Reflection

I guess it’s that time of the year where some look back over the outgoing year. Plans for the new year, a new you. I hope your dreams and hopes rise in the dawning of the new year.

The photo here was taken on my Scottish coast and highland tour last year. I spotted the sun breaking through to light up the mountain behind me. So using the motorcycle mirror to frame the shot also  showing  the road I had just came down.

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Thank you all that visit and support this blog. Your likes and comments, so all that’s left is to wish you all a Happy new year.

(For Cherie)

For a new beginning.

 

In the out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

waiting until you were ready to emerge.

 

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

 

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the grey promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

 

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

 

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life desires.

 

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

 

John O’Donohue , from the book ‘ To Bless the Space Between Us’.

A book of Blessings.

 

 

 

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 2

With the rain has my travelling company I continued north , With a stop for coffee in Aberdeen and a little sunshine starting to show I was on my way. It was just after Newburgh that I pull into a road side parking to get a photo while the sun was shining. Looking around I spotted and world war two  pillar box.

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With grass and shrub trees growing around it it was hard to get a good photograph of it. Would have had a look inside only it was full of rubbish. Sitting on the River Ythan  it had a good view of anything moving on the river.

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Has you can see for this photo the sky way just hanging on to the next shower of rain and I didn’t have to wait long.  I follow the coast through small town and villages. They  are all worth a photo but when on a motorcycle with all the wet gear on plus your camera in a tank bag inside its own waterproof bag. It’s not just a quick stop and grab a shot. So my next stop was the city of Elgin where I grabbed a soon food for to cook for my evening meal. with the tent up and the sound of waves breaking I started cooking has the rain drummed on the tent. There’s something very relaxing about the sound of rain on a tent. Yea I know weird guy. Well it relax’s me. Yes next morning the rain is still drumming only this time it’s got bigger drum sticks. Now packing up camp is no fun in the wet. but I’m getting to be an expert.

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One of my stop overs.

It’s of to Inverness and over the new Firth bridge. Road works and heavy traffic make for slow progress. The next bridge was over the Cromarty Firth and more roadworks to make me stop and admire the view.

 

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These were taken after I crossed the bridge. Seals basking in the foreground and traffic hold ups in the background.

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And looking the other way oil or gas platforms being worked at.

And at this point I will thank you for visiting and part 3 will follow soon.