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Old 29-07-2017, 10:06 PM   #26
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Forgot this one from the last post. There were sheep -




Took off early to get over to Portree to, hopefully, catch the early morning sun on its harbourside houses. Sun didn't co-operate though .... -




Then after brimming the VFR with 97 - one advantage of a popular place is a choice of octane - went south down the A87. Sligachan -





Rather than just cross the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh though, I swung right at Broadford and took the little road down to Kylerhea -







A really excellent, quiet road with terrific views south over the sound and Glenelg -







Bit of a plunge at the end down to Kylerhea -







The Kylerhea ferry crosses the Sound of Sleat. Ferry nerds might know it as the only manual-turntable ferry in the world -




Was in no rush so let it go across to watch it and chat to a couple of holidaymakers setup in deckchairs on the ramp. They were staying in a cottage nearby and came down sometimes to watch proceedings and to throw sticks for one of the ferry's border collies -




Funnily enough it came back. It's run by an independent operator, with a friendly crew and laid back approach as seen in this pic. The skipper was a young girl who'd recently passed her licence -




I boarded along with the other border collie, Mac, who is convinced his life's work is to guard the ferry against the nasty seals who keep popping their heads up . He's very dedicated; apparently if he misses the ferry he sits and howls for the 30min round trip until it returns to him -




Ate my lunch on the other side, looking back at Skye -




Then went east along the Glenelg road, a really beautiful corner of Scotland -










Just before the road drops dramatically down to Shiel Bridge, there's a viewpoint over Kintail and its Five Sisters -




Then north along the A87 before turning right onto the A890, which goes over some high hills rimmed with tall snow poles , before dropping down to Loch Carron -




The location for a gazillion bike pics, now it's my turn -




The road climbs a huge ampitheature -







Just after here is the final mile or so which reminded me a lot of Jacob's Ladder in Tassy, all scree and hard switchbacks, except this is sealed -




On top of the Bealach na Ba itself. This is looking south west back over Raasay to the Cuillins on Skye -




The road winds its way down into Applecross. As I was now on the North Coast 500 route there were bikes everywhere, which was nice -




Great vibe at the pub, where I was staying, and in the Silverstream coffee/cake caravan out the front, doing a roaring trade in the warm sunshine . Revived by the best coffee since Oz , went for a walk -







In a micro-climate, it's warm and lush -




Deer absolutely everywhere -




The big camera ran out of battery, but a beer convinced me that the iPhone would be fine for the evening, such as capturing the deer on the beach -




Treated myself to a slap-up pub meal , the best scallops I have ever eaten by a country mile and a few beers in the setting sun, chatting casually with folk and looking over the view, with my cracking VFR parked in the periphery. Life was very good -













More to come ....
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Last edited by twowheeler; 30-07-2017 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 30-07-2017, 06:00 PM   #27
glitch
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

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Originally Posted by twowheeler View Post
Yeah you’re spot on. I’d anticipated delays here and there with ferries and knew I’d be stopping a fair bit to poke around or take pics, so none of my days were long in terms of miles, but almost all of them took all day ! Single-track roads, even empty ones, are definitely slower than A roads, even though they’re all paved, some badly. Maybe I’m just cautious, but you need to balance your speed with your ability to slow/stop in the next passing place combined with how much forward vision you have of oncoming traffic. Locals have it down pat, everyone just co-ordinates their speed (which is not slow) so they don’t need to stop but just arrive at the next passing place at the same time. Tourists unwittingly screw it up by either stopping too early, or barging on regardless (read, some motorhomes).

Food costs were good. Everywhere I stayed (pubs, B+Bs) included breakfasts, cooked ones if you wanted. And I quickly fell into the habit of having them make me a brown-bag lunch. They all offered it, about 5 quid for a sandwich, cake, chocolate, fruit, drink, etc, so if I was walking it was obviously a good choice but also riding, it meant I could just stop anywhere. Dinners varied from cheap and cheerful, 10 quid or so, up to around 30 quid but that was for a magnificent multi-course meal and beer in Applecross.

I’d booked some accommodation well in advance and others only days/weeks earlier. I didn’t have any issues, but noticed that wherever I went, most places had no-vacancy signs up.

