Scotland the last leg.

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Okay this is my last post on my Scotland tour. This covers my last two days and has we get into the last day you will understand why I have combined them. So let’s go.

After a great nights sleep on what turned out to be the coldest night of the trip. I awoke and it was still dark, opening the tent door I could see the stars like fairy lights through the tree tops. A thick mist on the water, plus the sound of something close by  doing whatever it does. Out and a quick pee it was back into the warmth of the sleeping bag and with my woolly hat pull over the ears I rolled over.

With light showing I looked out to see this,

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The view from my tent across the Loch. I grabbed the tripod and had a walk along the shore.

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Why there is a lifeboat moored on the loch shore I have no idea. Breakfast was enjoyed listening to the birds and the gentle sound of a stream running into the loch.  Packing up the bike was down to around 15 minutes, getting good at breaking camp. The overcast sky was breaking up and the sunshine showing has I rode into Fort William. Heading towards Onich I got the ferry for the short ride across to Corran and  pointed the bike for the most westerly point in main land Britain. The point of Ardnamurchan. Turning off the A861 and onto a single track road that follows the shore of Loch Sunart. If I recall right some of the wood lands that border this road are so of the oldest oak woods in Scotland. Now I might be wrong on that but they make a grand view with them on one side of the track and the loch on the other.  With the batteries running low for the camera I stopped at a lovely cafe / gift shop and asked if they would charge up a battery while I was out at the point.

I would like to thank Hanna and her folks who run the Cafe for there help. Talking to Hanna she was saying she does a little wildlife photography. When I had internet I was checking out the cafe/ gift shop when I came across a link to Hanna. I hope if you are reading this you will take the time to check this out.

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Hanna the modest lass who does a little photography. All I can say is thank you and much respect for the work you are doing.

With the sun shining it was out to the lighthouse at Ardnamurchan.

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I spend about half a hour here and it was back to collect my battery and treat my self to a coffee and a bite to eat. Has I ordered a coffee and a homemade custard tart I looked around for a seat and there was a lady waving at me to join her. The lass I had met in Ullapool was enjoying a bite to eat. So it was her motorcycle parked in the parking lot. A chat and it was back to the ferry and a B&B I had stayed at before. With my clothes laundered and breakfast shared with a couple from Switzerland I set off on another day of travels.  South down the shore of Loch Linnhe  to Connel where I turned east and onto another single tracked road which followed Loch Awe back south west towards Ford . It was on this road which wandered through the forest. After climbing a steep winding hill I pulled off the road into a viewing point.

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I got talking to Paul who was touring Scotland on a Mountain bike. He  had stopped for a break from climbing hills on this road. Has we were travelling in opposite directions he asked about the road ahead. Well I’m glad I had 1200cc powering my bike and not two legs. Not wanting to be photographed I got him heading off down hill.

 

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There he goes …..

At the end of this road I turned south and down the Mull of Kintyre To Campbeltown  where I returned north up the B842 to Claonaig. You can see the Isle of Arran most of the way while on this road.

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Two Photographs with Arran in the back ground.

I stopped over night on Arran with the tent set on the road side along the shore. The weather turn for the worst overnight and its here My photographs end. I left on the ferry from the other side of the Island to Ardossan where I turned south for Stranraer and then east for Carlisle in the north of England. After the ferry crossing to Ardossan the weather got worst. With heavy rain and strong winds it became dangerous to be on a motorcycle. I have been riding for over 40 years and only once have I ever felt I was at risk. Getting into Stranraer I got a bite to eat and decided to keep going east. After another 50 mile I called it quits and found a hotel that had a room for the night. In that last 50 mile I saw three accidents. I could just about see a large lorry from about 30 metres, so at what distance could I on a motorcycle be seen from behind. So before I go I would like to thank you all who have got this far and yes I left Scotland the next morning. My last Photograph of Scotland is of the refuge I found than night.

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Travel safe where ever you are, and may your road be straight and the wind at your back.

George

 

Scotland part 6

On leaving Ullapool I had to go over to the east side of Scotland to Inverness  and I returned back towards Inverness to continue my coastal route down the west coast.

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Following the A832 just south of Braemore around by Gruinard Bay  I stayed on the A832 till I got to Kinlochewe where I turned right back towards Shieldaig. ( due to heavy rain on this section I took no photos) .Then onto a single track road around to Applecross.

