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Old 11-16-2010, 03:55 PM   #1
Dellis OP
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A November Ride Around Scotland

Sandra and I had a couple of days holiday left for this year so we decided to tag them onto a weekend and head north. Suitable kitted out with wet weather gear and heated vests we set off on Saturday.

Day 1, Cheshire to Inveraray, 336 miles

We set off on Saturday morning to a beautiful blue sky and headed off to the M6. We had a fairly uneventful start to the day catching a few showers but nothing serious enough to don our waterproofs. We left the motorway at Gretna Green and as we hadn’t had breakfast decided to pull into the Little Thief at Dumfries for a bite to eat which turned out to be a bit of a mistake. We’d been chatting along the route and had come to the conclusion that this chain of ‘restaurants’ had ‘improved’… How wrong we were… Lesson learned and the best part of £20 worse off we continued along the thoroughly enjoyable A76 to Gourock and the Western Ferries service to Hunters Quay.

The Sound of Scarba



Off the ferry and northbound past Loch Eck and along the shore of Loch Fyne cracking views all the way along. I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t stop so no photos and we found ourselves with plenty of time on our hands so took a little detour to the village of Lochgoilhead, jumped off the bike, took a couple of photos…







…and headed off for Inveraray. We were booked into Main Street B&B and on arrival were greeted by Cindy the proprietor, shown to our room, dumped our gear and headed off for a pint settling on the back bar at the George Hotel. Two real beers were on tap so we tried one of each brew, Vital Spark and Highlander. We both preferred the Highlander and after enjoying a couple went to the B&B to freshen up. I had a stroll around and took a couple of night photos.





I went back to the B&B, collected Sandra and we went for dinner back at the George. We perused the menu and went for the winter green and cream cheese soup followed by venison burger and chips. All was good so we had a few more Highlanders and a game or two of backgammon before heading off the bed at the B&B.

Day 2, Inveraray to Applecross, 226 miles

Morning came around and a quick look out of the window told me that we were in for a misty start, and a walk downstairs revealed it was going to be a cold and misty start to the day.



Just round the corner another Vital Spark was spotted.



Inveraray was quiet, misty and rather chilly with very icy pavements.



After a decent cooked breakfast and mindful of the icy pavements we set off and the weather soon improved and although still cold the mist had lifted. We headed off north on the A819 around Loch Awe.



As we continued past Loch Awe Sandra spotted the reflections on the loch. The photo simply doesn’t do justice to the view.



From the A819 we headed west along the A85 turning north at Connel and continuing through Fort William and along the Great Glen to Invergarry and the start of one of my favourite roads the A87 to Kyle of Lochalsh. Not ideal conditions today by still a cracking ride.



Further along the road the snow had cleared and the view over Loch Duich again was full of reflections.



On we went turning off the fantastic A87 for Loch Carron we passed through Loch Carron and carried on for Torridon where I’d been looking forward to a slice home made ginger cake from Torridon Stores and Café but they were closed. On the road to Torridon we passed the road we intended to take to Applecross, Bealach Na Ba which was closed due to a retaining wall on one of the passes hairpins needing replacing. This meant a detour round the Applecross peninsular and an additional 45 minutes of riding. We rode round and stopped for a pint in the Applecross Inn before booking into the campsite where we had our camping pod booked. While enjoying our beers the sun set and although wasn’t the best I’ve seen here still was worthy of a couple of photos.





We then went up to the campsite, dumped the gear and freshened up under a fabulous early evening sky.



Back down to the Applecross Inn…



… where we has a couple of pints and decided what was for dinner, the food here is top notch, I went for oysters followed by prawns and Sandra went for smoked salmon then cod on ratatouille all of which was simply excellent. We washed our dinners down with a few pints of the Isle of Skye breweries finest and shared some more games of backgammon then off to bed in the camping pod.

Day 3, Applecross to Great Langdale, 385 miles

Today saw another frosty start to the day and me cooking up breakfast of bacon with Heinz beans and Lincolnshire sausages with coffee.







As the pass was closed the only way back to Loch Carron to begin our journey south was round the peninsular for the second time and all started well on the southern shore of the peninsular, nice dry and frost free road with yet more stunning views.

Looking south to Skye with the isles of Raasay and Rona in the foreground.



As we continued round the peninsular the snow capped mountains above Torridon came into view.



