Slept long. Very long indeed, til 9 o’clock and awoke with a headache. But feeling better nonetheless. I can blame the headache to the Ale in the hotel 'bar' with the dart-and-soccer-TV screens.
Met Clan Gunn during breakfast. They have annual meetings and people worldwide are coming. In this case, one guy from France and an elder couple from Quebec City. Odd idea, a group of people meeting where one half cannot understand the other. Nontheless of course, I like the clan/tribe approach. Blood will always be thicker as water, but since I follow the spirit of the old germanic tribes, the blood you bond with must not necessarily be the blood you were born with. Or, philosophically speakin', you will have the same blood as your people, as soon as you bond with 'em. That was the thinking of the old tribes. As soon as you recognise yourself as one of theirs, as being a child of the tribes' forefather, you will always have been one.
Be it as it may, I set of to the Atomic Power Plant about 10 o’clock. Oh, you don't know what I am speaking of?
Well, I wasn't either before I looked the APP up when writing exactly these lines.
I just found Dounreay as a APP under de-commission in my GPS and saw a 'visitor center', when planning my trip. As I originally wanted to go to Scandinavia and visit Forsmark & Ringhals, but re-scheduled to UK, I was bound to hit that site. My foolish idea was: hey, maybe I can see the primary containment from the inside and the control rod room – maybe even the reactor well itself!
Wikipeding now, I found out there was actually “some research” going on, with the fast breeding reactors on site – which means, plutonium on site in form of MOX and a reactor trying to produce highly enriched nuclear material. You know, FBRs are the type of reactors required for a proper fuel cycle ('burn' the fuel in regular APPs and then, re-enrich them in FBRs). And also, appearantly the APPs of submarines have been developed there.
Hmn. The more I read about it...goddammit, I wanna go there again and see stuff even more!
But when I arrive there, I was not aware of this. From the sphere I saw, I thought of the APP being of simple BWR type. Well, at least there I parked the first time next to more than one other motorcycle. She was appreciating this, I suppose. I went to the gate (Visitor Center) and photographed a police car passing by. Maybe that was not actually the smartest idea..it caused them to stop me and take my personal ID and so on.
Oh well, in the end they saved me time, ‘cause the actually DISENGAGED me from going back to Thurso to the visitor center. They said: nothing much to see, anyways. Decommission going on, dome will be brought down in the coming months, site will be completely cleaned up by 2023. APP of the net now for > 15 years, nothing there anymore. Boring job :-)
Retrospectivly...I wanne go there agasin :-D
Be it as it may be, I went on heading to Smoo Caves. About 1200, I sat down on a lake for proper breakfast (the eggs in the hotel where awful). That was almost the last sun I saw on that day.
Shortly after my stop, I drove directly into the clouds and got soaked.
Met the a couple from Switzerland again, with which I shared the Highland Park Whisky tour, on a stop. And from then on, we passed each other every ten minutes almost until Ullapool.
About the ride itself, I cannot say much. It was priceless and I'll let pictures talk. At least I'll give it a try. Loving my GPS, btw, for it leads me over sooo many scenic back-roads without me asking that from it specifically. I mean, beat that beach at the end of my photo series, will you?
Notice the lot of stickers on his tail? He was, as it seems, everywhere, basically. One badass MoFu of a real slender MILF!
Yes, this is exactly, where we are about to go. Promising, huh?
looks also "promising", doesn't it?
But on I roled and not minding anything, I enjoyed myself.
<--- wife of the swiss couple.
You don't like the pictures? You can see all that much in them? Fog and raindrops everywhere?
Well, screw you, this is what my cams were able to see and exactly what I was able to see, also.
The Smoo Caves on the other han were marvellous. I really love my Bundeswehr Naziboots: while all the kids where being pushed back from the water by their parents, I walked right in and did the best photos!
From there, I rode further to Scourrie and Ullappool. The scenery is just undescribable wonderful. North sea to the right, alp-like hills and highlands to the left, occasionally a passage through breakthroughs in the rocks, up and down and left and right. Suicidal sheep everywhere, of course. The tarmac is so hard, I am getting a bit worried of my front tire. We’ll have to see how he behaves.
<--- sheep don't dig rain, either
<---- hmn, yummi. Famous for BSE, but so addictable looking!
In Ullapool I stopped for fuel. Completely soaked, hypothermalized and exhausted. Took a coffee and switched to my FLM Stormchaser Michelin-Man gear. From there on, all got better (weather-wise. The scenery of the west coast of Scotland...well, if you can show me any place that beats it, be my guest).
I was able to ride properly and fast again, so within the hour I was in Inverness again.
<---- where is the pot of Gold?
Of course, I quickly passed through it, heading to Urquheart Castle on Loch Ness.
For me, Loch Ness is nothing special, just an awful big lake.
Urquheart is in ruins, but seems to be important (now, after the trip, I know it was). Being there about 1900, the castle was already closed and a big sign read“no unauthorised access”.
But nobody seemed to care, neither me nor the other germans I met nor the Spanish people following us. It looks better without all those darn tourists, anyways. And hey, to be honest? If one takes care and respects the site (not as the other crappy Germans I went in with), no harm done. IF the place has a spirit, I think it likes the after-hour-visitors way better.
Leaving there, I recognized I got a little tired, but having lost so much time with the Orkney, I was eager to make mileage. After all, I am behind my schedule already.
Shot down to Eilean Donan castle. Epic roads along a river and an artifical lake, but my camera was so foggy I couldn’t take proper images, I had to rely on the GPS for that.
And this one makes crappy pictures in the dark, crappier even than my compact camera.
One hell of a pity, but at least, when I tell you about the marvelousness and don't show you pictures, you have to go there yourself!
Met a german with an analogue camera at Eilean Donan castle. Oh how I envied him. Still, shot on to the Skye Bridge. Scarry, going up several meters with all that sidewind and the down again ;-)
Got myself money and some yummi stuff on a fuel stop shop. I like those here, unlike the fuel stop shops back home, they have a full sortiment.
Including Innes & Gunn. Last, I drank it in ~April 2011 and longed for it since then. It's a beer matured in oak casks, just like whisky, and thus has one really unique sweet and complex flavour.
It cannot compete with the Highlander beer, saddly, which was being brewed with peated whisky. How I miss that one. Nonetheless, for the FIRST TIME in a year, I have my hands on Innes & Gunn! Just like Adam&Eva in paradise, I have to keep my hands of it. This will be the souvenir for my buddies back home.
Driving on the Isle of Skye, I saw lots of B&Bs on the side, but I wanted to camp, without me knowing why. Was about to wildcamp, but in the setting darkness ('bout 2200) I found a small campsite: just 5 GPB the night, ONE shower, ONE toilett for the whole camp ground…totally spartanic, but directly at the sea, quite, and nobody asks dumb questions about my loud fuel cooker ;-)
That night, I just sat down in my tent, ate another proper Sirloin Steak, charged my devices, wrote my logbock (from which I deduct this RR, btw) and enjoyed ONE, exactly one I&G.
Life is good.
Nonetheless, it’s still 850 km to go to Ireland. I'll be delayed even further. We’ll have to see what happens…