A tour of the West Coast of Scotland on the motorbikes. Part 1
Sunshine and motorbikes. What an excellent combination. We headed off on the Monday morning, for the first lap of our wee tour of the West Coast of Scotland. The sun was shining, sky was blue. How absolutely perfect! We filled with fuel, checked the tyres, oil and Ed adjusted and tightened my off-side wing mirror, snapped on the paniers filled to the brim with everything – including a thermal top and waterproof socks – it’s Scotland afterall!
It just so happens we were in no hurry to leave, which is nice, I hate the “Come on…. come on…… let’s get going” lark. Far too stressful! So, we wandered up a very busy Glencoe with me leading the way on my Suzuki SV 650 until Ballahuilish, where Ed roared passed me and pulled into the layby before the bridge. I honestly thought that I had done something wrong, but no, thankfully, Ed had the brilliant idea of stopping for lunch at The Lochleven Seafood Café – one of our favourite destinations! Lovely clams and scallops – not too much to eat, considering we had a wee journey to do – didn’t want to eat too much and have to stop for a nap! There is no better way to start our adventure!
So, we headed off, through a very busy Fort William – as a ‘local’ the best part of Fort William is the road that by-passes it – very pretty, but honestly for me, not terribly exciting! We had just gone through Spean Bridge, and got a quick glance at the fire devastation caused a few weeks ago. Wow, just as well that the place was not open when that took hold!
Heading up the hill, I noticed that my wing mirror had slipped again. Damn. I pulled over into a layby that had 4 German bikers stopped. I got off the bike, and honestly my thoughts were, how hard can it be to sort the mirror. I unlocked my seat, got out the tool kit, and fished a spanner out of the bag. Determined to sort it myself, I was thinking: “Righty-tighty, lefty-loosy” so started to tighten the wing mirror, when much to my disgust, I was left standing there with spanner in one hand and wing mirror in the other. Oops. At that point, I called to Ed, who was by now giving the German tourists the low-down on the best places to go to in Scotland. I just gave him what could be considered to be my best ‘pathetic woman’ look, holding up the offending articles. The mirror was slightly threaded, but after the Ed touch, it was soon back in place and I was on my way again. At this point, Ed stayed for a bitty and gave the Germans a bit more advice, so I was left on my own to blatter up the road to Skye. Bliss . What was even better, when I got to the Caledonian Canal swing bridge, the lights were at red, so I was able to sneak in front of all the 20 cars/caravans/campervans to the front of the queue!
The journey after that was so, so peaceful. I passed one car, and all the rest of the traffic was heading south. It was just excellent, having the road to myself. I did pass the part of the road where I lost part of my helmet last year, and thought about stopping to look for it (don’t be silly), had the most amazing drive for miles, until Ed caught up with me, just in time to stop for fuel. Stopped in at the Eilean Donan Castle for a rest and a slug of Irn Bru – THE national drink!!
Onwards to Skye. At Broadford, you take a left turn after the petrol station to go to Elgol. Be warned, it is a single track road, not for the feint hearted, populated by mad sheep, coos, and calves. They are all over the place! They wander all over the road, without a care in the world.
How can you tell which cow is on her holidays? She is the one with the wee calf.
Getting closer to Elgol, the weather had set in – it was like pea soup. By the time we were a mile away from Coruisk, it should have looked like this:
However, Ed by now was all of 50 m in front of me, and I couldn’t see his rear light it was that bad! I ended up having to lift my visor and just get my glasses wet for the last half mile of road.
Soon after we arrived at Coruisk House:
Unpacked and in a jiffy had a glass of wine, our feet up and had a catch up with Robin and Lesley, the owners of this ace place! Dinner was as usual superb, and the craic during and after was fantastic. Much to the delight of the upstairs guests, Ed and I sat blethering to a couple from Hamilton, Aileen and Willie – all the while, Ed and Willie were slowly but surely sampling the delights of Robin’s whisky collection. Mind you, after a couple of ports, I hit the whisky too!! I believe it was about 1.45am when we went upstairs and Aileen and Willie staggered to the Black Cottage!
The next day dawned and it was truly stunning,
so, Lesley gave Liz, her American staff member time off so that she could come with us on a trip round Skye. We eventually managed to get her a helmet – the first effort was a cyclist helmet – that just wouldn’t do! The chances of us seeing police on the island let alone being stopped was slim, but let’s get real, we didn’t want to take the risk, so after some phone calls to the locals, we managed to get one!
The view from the harbour was truly stunning, where else in the world would you care to be with that on your doorstep!
Leaving Elgol, there was another BMW rider in front of us – as Ed says, you would have thought that he was driving a bus. Going very, very cautiously – driving even slower than I would, that’s for sure! It was so bad, that we passed a cyclist, before we headed down the hill into one of the hamlets – the next thing – WHIZZZZZ the cyclist passed me on the hill!!!! Blimey, I nearly fell off from laughing so much! I am not really known for being overtaken at the best of times – but to be overtaken by a cyclist was just too much!!!
We headed up to Portree via the Sligachan Hotel for a sample of Eric’s finest, then we were off to Skye Batiks where we spent a small fortune on some new funky baggies – thanks to Gavin the owner for replacing my previously purchased ones which very quickly had developed a hole which was irreparable. Onwards from there we went up to Trotternish. Wow. What scenery. We stopped at Kilt Rock for the staggering scenery, the rock formations looking like tartan, hence the name!
By the time we had done all that, we were ready for a wee stop – if you’re up there, then take the wee road over the top of Trotternish, it is amazing – with a couple of lethal hair-pin bends. The view, yet again was stunning and I would certainly recommend it! There was a wee snack van which suited our needs, so we sat on the top of the hill with a view over the valley below and ate a sandwich, and watched a cyclist ride all the way up the hill. Good grief, it was bad enough with and engine, never mind pedal power!
We headed back down then via Portree and yup, you guessed it, the Sligachan Inn for a small refreshment before Ed and Liz blattered back to Elgol so that Liz could get her dinner before she started work. I was left to take in the view and catch another couple of pictures. I had a lovely wander back. Nice.
So, that was day one and two of our wee holiday. Dinner at night was a bit of a calmer affair after the blow out the night before. We were worn out after the venture round the Island, sunshine and scenery blowing us away. Bedtime was a damn sight earlier than the first night, that’s for sure!
That’s all for now. Part II coming soon. Just for good measure, here’s another picture of Elgol. Eye candy.