Following extensive planning by the club, I feel that the Skye trip was a resounding success.
The fortunate attendees were:
- Scott W
Now Jimmy only came up for one day (Sunday) however upon his return from the trip. Jimmy posted this comment onto the Glasgow Triumph Club FB page.
“A cracker o’ a day spent wae the Shire crew oan Sunday , wild fires ,diggin oot a Harley, lost Drone, chased fae the pub in Applecross fur revvin ma bike ,runnin oan cycle paths, it was a helluva great run. Yin tae remember, great bunch o’ bikers.”
If you had the misfortune not to get along to the trip, then read on and see what you missed!
I guess the story starts on the Friday, as Rachel Says, “ Myself and Mitch set off at about 4pm from Saltcoats and headed for our first stop at Costa Coffee in Dumbarton (sorry we let the club down and passed on the cakes). We then proceeded along the A82 to our first checkpoint of the evening Brenchoille Bridge, near Inveraray.
A very healthy chippy dinner was had sitting on the harbour wall at Inveraray enjoying the beautiful sunshine and scenery.
We continued our journey to Oban stopping at Clach Na Sula for the 2nd checkpoint of the day. At about 10pm we arrived at Oban camping and caravan site and pitched the tent (for the first time which went remarkably well). Once pitched we were trapped for the night due to the wild and ravenous midges.”
On Saturday the remaining party met at Starbucks ready for the off. Now unlike most of our ride outs, everyone arrived in plenty of time. Time enough to enjoy a coffee and discuss the route plans for that day.
We began by heading up along the side of Loch Lomond through Tyndrum and re grouping at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.
I expect the fact that we left sharp reduced the traffic congestion but there was the usual assortment of wide vehicles along the loch side. And some careful planning allowed us all to make good time to Bridge of Orchy.
I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in the picture because it was 26C by that point in the day, and generally speaking folks were undressing to keep cool!
With us all together we wondered around the corner and down to the checkpoint the Bridge of Orchy itself.
Bridge of Orchy lies on the A82, the main road up the west side of the central highlands. For the biker heading north it is little more than a small collection of mostly white buildings grouped around the Bridge of Orchy Hotel. And for most it is only briefly glimpsed in passing as thoughts start to leap ahead to the surreal landscape of Rannoch Moor and the majesty of Glen Coe beyond it.
The story of Bridge of Orchy is a story of travel and of travellers. To the average traveller on the A82 the reason for the name isn’t at all obvious. But turn west at the small crossroads by the hotel and you move from the “new” A82 built in the first half of the 1900’s to its predecessor, dating back to 1751. In the years after the 1715 Jacobite uprising (and again after the ’45) the government put a huge amount of effort into building roads and bridges over the length and breadth of the Highlands.
Until then drove routes had existed to move cattle to the lowland markets, but most travel took place by sea, and most significant settlements hugged coasts or major rivers. This bout of road building was intended to provide a means of moving troops quickly around the interior to suppress rebellion. These were the military roads built by General Wade and later by Major Caulfeild. They built some 1,200 miles of road and 700 bridges in the years from 1725 and 1767, and in doing so they transformed the Highlands. The old military road crosses the A82 at the crossroads in the centre of Bridge of Orchy, before descending past the hotel to the 1751 bridge over the River Orchy, also built by Major Caulfeild. The bridge gave the village its name
Our Next regrouping point was to be in Fort William, where if we were lucky we’d manage to link up with Rachel and Mitch. The plan worked perfectly. Rachel spotted us just at the harbour and we met up at a pub called the Lochy run by a biker acquaintance of Mine. Following a hearty lunch, we filled up with fuel and agreed that the next stop would be at the top of Glen Garry at the viewpoint.
We stopped and took a few pictures, then I fell as I tried to climb down from the top of the hill! Fortunately, I don’t think it was caught on camera 😊
From Here we continued and regrouped at the 13th century Eilean Donan Castle. Where Ice cream was the order of the Day!
Refreshed we made our way to Views from Broadford to top up the bike tanks before heading to another checkpoint the Sligachan. Over the years Sligachan has become a mecca for those wanting to tackle the Black Cuillin: something not for the faint hearted or inexperienced. It is also well placed for less demanding walks into the Red Cuillin or along the glens towards Elgol to the south or Glen Brittle to the south west.
Checkpoint bagged we headed towards Carbost and our accommodation for the weekend the famous Skywalker Hostel.
Upon arriving we showered changed and headed to the Taigh Ailean Hotel around the corner for a few refreshments and hopefully some food which after a while arrived.
Exhausted from the day we walked back to the hostel as the Sun was setting and everyone crashed for the night.
In the morning there were a few tales of strange noises which appeared to be coming from all angles in the bunk room, and indeed similar noises were herd at the other side of the hostel in the private rooms.
Everyone was ready for breakfast by 8:30am the following day perhaps because grant said “Adventures don’t start at 10:00am” the following night, or was it just the noises!
Following a breakfast at the old Inn. we split into two groups, Rachel, Mitch, Eddie, Scott and Hugh decided to have a relaxing day and headed for the fairy pools.