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With the weather showing signs of improvement I enjoyed the views around this run into Applecross.  Then cyclist’s started to increase in numbers, there was a Duathlon event taking place. Yes it was finishing in applecross, so I head over the pass of the Cattle ( Bealach-Na-Ba) . This is a must do if you are in the area, another one to mark of the list of must does. Here is a link off a video from another biker doing it from the 0pposite direction. Bealach-na-ba

I had planned to stop for a couple of days in Applecross campsite, but with it being so busy I pushed on the the Isle of Skye. It was well into the evening When i got there. Looking for a wild camping spot I came across a B&B that had a room so Parking the bike it was a hot shower and down to the local hotel for a bite and a jar of beer.

The next day was the first I had woke up to sunshine on this trip, and after Breakfast I set off to explore the Island.

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Has you can see from this photograph it was a grand morning to be out on the bike.

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I saw this waterfall from the road and made my way across a very muddy track which motorcycle boots were never designed for. After sliding my way back to the road I pointed the bike north to do a loop around the north of Skye.

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Again this must be one of the most photographed spots on Skye, I know I will be back to Skye with my walking boots and photography gear minus the motorcycle. Think a photography holiday will be had. Next place I was looking forward to seeing was The Skye Museum of Island life. But When I got there it was closed, they don’t open on a Sunday.

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Got these photos from over the fence so another reason to return to Skye. Do you get the feeling I liked Skye….

So on the way back I saw people pulled over and standing looking at something, getting closer I spotted what it was.

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Yep Highland cattle. This was another first for me, seeing the real thing. Love their handle bars 🙂 Was going to get the ferry from Skye to Mallaig, but on a information sign I would have to wait nearly two hours. Looking on the Sat-nav it was two hours to Fort William, so off I went. I stopped for fuel and got water and milk knowing I would be wild camping tonight. Around 10 mile from Fort William I pull off the road and down to a loch.

 

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This site under the trees was my bed for the night, below is a evening view from the tent across the loch.

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A beautiful still evening to sit and enjoy the peace, until around 60 Brent geese landed. Was nice to see them but what a racket they make. after twenty minutes they took off leaving me to a peaceful nights sleep.

One more post and my trip will be completed, thank you all for visiting.

George

Scotland part 5

 

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So on leaving Tongue I continued west across the north coast with the rain closing in fast. not much chance of any photos this morning. Had the roads to myself except for the sheep. Following the road around through Hope and around the shore of Loch Eriboll a small window in the rain. With the sun showing it’s face I got a couple of shots.

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The dry spell didn’t last long and it was back to the liquid sunshine.  The road around the loch brings me to Durness. Its from this point I turn more to the south west and leave the north coast behind, hid from view in the low cloud and rain. Following the roads through the Highlands was pure joy even in the wet. pulling into a small parking spot overlooking a valley with a fast flowing river. I sat and watched the river slow has it widen in the valley floor. With the rain and wind I was looking at what helped shape the landscape around me. Sitting there the weather felt just right. It was part of this landscape. I realised I was looking at the real highlands and they are beautiful.

Continuing on south to Unapool I turned of onto a small single track road that follows the coast around to Lochinver. It was along this stretch the weather showed signs of improvement. Getting into Lochinver it had dried up and a much needed coffee was enjoyed. The bike topped up with fuel, time for a few more miles. Again sticking to the single track roads around the coast and dry roads for a change, the camera came out from hiding. Here’s a few more shots not in any order from this leg.

 

 

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Then it was down into Ullapool and a B&B. Bags unloaded and it was into town for a meal. It was when I had parked up and about to get off the bike a voice to my left asked it I was part of the BMW club that was meeting there. I replied I wasn’t . The voice belong to a female from the Shetland Islands. Sorry I can’t remember your name for it was a German name. We chatted for a while and then she left to find the BMW club riders and  has normal we exchanged email address in case her and hubby are every in Ireland or me in the Shetlands. A hot shower and it’s where I leave you on this leg of the trip for a comfy bed and a night sleep. Catch you on the next leg.

Thank you for visiting and  have a lovely weekend.