After this the road went downhill rapidly and as soon as we were on the shaded western and northern sides of the peninsular the road became treacherous, covered in ice and a general pain. After tiptoeing our way round we started to head south stopping at Fort William for a bite to eat. We carried on south with temperatures hovering between 0 and 4 degrees C, the heated vests we coming into their own. We were going to stop for a brew at Deli Ecosse but following on from our earlier café experience it was closed so we decided to press on. Before we got to Glasgow it started to rain and chucked it down all the way to Gretna where we stopped to refuel. As time was getting on we pressed on in the still pouring rain and eventually arrived at Langdale campsite where we had another camping pod booked. We found our pod dumped the gear, you know the rest… then headed off to on of my favourite pubs the Old Dungeon Ghyll which can best be described as basic. The food is of the good wholesome variety and we both settled for Chilli which was very welcome after our long cold and very wet day. Dinner was washed down with a few pints of Black Sheep bitter and our last games of backgammon for this trip. Oh and the final score was 7 – 2 to Sandra. Then off to bed to our pod but not before Sandra suggested we put our soggy gear in the drying room, a top idea which saved us from that nasty damp bike gear feeling.

The pod.



Day 4, Great Langdale to home, 170 miles

No frost just a bit of mist saw us pack up and get on our way.



We’d decided not to cook our own breakfast so we set off for the Penny Garth café at Hawes we had an enjoyable ride east again enjoying some great views along the way. Guess what… the café was closed but we were hungry so had a look around Hawes which has its market day on a Tuesday.



We found another café The Bay Tree.



Which was a good fine really as the food was much better than in the Penny Garth and they knew how to use the central heating which was more than welcome.

Back to the bike.



We set off again heading south past Hawes Creamery and passing through Deepdale.



On we went towards Skipton where we shared the road for a few miles with another GS it was the onto Colne and the motorway home but not before calling in on Steve and Jono at Adventure Bike Warehouse where a bottle of Sdoc was purchased to clean the grime and salt off the bike.

All in all a great way to spend a few days just a pity I didn’t beat Sandra at backgammon but there’s always the next trip.

Dave & Sandra
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:34 PM   #2
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Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:21 PM   #3
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Well,that was a pleasant way to spend some of my nightshift.

Cheers for that,mate.....absolutely awesome scenic and 'reflection' photos.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:40 AM   #4
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Great pictures.
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Old 11-17-2010, 04:45 AM   #5
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Beautiful! Looked cold, but beautiful!

Big Saucy Bangers...LOL...gotta get me some of them!

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Old 11-17-2010, 05:33 AM   #6
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Excellent ride, report and pics!! Thanks for taking us along Canada's Nova Scotia province was named New Scotland because of the similarity of terrain to Scotland.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:37 AM   #7
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Very nice.

I see the Big Dipper every morning; it's almost upside down here and a little funny to see it right side up in your picture.

Do you have any other shots of the pods?
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the kind words.



Dave
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:45 AM   #9
Dellis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 257bob
Very nice.

I see the Big Dipper every morning; it's almost upside down here and a little funny to see it right side up in your picture.

Do you have any other shots of the pods?
The Applecross pods can be seen here and the Langdale pods here. I've used the Applecross pods before and they are very good with heat, light and sleeping mats included, the langdale pods are carpeted but don't have any heating or lighting which makes for a chilly night in the colder months. I don't have any more self taken photographs.

Cheers
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:50 AM   #10
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Those things are cool, thanks.
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Old 11-17-2010, 02:29 PM   #11
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wonderful ride report
thanks for sharing your trip with us
i really appreciate it
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Old 11-17-2010, 05:40 PM   #12
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Having been to Scotland in every season except winter, your report made me want to add it to my to- do list. The road to Applecross and the Isle of Skye are beyond words.

Nothing warms you better than a dram of Drambuie or Talisker. I drink them both all the way over here in Texas. And dream of our next Scotland trip.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:14 AM   #13
Dellis OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FotoTEX
Having been to Scotland in every season except winter, your report made me want to add it to my to- do list. The road to Applecross and the Isle of Skye are beyond words.

Nothing warms you better than a dram of Drambuie or Talisker. I drink them both all the way over here in Texas. And dream of our next Scotland trip.
And I dream of a trip to Texas :)
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Old 11-19-2010, 03:34 AM   #14
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Fair play to you and Sandra for doing a trip to Scotland at this time of year, it must have been a bit cool to say the least.
Never seen those POD things before, but they look like a great idea as long as they are not used as chicken coops in winter!
I do couchsurfing if you ever get down Bristol way, though I do have a nice secluded garden for roughy toughies who might prefer to pitch a tent.



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Old 11-19-2010, 03:43 AM   #15
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Great report mate. Loved the views of the lochs. Just one thing, them camping pods, very glamping but they remind me of the pig bungalows I used to deliver but a bit more "bling". But they look a hell of a lot more comfy than kipping in a tent.
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