And the rest of us decided to head back onto the mainland and explore Applecross and Torridon.
The fairy pools:
We arrived to find the place was heaving with tourists, we find a parking area only to be shouted at before we’ve even dismounted by a bus driver saying it’s illegal to park in a park in a passing place. He was quickly informed that we were parking on the verge and it was not illegal. So we headed off down the road to the first fairy pool where Eddie, Hugh, Scott and myself stayed sunbathing for their duration. Scott did decide to brave the freezing water and Eddie dipped a toe. Mitch however decided he was going to explore the further pools, finally returning about an hour later after reaching the bottom of the mountain.
We then heading along the road to a lovely camp site and beach where refreshments were had (and yes there was cake this time). Heading home we were then diverted back to Portree by the police due to an impressive forest fire, one of two on Skye that weekend I understand.
Back at the hostel we waited patiently with some alcoholic refreshments on the others to arrive.
Applecross and Torridon Trip
As we left the Inn to make our way back to Broadford for, yes more petrol. The hills were already ablaze. Fires were running on Skye and unknown to us at the time in Torridon and later in Loch Carron.
As I turned left at Sligachan I saw in the corner of my eye, James who had decided at the last minute to come to Skye and meet us. He’d only just sent me a FB message when he saw us. Then there was 7, the magnificent seven set off for Applecross.
With the seven assembled we went towards Loch Carron stopping at the viewpoint for the picture on the previous page. Then we regrouped at the pass of the Cattle road before tackling Applecross.
Having brought my drone, I asked for a 20-minute head start so I could capture the bikes coming up the pass. This was agreed but it didn’t exactly go to plan!
Arriving at the top of the pass I got the drone ready, this took an age as the application for the drone needed configuring and the clock was ticking. I prepped for take off and saw a group of bikes coming up the pass. was that really twenty minutes. darn it!
The wind at the top of the pass was more than the drone could cope with but I thought I’d give it a try and so I commanded the drone to take off then punched it skyward. It flew up and then the wind hit it and flew about 100 meters backwards. I fought to try and bring it back but to no avail it was getting higher and further aware, the guy watching me was amazed now by how far away it was. I remained calm and caught some footage of bikes going past! All the time thinking this is going to end badly with the drone in a peat bog or worse a small lochan! I thought Automatic flying was the best option and commanded the drone to return. this it did and in a much better way than I could have and so I landed it and put it away which took forever. Concerned about the others waiting at Applecross I threw it all into the bike’s panniers and headed down the pass towards Applecross.
Within minutes I arrived at a road block to find that a biker had come off and they were trying to get him and the bike out of a peat bog. Fearing the worst, I went forward to see for myself and too much relief I discovered it wasn’t a club member at all.
Sadly, the guy had run out of luck on the bend and put his bike off road. It was new to him and he’d only just gotten the bike the day before.
I helped them get it out of the bog and onto the truck and then as I turned to head back towards my bike I saw out group behind me! Who had I filmed, why was I in such a rush, I continued down to Applecross bumping into another couple of bikers I knew before arriving at the Applecross Inn, famous for its restaurant. but not today. The Inn had no power ☹ so we ate from the other vendors and the café.
After lunch, (ice cream) we decided not to return over the pass but to continue towards Shieldaig. Jimmy tried to fire up the Triumph and I think because of the heat it was a little reluctant he gave it some throttle and it burst into life. The manager came over lambasting him for revving up his motorcycle. Despite jimmy explaining that she was privileged to have seen a mk1 speedy she was happy to see the back of us!!
The Road to Shieldaig is single track, there was almost no traffic, and towards the end you turn away from the sea on your left and the most fabulous vistas come into view on the horizon.
Once at Shieldaig we continued North to Kinlochewe for fuel narrowly missing the fire areas. but we had to drive alongside the fire again at Loch Carron as it had started to blaze there. Eventually we returned to Skye. By this time the others had already returned and notified us that the road to the hostel was closed and that we would need to go further.
We decided to stop for food on the way back and after some lovely food. Jimmy announced that he was going to head home and back to the shire!!!
We suggested he stayed over but he wanted to get back.
His route back saw him dodging the wild goats at the bottom of the Kyle of Lochalch Road, watching the foxes eating the roadkill through Glencoe and enjoying some super moonlit views across Loch Lomond. He finally got back home around 2:30am in the morning.
The rest of us headed North to Portree then we took the roughest road possible on route to the Hostel, I think everyone’s satnav took them along this road as it was very busy. Eventually we made it back to the Hostel where we were greeted by a round of applause as we appeared, looking hot, exhausted and sore. It was a draining day but worth it.
I took the Drone up for an aerial view just as the sun was setting and the midges were on the prowl.
The sunset was magnificent.
We couldn’t take any more of the midges and went inside for coffee and mitch started playing tunes on the guitar. Looking back at Jimmy’s comments I think he nailed it on the head, it was a cracking day. The following day we had breakfast in Fort Augustus then