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dwayne 10-04-2007 09:03 AM

Roads and Ruins; 3 days riding Scotland.
Every ride starts with an idea, and this one was quite basic. My friend Darren, whom I have known since childhood (in fact our fathers were friends before they met our respective mothers), is studying in St. Andrews Scotland. While I was mulling over visiting Darren and his family I had obvious insperation....I should rent a bike over there. Thanks to some of the inmates here, I found Cupar Motorcycles in, of all places Cupar. It was only 10 miles from St Andrews. Perfect.

Gordon and his staff treated me wonderfully and very much reinforced the hospitality of the Scots. I rented a wee strom, and it came with a top box. Perfect.

Having never ridden on the left side of the road I was a touch nervous, but in short order I adjusted. I headed north, and after getting a bit turned around in Dundee, a quick bite in Montrose, I continued toward Stonehaven for a visit to Dunottar Castle.

After traversing the steep approach (both up and down 100 or so feet), gaining the main gate covered by scatter shot and cannon loops, turning a 90 degree bend in the entry you are met by more shot holes.

The backside of the castle is even more formidable, being naturally protected by cliffs and pounding surf.

This naturally protected location or Dunottar lead the Scots to hide the Honours here during one of Cromwell's campaigns to subdue the Scots.

There are lots of really old (by North American standards) thingd to see in Scotland.

Some other views of Dunottar.

The Chapel;

The Warden's Quarters

The Stores

Even the washroom has an especially nice veiw...

From Stonehaven, I headed northwest to visit the Caringorms and follow the Spey. Some views along the way.

approaching Lecht Pass

The heather was just finishing in mid September, but some could still be found

Cutting the corner to the A95 that follows the Spey

I finished the day at a B&B in Elgin. I was very cold. Thought the pass I rode though sleet, and it had been raining on and off all day. Between Dufftown and Elgin it snowed and poured in a thunderstorm. Luckily the smart lads at Cupar Motorcycles had fitted heated grips...a life saver!

FlyNavy 10-04-2007 09:09 AM

Great report!
What were the costs involved in renting the bike? Insurance, Petro, Lodging, wine and women?
This just might be a perfect father/son trip for me.

Gordy 10-04-2007 09:16 AM

My god, that's some beautiful country! :yum

Thanks! :thumb

dwayne 10-04-2007 09:19 AM

Here is the web page where I hired the bike from, with costs.

the also have a shop in Perth that deals Kawasaki

The rental includes insurance (less a deductable, called excess in the even of a claim), so it is comparable, maybe even cheaper, than renting a bike in Canada.

Fuel is about $2 US a liter

B&B are 25 to 45 pounds per person per night away from major centers. Food pubs and resturants is 1.5 to 2 time the cost in north america, alchol is about par.

GB 10-04-2007 10:15 AM

Looks great!! Nice roads.. and pics, thanks for posting :thumb

dwayne 10-04-2007 11:01 AM

Day 2
After a huge breakfast, I headed off to find the ruins of Elgin Cathedral. Fortunately a wrong turn sent me in the direction of Lossiemouth. Lossiemouth is a quaint fishing town. Notice that I didn't say quiet. There is an RAF base there, and another two or three close by.

WRThumper 10-04-2007 11:44 AM

I just love pictures of the British Isles! But when I look at pictures like the road to Lecht Pass I keep hearing "Stay off the moors" in my mind! :eek1 :lol3

Duscherck 10-04-2007 12:25 PM

Amazing trip!
Thanks for sharing with us.


dwayne 10-04-2007 01:08 PM

More of Day 2
I did manage to find Elgin Cathedral. Hard to miss, really.

If your interested, you can read more about the cathedral here.

Graves, monuments, and memorials are always interesting, if sometimes a bit morbid. If you have an interest in symbols, these sites can tell much of who these people were (or at least who the people that commissioned the grave stone thought the dead were). Again the dates that are carried on these stones strike a kind of wonder in me. Where I grew up, a two hundred year old grave is really ancient.

The craftsmanship and detail is really amazing. Almost 800 years and these arches are still standing.

As you wonder around you come across this Pictish standing stone. I probably dates from the 800-1000 AD era.

on the other side you find this

The chapter house is very impressive, I love the roof.

Alright back on the road for a different "spiritual" experience.

Fillmore 10-04-2007 02:04 PM

Great photos, looks like you got some good weather for your trip.
The V-strom looks well in blue, possible contender if/when I trade the VFR.

Deano955 10-04-2007 08:48 PM

Nice images, I love the cathedral shots.

FREDO RIDER 10-04-2007 11:04 PM

Beautiful Scotland.
Thanks for showing us.


dwayne 10-04-2007 11:18 PM

Even more of Day 2
Elgin is also home to the Glen Moray Whisky Distillery. I am new to whisky, but I figure late is better than never. Notice a) the spelling of whisky, in Scotland a point is made that it is always without the E and b) that I didn't call it scotch. Apparently in Scotland, scotch refers to blended whisky. Single malt whisky is not scotch.

At any rate Glen Moray uses hot air dried malt, and onion shaped stills that is common of the Spey side distillers.

of course the aging process also plays a large role in the final taste of the whisky. Typically American bourbon barrels are used to age the spirit, but sherry, chardonnay, and brandy have also been used. Barrels can also be scorched or toasted to further tailor the taste.

The raw materials to make whisky are pretty basic. Barley, water, and a source of heat (traditionally peat fires). One kilogram of barley yields one liter of whisky, but you need at least 10 liters of water to make that same liter.

The whisky tour reminds me a bit of the wine tours that are popular in the Okanogan Valley. Attractive tasting rooms and buildings to help sell the image and product.

After purchasing a fist full of miniatures (hey all I have is a top case), I head over the Dallas Dhu for more whisky education.

Skitch 10-05-2007 04:06 AM

Wonderful pics and write up. I love all the history. Thanks for posting! :clap

dbarile 10-05-2007 05:04 AM

Some of the nicest castle shots.

And you really manage to capture the feel of the country side.

It reinforces my desire to see Scotland.

Now I can think about using a bike to do it!

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