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Old 31-07-2017, 09:32 PM   #36
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: The Patch, Vic
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

About the only riding today was the 3 mile ride to & from the Suilven trailhead. This was the one day I'd been hoping would be clear so I could climb safely and get a view from the top. The rain stopped after breaky and rain radar looked 50/50, nothing ventured nothing gained, let's get on with it.

It's a few miles along an approach track before the climb itself -

Canisp dead ahead. It's 100 meters higher than Suilven but doesn't look as dramatic -

Suilven with cloud still down . The Summit access track goes straight up the middle, to the notch in the ridge -

Cloud lifting a bit -

Quick dip ? -

Approaching the ridge, steep enough to need hands and feet -

Terrific view suddenly appears to the south. There is, of all things, a magnificent drystone wall that goes straight down the other side as far as I can crane my neck. Hard to think of the work effort that went into that -

Then on and up the ridge. Approaching the summit, this is the beautiful view back east along the breadknife -

Summit cairn. Had lunch here with a walker who'd been half hour ahead of me on the climb. She turned out to be a nurse from Edinburgh, made from the right stuff. She typically takes hiking holidays, camping in bothys (huts) or sleeping in the open or in beach caves. Not bad looking either, just an observation ...

Video -

SW over the Coigach to the Summer Isles -

South over Cul Mor -

East along the ridge and to Canisp -

North to Cnoc Leothaid -

Stayed until the cloud base started to lower so then got outa there. Smug mug on the way back -

Nearly back at the bike, the old guy in the boat was rowing, pulling a small net behind him -

A satisfying day , pain killers do wonders (I'm typing this wearing a cam boot for 6 weeks to allow a fibula stress fracture I've been carrying for months to finally heal ).

.... Peter.

Last edited by twowheeler; 02-08-2017 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:59 PM   #37
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

If Paul (P&D) sees this, he'll have gear off and into the wet in no time.

Originally Posted by twowheeler View Post
Quick dip ?

Nearly 24 hours without an update!!! I need a fix.
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Old 02-08-2017, 06:14 PM   #38
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

That evening I rode up the tiny B869 toward Clachtoll. If I wasn't so focussed on remembering the directions my b+b owner David had just given me, I would have photographed the numerous sheep who were lounging about on the warm tarmac and presumably slept there as some hardly budged as I slow-slalomed past.

David had used my topographical walking map to describe how to find an unmarked but tangible reminder of the human tragedy of the Scottish Clearances in the local area.

Located the start point - a small track off the road - parked the VFR, then followed his instructions. Walked about a mile, past the 2nd burn -

Then went cross country, past a waterfall, keeping knolls & features left and right as he'd instructed, then after nearly an hour of searching about in the fading light, found what he had described.

Local families who had been evicted had carved their names, initials and pictures on a large rectangular rock before sailing away to the New World -

John Matheson was a local stone mason -

He and his family sailed to Nova Scotia, as did many from this area -

It's a large rock, and it's covered in many carvings which span approximately 80 years -

It's probably not coincidental that it faces west, the direction most went -

It made me wonder how many were excited at the new opportunities and how many were grief stricken at leaving a place where their families had probably lived for generations. A beautiful and poignant monument tucked away just as it should be.

After this break in transmission, will now return to normal motorcycling programming .
.... Peter.

Last edited by twowheeler; 07-08-2017 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 02-08-2017, 09:45 PM   #39
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

A salmon omelette, toast & tea got me on the road, passing several deer munching by the roadside on the way out of Lochinver. The forecast was for high winds, gradually increasing over the next 2 days, just when I'd be taking ferries north .

Short stop at Kylerhea -

Parked the VFR again just along the road to walk up a hill for a good pic of Kylerhea's lovely modern bridge, but the wind was howling up its gorge and I was getting the yips watching the VFR shift about on its side-stand , so chickened out and just kept riding.

Turned north -

The next stretch was reasonably busy with huge-scale valleys and hills which made me feel inconsequential.

Then hit the north coast at Durness. Joined a queue of North Coast 500 bikes for fuel and a chat with a couple (there were 2 Romanian bikes too), filled up and when I went in to pay, found the crisps I'd been searching all over Britain for since arriving a month before. Got addicted to them on the last trip - thought Walkers had stopped making them - bought 3 packets -

Just along the road near Rispond. Great beaches up here, just a tad cold -

Don't know what it is but liked the white ring around its eye -

Followed the road south along Loch Eriboll, wind blowing a hoolie. Watched a cyclist get blown off his bike just after this pic. He unclipped but still wound up half sprawled on the road -

An eventful 15mins; just after that I had the only time I had to get off a road when a massive Dutch-reg motorhome blew straight through a passing place we were both heading for, and sailed forth regardless. I pulled off and tipped the bike left so my fat-arsed panniers didn't get taken out. Prick .

Anyway, the scenery on the east side of the same Loch helped put that encounter out of mind -

Just past Heilam, turned right on an unclassified road which I nearly missed, with a small sign saying Altnaharra. It was fitting that I had to wait a few seconds to turn to allow a stream of bikes to come through, as once on this little road I saw only 3 cars in the next 25 miles. It initially follows Loch Hope -

The first creek crossing of loose stones had me a bit worried as I paddled across in 1st, wondering what it was going to be like further on, but all the remainder in this initial section were army-type steel bridges -

Clearly doesn't get much traffic -

Just past Altnacaillich, which is on the map but is just a single farm, lies Dun Dornaigil Broch -

Built around 0 AD. Ben Hope on the right -

A few miles south the valley started to open out -

Then the road climbed up onto a plateau. Another clearance ? -

The gale force wind added to the lonely, sombre mood up here. Loch Meadie -

Was quite happy to arrive at Altnaharra, not that there's much there, but a roadsign is better then nothing . Continued NE along the B873 -

About as much at Syre as there was at Altnaharra, but farm houses were becoming regular and the country much greener as the geology passed to eastern Scotland's softer form -

Hit the north coast again at Bettyhill -

Turned east and let the gale blow me along, it was getting a bit wet & cold too so pressed on to Thurso, then missed the road to Castletown where I was staying, and thus enjoyed an unscheduled short tour of far NE Scotland which has towns and roads not on my map, but it was all good in the end .

More to come . . .
.... Peter.

Last edited by twowheeler; 12-08-2017 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:12 AM   #40
Mapping the next ride...
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Originally Posted by twowheeler View Post

That looks sooo like NZ North Island

And that shark-fin mountain really sticks out of the landscape like it was man-made.

This thread has grown from all-out addictive!
First thing I check every time I log in.
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