I used my credit card usually, some un-manned pump stations for example are card only, but there were a couple of joints that only took cash. Probably a similar ratio to Oz.

Bike friendly, I really enjoyed riding here. Some of it comes down to your own attitude but I found courteous drivers and a generally welcoming vibe. Bikes are very common in Britain so more people ‘get’ them I guess. The speed limits are sensible and the roads aren’t saturated with nanny-state double lines.

Friendliness ? Dangerous to generalise, but I reckon most Scots love a good chat. I met so many interesting people. A guy who sticks in my mind was an old shepherd on Skye. I was walking along a public right-of-way near Ullinish; he was in the next field and walked across to open a gate for me. He had a long crook (I kid you not) and a neurotic border collie who tried its best to round me up. We talked for ages about dogs (mine is neurotic too), weather, kids and the stupendous view he had from his nearby cottage, where he’d lived all his life farming sheep.
Thanks for all the info...the detail and insight are awesome , this is even more of a travellers' yarn than a riders' yarn.

I'll vote this RR of 2017...and we're (hopefully) no where near the finish yet
Fabulous pics, a window into a place I knew of, but had no idea about.




Now I've got a heap of delicious "catching-up" to do....thanks god for quiet Sunday night.
Thanks for all the work, mate!
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Old 31-07-2017, 10:04 AM   #28
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Forecast of a big storm in the early arvo got me out of bed, first to breaky & on the road sharpish. Bit of a shame as this is a top spot worthy of a few days meandering & walking. Next time . Dodged the village deer then rode up the road hugging the west coast of the Applecross Pensinsula.

Gotten used to sheep everywhere by now, but this was a first -




She was very quiet and kinda cute -




Scudding rain showers kept me in wets but made for classic Scottish light . Shieldaig and Torridon in the distance -




The road rounded the NW tip then went east. There were so many gobsmacking views (well, for me anyway ) along this stretch next to Loch Torridon I had to force myself to keep riding. Certainly wasn't bothered by traffic that's for sure -







Tiny villages along the way, this is coming into Kenmore -




Rejoined the A896 and continued east. This at the start of the single track at Liathach, the large peaks of Torridon looming in the mist on the left -




Soon came to the comparatively main road of the A832 and took that until turning north at the A835 junction. No photos along this section as I enjoyed the traffic-less big roads and got absorbed by just riding a motorcycle again. I really (ahem ) wound out the VFR along here. It was proving to be a perfect bike for this trip. It made me smile every morning at startup at its burble. The anticipation of its VTEC "step" at 8000rpm was fun. Snickity-snick gearbox. Etc, etc. Perhaps it's true what they say about Hondas .

Anyway, after a quick fill-up with 97 at Ullapool, continued north before turning left at Drumrunie onto the unclassified road out into the Assynt.


Stopped for a leisurely brown bag sandwich here as the sun made a brief appearance, contemplating life while overlooking Stac Pollaidh (known also at Stac Polly). It could be described at picturesque -







Swung north up into the Inverpolly. It's very rocky around here and the mountains are quite dramatic. They're not high by Scottish standards but are separated from each other which gives them a sense of height -




The road got really narrow and twisty for a bit so despite lack of traffic it took all my attention. Then arrived in Lochinver just before the rain -

IMG_4438 by peter, on Flickr


Checked into the b+b, showered while the rain unleashed outside, then went for a walk when it had passed. Lochinver's harbour, Suilven behind. There were Madrid trucks parked at the wharf, apparently waiting for a Spanish trawler to arrive. That's a 3400 mile round trip, much of it on the wrong side of the road !




Later, on the hill behind my b+b, looking over Lochinver with Suilven dead centre with its top in cloud. The plan was to climb it tomorrow, weather permitting -

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Old 31-07-2017, 03:30 PM   #29
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga




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Old 31-07-2017, 05:06 PM   #30
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Oh maaaan....little toy-towns strung above the water-line, gloomy skies, tiny roads, lakes + lochs and mountains, dramatic skies and light above meandering, narrow paths through the greener-than-green countryside without any notable traffic and people around....omg, what a place!

I'm slowly catching up and couldn't really say which part I'd like better....the mountains seem to get more dramatic and higher the further north you go.




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