A tour of the West Coast of Scotland on the motorbikes. Part 2
Well here I am again with part 2 of our adventure. The second night as mentioned below, was a bit quieter, but I must admit that there was one ‘incident’ that I have to share with you all. I was sitting out in the sun with a glass of wine before dinner, and watched slightly bemused, as a bloke rolled a crate past.
I couldn’t help myself, being the shy and retiring type, but ask him how far he had to go, rolling the crate (which was nearly as big as him, and obviously heavy!) I nearly spat out my wine when he said “Oh, 3 miles. I thought it was easier doing this than going to get the Land Rover.” Right. Ok. Couldn’t say anything to that really, could I?
The next day was steaming hot again, so after a lovely omelette breakfast with Lesley – whose personal breakfast of choice is double chocolate chip cookies, we headed away – we are however going back next month, so we were not too miserable saying cheerio! I managed not to get overtaken by a pedal cyclist or knocked off my Suzuki by any mad/suicidal coos.
We snuck in a wee loop (via the Sligachan again) up the Dunvegan road. Lovely driving roads. We did meet 3 mad bikers when we stopped at the Sligachan – and met them again in Portree – what a small island it is! No doubt we will see them again when they pop into Tyndrum!! We were given the heads-up that there was a severe weather warning for the West Coast…. eek! So, hot-footed it off of Skye. Heading down toward the Lochcarron turn off, Ed doubled back, saying “I have always wanted to take this road to Plockton.” At that point, what went through my head was, I hope this doesn’t add too many miles to the route, it was after all about 26 degrees and my goretex was stuck to me already!
It is a pretty village. We had a look, and tried to find the obvious road out of the village to take the twisties to Lochcarron, and ended up having to ask a workman for the right turn off…. I know, men don’t usually do that. Why he didn’t put it into his sat nav beats me!! At this point have a biking tip – take care going on single track roads, where there is shade over the road, gravel is not the easiest thing to see!! Nearly had a skittery moment going out of Plockton. However, I dumped the clutch and survived – phew!
Eventually, after some hairy twisties, we got back onto the main road. Lochcarron was essential for fuel, we didn’t want to head up over the hill to Applecross with any doubt of there being fuel available. Now, by this time it was 5 o’clock. We wanted to be in Applecross by 5. I guess that wasn’t going to happen. We hadn’t stopped for lunch, and Ed did say when we arrived in Lochcarron that he wished we had not booked for Applecross. He was concerned that I would be tired and cranky – I was ok though, amazing what a seat in the shade and a can of Red Bull can do for you.
Stopping at the bottom of the road does make you have second thoughts. I have heard all about this road, known as the Bealach na Ba. There are all sorts of warnings at the turn off to the single track road:
Yup, the warnings were correct. First gear hair pin bends. The views however, on this gorgeous day, were truly stunning, in actual fact, when I looked up the Wikipedia link above, I thought to myself that they stole MY picture – well, Ed gets the credit for riding the bike back down the hair pin bends to get a couple of corkers:
The stone ‘formations’ in this picture are right at the top of the Bealach na Ba. What is interesting, Ed had been in this very spot only the week before and they were not there!! Hmmm. The reason I have questioned if there had been Canadians up there was the similarity to the Canadian emblem for the 2010 winter Olympics.
For centuries, the Inuit people of Canada’s Arctic stacked rock in human form to create the inukshuk, a guidepost that provided direction across the vast horizons of the North (see right). The Vancouver Games will be represented by a modern interpretation of the inukshuk called Ilaanaq, the Inuit word for “friend.”
There – every day should be a school day after all! I was a bit puzzled when I saw them, and did automatically think of the inukshuk and its role in the Inuit life, however, just presumed that they had been at the top of this mountain pass for ages. Erm, not! They have sprung up in a week!
I had headed off down the hill to Applecross on my own leaving Ed doing his photography bit, it was totally breathtaking! He caught me up just as I arrived in the village.
I could not strip off my goretex fast enough when we got to our destination of the Applecross Inn. I hope I didn’t put too many folks off their beers by stripping to my shorts and (not a lot of it) vest top. Attractive? Not. Practical? Yup! We couldn’t get to the bar quick enough for a beer and a bit of shade. The lady behind the bar took one look at me in my sweaty state and asked: “Have you just run here?” Well, I found it tough enough riding a motorcycle there, never mind contemplating WALKING!!
We checked in as quickly as possible, showered, changed, back to the bar for another refreshing drink. We ordered our food with the efficient staff and wandered out side to admire the scenery. It was gob-smackingly gorgeous. I am really glad that we went there that night, and not just pass through on the way to somewhere else during the day. It was so worth it for the sunset pictures that I took with my little camera.
The food that was served up was really well received, that’s for sure! I must say it was all beautifully tasty and the staff very efficient! They are obviously very busy for the best part of the year, and looked as though they were well used to it!! I really did enjoy the Applecross experience and thank you very much Red Bull for helping me up to the top of the hill, it did give me the wings I needed.
I slept for Scotland that night! I think I made it beyond 10pm. Mind you, maybe not. Zzzzzzz 🙂