ATB George

 

 

 

 

Scotland part 4

So leaving Dornoch its north toward Wick  where its time o refuel the motorcycle. Stopping on the outskirts of the town I refuel myself. Coffee and a sandwich while checking the map, I plan my route for the rest of the day. Time to ride north has far has I can.

Scotland Map_LI (4).jpgThat place is John O’ Groats, It’s the point in Scotland you have to turn west or swim.

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Bar the small harbour and the most photographed signpost in Scotland. The rest is souvenir shops, cafes and a hotel. So while the sun is shining I turn west. A short ride west and it’s a right turn to the UK’s most northerly point, Dunnet Head.

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From here it was onto Thurso and the weather turn’s sour. Turning left to see some of the Highlands on it many of single track roads. The cloud was low and the view was the road ahead with tantalizing view’s . Then the curtain of rain would close and all that’s left is the road. I spotted a bird of prey close by, bike stopped and was looking for it when a pick-up pulled in and a man inquires if all is okay. I point out the bird and he tell’s me its an eagle. A first for me, my day been’s made, rain can’t dampen that. After that I covered another 80 miles or so. Rain is now persistent and the wind is doing it’s best to remove me from the road. My next stop for the day is Tongue where a warm and dry B&B greets me. Tigh-Nan-Ubhal Guesthouse lovely hosts and a homely feel to the place, plus they didn’t even blink at the puddle that was forming around me in the hallway. !0 out of 10 from me. Link below.

Guest House

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A damp morning greets me and with a full tank another day begin’s. I leave with a view looking back at the misty Highlands with the sands and waters of Tongue in the foreground.

Next post see’s the north coast completed and starting down the west side of Scotland. Thank you for viewing.

George.

Scotland part 3

At this point I’m back home in Ireland, sorry for the delay in posting. There’s no internet connection in the tent.  Right lets travel a little more up the east coast of Scotland. This was a long day in the saddle. With shower’s and some bright spells, it was a day for the road. I travelled away from the coast on a route that took me into the highlands moors and mountains. These roads where all single track and covered around 60 mile before I returned to the coast. And turned south for 20 mile to my bed for the night.

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The route in red is the roads covered. I finished the day at a Bed & Breakfast in the town of Dornock. A word about my B & B, Amalfi B&B in Dornoch. The greeting when I arrived was one of the warmest I have ever received. Marelle and Edward helping with my luggage , supplying a metal plate so the motorcycle was supported on the gravel parking area. Great advice on where to eat in the town, beautiful rooms and  large en suite meant I was well catered for. If you are ever in this part of Scotland here is the link. Amalfi.

Thank you Marelle and Edward.

I’m going to leave you with a few Photograph’s from this leg of the trim. Thank you for visiting.

 

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Thank you for your support.

George.

Scotland my trip. part 1

So on leaving the Peak district and heading north, destination Scotland. I travelled up through the middle of England and called at friends, the things you do for a free cuppa. With heavy showers of rain and a few bright sunny spells I stopped of in a town on the east coast. Seahouses is the name of the town on the Sunderland coast. The B&B I stayed in was the…

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Modern well decorated rooms with ensuite  has advertised. Nice place but I think was over priced. Leaving Seahouses it was up the coast to the town of Bamburgh. I stop and walking through the sand dune’s I saw Bamburgh castle.

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It was shortly after this the weather closed in and the heavy rain returns. This you will find been a pattern during this trip, There are days where I got no photographs taken. So let’s get back on the road. I continued north that day travelling has close to the coast at all times . Through Edinburgh which was slow going due to road works and restricted speed limits. Through Dundee and my final town for the day was Arbroath. It was another few mile to my camp site for the night at Foresterseat Caravan Park. 

It was the cleanest site I have ever stayed on, had a lovely spot for the tent well sheltered from the wind.  I awoke the next morning with a rising sun slowly creeping up the tent wall.

During the night I answered a few questions for a friend and put my phone away. the next morning it had died. It passed away during the night. It was a case of drinking to much water over the last few days and it had drown. The best part of a day was sorting out a new phone and getting a new sim card with my number etc moved over.

Another wet day and I got a pitch right beside the sea shore, I went to sleep with the sound of the waves washing up the shore. And the sound of rain drumming softly on the tent.

Part 2 will get here some time, depending on where I am and the availability of wifi to access the internet.

Thank you for visiting.

