Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 10 Lands End - John O'Groats - Lands End On A Honda C90

With a heavy frost from the night before, I packed up slowly, more due to my right knee hurting and got myself ready for a bit of a long ride.

The tent went away still wet, but I wasn't worried about this now. All my kit on the bike had it's on place to be stowed and packing up was now a well oiled routine.

I did have one repair to do though, when I came off my bike in Glen Coe I managed to bend my right hand mirror, and as a result it it came loose. I managed to get it tightened back up but unfortunately the metal must of been weak and it snapped off.

So with the aid of "black nasty" tape and a clamp or two I managed to get it back on the windshield. It take take a further couple of days to get it just in the right place, but eventually I managed it.

I had also worked out that by pegging my socks to the front of my basket they dried out quickly!

With just a brew inside me, I set off on the A835 and heading for the Muir of Ord. I stopped for breakfast on the way at a road side cafe. You could tell they cater for tourists as it was over priced and crap!

I does annoy me when cafe's use the very cheapest sausages they can purchase and hope to get away with it.

As I sat and ate my breakfast, it was amusing to watch people walk by my bike, stop and start scratching their heads. A couple did come over to me and ask if it was mine and as motorcyclists themselves they still appeared in awe of what I was doing. They were on fat boy Harleys!

Fortified with a dodgy breakfast, it was time to get some miles done. My journey plan for this next stretch had changed many times, I finally decided to miss out Glasgow and head for Oban, turning off just before it and got to Dunoon where I would catch the ferry across to Gourock.

Retracing my steps down through Beauly on the A862, it felt really steep on the way up as I was down into 1st gear, but going down it, well, my brakes did get a bit warm, and even dropping into 2nd to help slow me down it was a bit hairy!

On past Loch Ness and I stopped once more at Fort Augustus, as there was fuel, a decent shop and loo's all in one place.

This is where I saw a couple of Chinese women walk by me with surgical face masks on! Now I could understand it if they were on the London Underground, but here we were on the banks of Loch Ness with some of the cleanest air in Europe! I dearly wanted to go up to them pull the face mask back and let it ping into their faces! Bloody tourists!

Onwards down the A82 with the page numbers on my map tumbling, back through Fort William, not stopping and following the coast on the A828.

Absolutely spectacular scenery, mind blowing in fact! 

I was going up a hill with mountains either side of me, the sun was shining brightly with not a cloud in the sky, when all of a sudden a massive shadow loomed up and over took me quickly followed by a blast of air and an almighty roar! For a split second it felt as if the horses of the Apocalypse were chasing me and I did actually duck my head!

Seconds later I was counting the rivets on the fuselage of a Hercules plane as the pilot was practising his low level flying skills by frighting the life out of me! I had just about steadied myself up and regained my composure when I was buzzed by another one! Bastards!

Oh how much fun they had in that cockpit, I know lets scare the fat bloke on the moped! A good story to tell over tea and muffins back at the mess! Flyboys, they are special!

I was due a fuel stop but I was spoilt for choice as to where to stop, the scenery in this part of Scotland is just so good, but as I was coming down a mountain, far in the distance I spotted a lay-by, which looked down across a valley so decided to pull in.

Now my comedy backfire was in particularly fine fettle today, and I could almost time the exact moment when it would "pop". Sometimes it would be more of a "bang" and sometimes a "crack" you never knew which it would be.

As I approached the lay by, there were a number of cars, with their passengers all stood on the bank  looking towards the same spot with their binoculars.

As I pulled into the layby, eased off the throttle, counted to 6 right on cue and with a rather impressive "BANG" backfired!

Now I'm not exactly sure what they were looking at, but an educated guess would have them probably looking at some birds. The people all in unison turned and looked at me in disgust and without a word or even a nod of the head all got in their cars and drove off!

This then gave me the chance of the best bit of the lay-by, with the better views.

Fuelled up and off again, but stopping often for some more pictures.

Just before Oban I turned right onto the A85 which took me upto Loch Awe and more wonderful scenery. Then onto the A819 and towards Inveraray. Hugging the shore of Loch Fyne on the A83 until Glen Kinglas where I turned right once more onto the A815 which eventually led me to Dunoon.

As I pulled into the ferry terminal, I was in luck, straight onto the ferry which takes me over to Gourock.

On the ferry were a couple of bikers on sports bikes, who I had a chat with. The crossing only took 20 minutes, so it wasn't long before I was saddled up and ready to go again.


These last few pictures felt as if I was now leaving Scotland behind me. No more massive mountains, views which go on for miles with no signs of life other than yourself. Back now to reality, traffic and lunatics!

Off the ferry, turn right, head south. Simples!

The A78, the plan simple, just keep going till you find somewhere to camp. Through Largs, Ardrossan and on to Kilmarnock. Once the other side a quick fuel stop and once more I feel the humbling experience from another biker.

There I was refuelling with my kit around my bike in a lay-by. A biker travelling in the other direction, goes past, waves, I wave. He carries on up the road, turns around and comes back. Asking is everything ok? 

Now if you saw a car in the layby, with luggage everywhere, do you stop? I bet you don't.

After a brief chat he tells me there is a camp site not too far away in New Cumnock.

I make a phone call to the campsite, and after some directions set off.

I finally find the place, which is not at all like the directions I was given, I pull into what I can only describe as one step away from a pikey camp! Nothing against pikey's at all, but I would not want to holiday in such a place.

I'm shown to a rough patch of grass between a couple of caravans, and I go through my routine.

I had to pay £5.00 deposit for a key to the shower block, as he said some of the kids on site were feral so they had to keep it locked.

Within seconds of getting off of my bike I was surrounded by them, and there they stood watching me set up. Some of them were even "Ginger"!

What made it worse was this was the first time on my trip I had no signal on my phone. Every night without fail since I had set off I would speak to Kiera, who I updated on my location and I in return was nagged about my knee. I missed not speaking to her that night. I also realised that night exactly how much she actually meant to me!

I was asleep for 2100hrs which was good after dining on a pot noodle "Bombay Bad Boy", my knee was still very sore, but I had a good nights rest. The next day was going to be long.

The journey continues...............

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