photo of Ardveck Castle before fuelling up in Lochinver and enjoying excellent hospitality with Kenny and Sheila at the Culag hotel.

Day 1 Photos

Snow on the Hills at Dingwall
Carbisdale Castle built in 1907 for posh folk, then it was a Youth Hostel until 2011 and now owned by a rich Wifie Barrister
Fiona in full flight
Waiting for me
Brewing up
Checking out the surroundings
Arveck Castle (1490) so pretty auld 
The much younger than 1490 Fiona

A pleasant night in the bar and then back onto the road to Durness, stopping for some more photos, unfortunately we were on the NC500 route now and had to contend with motorhomes and hire cars but to be honest the sun was shining and it wasn't too bad, a stop at Loch Erribol for a cuppa and sandwich in a cafe, trying to do our bit for local business. Just after we left there a group had put their car in a ditch, I offered to help but they said they had enough people so I buggered off from the quickly forming queue of Motorhomes trying to get past. I stopped a landrover a couple of miles after and asked if he could look out for them and pull them out and he seemed to be happy to do that.
Kenny had told me about a very small road to Altnaharra that goes down the side of Loch Hope so we took that, it was desolate and beautiful and we only saw two cars although bizarrely there seemed to be a motorhome gathering a few miles in, they get everywhere.
We had a brief spell of heavy rain at Altnaharra but then the sun came out before we stopped for a roadside brew up just before Lairg. We stayed at a Hotel just off the A9 south of Tain. The Shower didn't work, after a long day on the bike it was a bit of a pain. If we had been camping it wouldn't have been an issue but sometimes you think if you are in a hotel the whole point is getting a shower!

Day 2 Photos

Looking back on Loch Assynt
The most used bridge in car adverts Kylesku Bridge
Near Scourie
Nice scenery
Loch Erribol
Fiona happy with the sunshine
Down the road from Loch Hope
Broch Dun Dornaigil Iron Age hoose
Cloudy looking at Loch Meadle
Fi having a snooze, its tiring this caper you know
Cuppa near Lairg
ww2 Monument

Sunday we rose early, earlier than we thought because we had lost an hours sleep due to the clocks going forward, scraped the ice off the seats and headed to see Norrie Milton in Elgin, a bit of a catch up and a bacon roll and then back to Forres to take the A940 and then the A939 to Grantown on Spey where we were staying the night. The hotel didn't realise that our room wasn't sorted so we had to wait an hour and a half until it was sorted, then the shower wasn't working properly, again, Scotland whats up with the showers? It was ok though and despite the Austrian Bus party (yes it was one of those places) goosestepping around in their rooms above us until midnight and then starting again at 5.15 we got some sleep. Breakfast and then over the Lecht towards Braemar and the Glenshee cafe for lunch followed by a dry but bloody cold run home but more importantly a warm Shower when I got there.
Great weekend, around 650 miles and not much rain, some stunning views and great roads, I'd recommend it but maybe take a tent or check out the showers beforehand?
I did think through the weekend, why do we go abroad when we have this scenery here? When I got home I answered it, It's warm and the showers work, its cheaper and in general staff in the leisure business actually enjoy their work and give a damn. Highland hospitality is a myth or was maybe true years ago whereas now it means ripping people off and being grumpy whilst your doing it. 

Another roadside tea stop