George

 

Where’s my tent, I’m away

So work was boring and I needed to get away on the  motorcycle. Great for clearing the head. So after work Friday and the bike loaded I head for County Galway. Clifden to be correct. Leaving Belfast at 11.30 am I made it to Clifden camping site around 7.20 pm. Finding a peaceful corner on the site was hard but given that most people don’t want to be to far from the restroom, I headed to the farthest corner and home for the night.

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The ground was a little soft from the rain but peace was found. a shower and into town for a meal. The town was busy and finding a table in the town was proving harder that finding a peaceful corner on the camp site. O’Mally’s restaurant had a table and I count myself lucky. A minute later there was seven people standing looking tables. With a grand meal and a pint of beer at the bar after it was time to face the walk up hill back to the tent. With a slight dampness in the warm night air the Irish midge was out in force. These little flies are so small but I think they are just a set of teeth with wings the way they bite.

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Clifden nested in the valley with the Twelve Ben’s/Pin’s standing guard in the background.

Saturday saw me packed up and leaving for a ride north up the around the County Mayo coast but first I ride out the Sky road loop.

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Has you can see it was a grey overcast start, this photo was taken just after 9am and a warm breeze pushing in the cloud. Back through Clifden and out the Westport road towards Mayo county.With the roads starting to get busy with tourist following the  Wild Atlantic way  .  A few miles out the road and  I follow the Connemara loop at Letterflack back onto the N59. After passing through Leenane its left onto the R335 and I’m into county Mayo .

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With my feet in mayo and my camera pointing at Leenane in Galway it sits in shadow has the rising sun lights the hills behind. Any one that drives the roads around the west of Ireland can tell you about sheep, they sleep, feed and rest on the road sides. A danger to cars but deadly to motorcyclist, but so far I have never had a problem with them till today. A young sheep decided to cross the road just has I was passing, well lets just say it was close and thankfully there was no on coming traffic. While taking a photo, one of it’s kind was a few feet away watching. Meet one of county Mayo’s  many sheep.

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So on up through Newport and around to the town of Mallaranny and out onto the Corraun Peninsula.  Just off the coast of the peninsula are two islands.

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The larger one in the background is Clare Island and the one in the foreground is Achillbeg island.

So at this point I changed my SD card, and here my photographs have to end. I could not access the card due to an error.

A quick note on the rest off the trip. I continued north through Mayo up to Bangor before turning north-west to Belmullet. Turning east on the R314 across the northern coast around to the town of Ballina. Across into county Sligo and stopping at the Beach Hut Bar and campsite for the night. This morning it was across Sligo and up into Northern Ireland and a three hour ride home. Clean and sort my gear, dry and pack the tent and then discover my faulty SD card.

Thank you for joining me on this weekend trip, a total of 653 miles. Lets do it again soon.

George

 

 

Irish photo Rally 2017

A beautiful morning greeted me on awaking, sun lighting up the bedroom and birds singing. Shower and dressed I was ready for the road. Open vents in my jacket and sort light weight gloves, fire up the bike and I’m off. Four mile up the road and I’m riding in thick fog, forty miles later and I’m still in it. My first point today is on the north coast of Ireland, its number 2 on the rally map . Portstewart harbour and the Jimmy Kennedy memorial. The Fishing boat.

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Has you can see it was a gray day here, in fact its rain lightly. Jimmy kennedy was a song writer born in Northern Ireland, wrote songs sung by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other great singers. Jimmy Kennedy There’s an art gallery and cafe across the road so a cup of coffee and its time to go. Head across the north coast towards the east coast and follow it south. A short ride over to Portrush take me along part of the North West 200 road race. The track is along public roads which they close while the motorcycle races are taking place. Speeds in access of 200 mph / 321kph are hit on parts of the circuit. Heres a link to a You Tube clip of the racing. NW 200 .

Leaving Portrush for the coast road running down the east side of the country the rain is falling but the sky is clear ahead.  The first town I come to is Bushmills. For any whisky drinkers out there this is where the famous Bushmills whisky is distilled. Bushmills . Okay for those that opened the link, I thought you might enjoy the it. Turning left in the centre of town and continue along the coastal route. Today I give the town of Dunseverick a miss and turn off for Ballintoy harbour.  Down pass the small white church and follow the narrow winding road down to the harbour.

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Just before you turn down into harbour you pass ‘Bendhu’, this house was built by a artist from Cornwall in the south of England. Another link Bendhu . Please visit this link to see and learn about this piece of art.

A coffee and a chat with a couple from Hungary touring on a motorcycle and its time to continue south. Has you climb out of Ballintoy village you pass the Carrick-na-reed rope bridge.

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The next town on route it Ballycastle. Every year they have Irelands oldest fair here in August, The Auld Lammas Fair is held over two days. Six miles off the coast is the island of Rathlin. A beautiful island where you can walk on roads and never see any traffic. There are three lighthouses on the island with one being a bird sanctuary where  sea bird come to breed every year.  Getting across is on a small ferry, foot passage only.

Out of town and I go down a small road that splits the golf course in two, and pull over to look across at Rathlin and the Scottish hills. Rarhlin was just showing through the sea mist and Scotland could not be seen.

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This is Ballycastle beach looking back towards the town. Has the photo shows it was still cloudy but warm and dry. The hills in the background is north and the road I traveled down follows them. South and I take the Tor head road that hugs the rugged coast with fantastic views across the Irish sea into Scotland. will there would be if this sea mist clears. Next stop is Murlough, a viewing point with great sea views.

 

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This shot see’s the mist clearing and the sun has dropped in to say hello. That is one of Rathlin Islands lighthouse’s in the mid ground and Scotland in the background. Scotland is only 13 mile across from Ireland at this point. From here its follow the road around around to Cushendun where there is a grand little tea room beside the harbour. No luck this time for it is full so needing fuel I head on to Cushendall. While stopped for fuel my sister and hubby stopped. Never know who you meet…. great to see them. My next point is inland a few miles from Ballygally, another small seaside town. This time its up into the hills and another view point and my rally point. A plaque To Judge Richard Campbell (1870-1935) link It was non stop down the coast road to Larne. If you ride a motorcycle this ranks has one of the great motorcyclist road in the world. Sandwiched between rock face and just a stone wall with the sea lapping on the other side it makes some riders nervous and others love the thrill of riding this fast.  From Larne I follow the coast around through Carrickfergus. There is a Norman castle here worth a visit if you happen to be passing this way. Castle.

From Carrick has we call it here in the north it was onto Belfast and Stop for a coffee. From Belfast it over to Comber on the shore of Strangford lough and follow the lough shore around to Mahee Island. These small isles are connected with man made causeways. And this time it Mahee/Hendrum castle is the rally photo. The temperature has climbed and now when I stop the jacket has to come off.

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With the sky clear and the sun high its not great for photography.  But its the last for this trip, I strap the jacket to the bike and its tee shirt and sunshine for the trip back home.

A few hundred metre’s from here is  Nendrum Monastic site, with some great views and the remains of an old Monastery dating  back to the 5th century. But that will be another trip and post.

Thank you all for visiting.

 

 

 

 

Photo Rally 2017

Welcome back to another update on doing the 2017  Irish photo rally . More info about it and a map with the photo rally points is here. This one is number 21 on the map and is in County Sligo and is called  The Scenically Set Ruin in Gleniff. I was lucky to get these photo’s has the rain was just starting and with in a few minutes it was a very wet ride home. Here is the photo of the point 21.

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Yes the bike must be in there, part of the rules.. And now the scenic part, this next shot was taken from the other side of the bike.

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At this point the rain was starting to fall, so camera away and followed the wet road through Gleniff.

Thank you for visiting and for your comments and likes.

 

Photo rally

Another three of rally points done, but only got a couple of photos edited. The first is here in County Monaghan. This stands in the most northerly parish of Co. Monaghan: Errigal Truagh. Behind the old school house stands  the ruins of an ancient church, where many beautifully carved old headstones of McKenna interest remain a major tourist attraction. Which I hope to follow up with some photos later.

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Next its over to County Leitrim, to the birth place of  Margaret of New Orleans. Will include a link here about this amazing woman. It surprises me sometimes the history and stories behind some of the photo rally points. Please have a read about this woman, Margaret of New Orleans. And here is her restored home in Ireland.

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The motorcycle you see in the photos is a BMW R1200gs and is my transport around Ireland for work and pleasure.

Thank you for visiting and have a great weekend.