Cape Town – West Coast – 321 Km’s

As we were in Cape Town for a few days, we decided to hire a couple of bikes and hit the roads. We both went for Harley Davidsons:- I opted for a Softail Heritage Classic very similar to my own (though a few years older), and Lena went for a Sportster 883. Well, that was what she decided on as it was the smallest Harley the hire shop had, and she had only ridden up to a 650 previously. However, the rental folk had recently acquired a new Sportster 1200 and decided to substitute that for her 883, so she was riding a bike with an engine pretty much twice the size of anything she had ridden before. Fortunately, the Sportster is a pretty lightweight bike, so she didn’t have to wrestle with it too much.

We picked up the bikes from GS Africa, about 5 minutes from our hotel. I had done most of the paperwork beforehand, and so it didn’t take long to get out on the road. We had brought our own jackets, boots, gloves and helmets, which meant we were still blue-toothed together and able to chat on the radios the whole way. We rode out of town over Kloof Nek, the narrow pass between Table Mountain and Lions Head, then headed along the beautiful coast towards Hout Bay, about 25 minutes away.

At Hout Bay we pulled into a layby next to a cafe called Casareccio. Next to a Harley shop, there were a few bikers sat out having coffee, as well as a few civilians. We were here to meet cousin Roni and her boyfriend Art, who had also hired a bike (a Softail Heritage very similar to mine) and were going to join us for our two days of touring. Art is an experience biker from the USA, and we quickly got acquainted over stories of bikes and biking. Roni was a willing passenger, and after a coffee we saddled up and hit the road.

Roni and Art

Todays destination was Langebaan and the West Coast National Park. Not so much a bikers delight, much of the rod was flat and striaght, but a beautiful target. The early part of the ride was great though, hugging the eastern side of Table Mountain as we headed north back towards Cape Town. Once through the city and onto the R27, we stayed roughly North by North East for about 90 kms before arriving at the Nature Reserve.

I felt a bit bad as we drove into the park. My bike had pretty loud exhaust pipes, so any wildlife would have heard us coming miles away. however, most of the wildlife was hiding from the sun, and most of the visitors were heading for the white sandy beaches alongside the beautiful inlet from Saldanha bay. We did see a large Eland close to the road, as well as a seagull, a small tortoise crossing the road, and what we refer in my family as an LBJ (a little brown jobbie – a small and nondescript bird that my father could identify and provide the equivalent of 40 pages of wikipedia information on from memory). Fortunately my Dad was not present, so we were uninterrupted by birdopedia and enjoyed stunning views of the sea on one side and the lagoon on the other.

The beaches were pretty crowded, but we stopped at Kraalbaai for a bit of sunning and swimming. Art and I lay in the sun, in full biker regalia so as not to burn too much, while Roni and Lena went into the pretty blue water for a wade. They were out for about half an hour, after which we got back on the bikes and rode all the way around the inlet and back to Langebaan, which was on the opposite side to Kraalbaai. An easy lunch followed, then we topped up petrol and hit the long, straight R27 road back towards Cape Town.

We turned off the main road near Melkbosstrand, 20 ish KM’s outside Cape Town, and rode along the smaller coastal road. The views from here, across Table Bay towards the Mountain are spectacular. We stopped near Big Bay to take some pictures, and were ambushed by a newly married couple and their photographer, who wanted to take some impromptu pics with the bikes.

We obliged, wished them well, and then enjoyed the beautiful mountain and bay vistas for a while, before our final leg back to Cape Town.

View across Table Bay

We parked up outside the hotel, and popped in for a quick wash and change of sweaty clothes before heading to Camps Bay for a lovely supper with Roni and Art in a great restaurant called Paranga.

I managed to get my nose and a small strip on my left wrist quite sunburned, and look like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

Todays route

This was the home page for our tour of Scotland 2018

A new year, a new tour, and a major change to our biking profile. Earlier this year, Lena decided that she wanted to get her own bike.This meant getting her license, and getting a bike. She started learning in April, and by early June had passed her various tests, giving her a full motorbike license. She did extremely well, and passed her driving test first go, though the phase one test (off-road handling test for manoeuvres such as U-turns, figure 8’s and so on) needed a second attempt. We also bought her a bike – a Kawasaki Vulcan cruiser – and now we are a two-bike family!

We decided to take a two week break in August and do a grand tour of Scotland. I have done quite a few bike trips there, on my own, with friends, and once I did a great ‘boys trip’ where me and Ben spent a week on the bike, visiting various castles and battlefields. Lena has been to Edinburgh a couple of times, but never on the bike, and she has not had the extreme pleasure of visiting Scotland outside of Edinburgh.  It is such a pretty country, and touring the islands, highlands, glens and lochs is something we have long yearned for.

So we have been planning routes, stops and accommodations, and have an exciting trip forming on the maps and spreadsheets that I am accustomed to using when planning my tours. All these years as a project manager means that I have good (obsessive) control of many elements and factors, but even though we will have all accommodation booked ahead of time, the routes and activities still flex right up to the time we are on the road, and often make improvised changes on the day.

My old (figuratively and literally) friend Gus and his son-in-law Cal may join us for some or more of the trip – we are waiting to hear from them, but we have plans forming for 16 day trip to take in as much of the sights, sounds, food and whisky as we can. I will update from time to time as we make progress, and will, of course, faithfully journal our trip as per my usual manner. See you soon.

DestinationPlanned miles
Day 1Halifax219
Day 2Castle Douglas194
Day 3Luss, Loch Lomond116
Day 4Lochgilphead65
Day 5Port Ellen, Islay54
Day 6Oban73
Day 7Kinloch Rannoch87
Day 8Aviemore54
Day 9Aviemore0
Day 10Aviemore0
Day 11Skye188
Day 12Fort William124
Day 13Pitlochry104
Day 14Edinburgh76
Day 15Halifax231
Day 16Home221

T minus 1 and counting

Hello all, from a very excited Greenwich. We are mostly packed up and ready to head out on our big new adventure tomorrow morning. This is an exciting time, because there are a bunch of firsts accompanying the trip – along with the anticipation of two weeks on the road.

Those of you who have been paying attention know that Lena passed her bike test a couple of months ago, got herself a brand new bike, and is ready to ride alongside me on our first big two-bike trip. Also, although Lena has been to Scotland, it has only been to spend time in Edinburgh, so she has all the rest of bonnie Scotland to explore. The lochs, coast, islands, highlands and mountains await us.

Our trip plan is on the front page of the blog, we are spending a total of 16 days on the road. Aside from 3 nights in Aviemore at a bike rally, we are not staying in the same place for more than one night, so we will be moving a lot, and hoping to see much of the beauty that Scotland has to offer. Unfortunately we have been checking the weather forecast, and it is promising to be cold and wet for the duration of our trip. However, the weather forecast has been wrong before, and I am hoping that we find some bits of sunshine under the rainbow.

Tomorrow is a work day, so we are going to load up, head to our respective offices where we will park up the bikes and do an honest days work without losing focus or being too excited. Late afternoon I will head up to UCL to collect JellyBean, and we will hit the road just in time to mingle with the Friday night rush of traffic out of London. We are heading to Halifax, to see the new home of Span and Priya, which I am looking forward to.

I aim to keep this blog updated every day, as is my wont with these types of trips. Keep coming back to track our progress, read hilarious tales of the road, and watch us bumble around Scotland.

Day 1 – London to Halifax – 227 miles

Greetings from a grey and overcast West Yorkshire. We are lying in a cosy bed, provided by my daughter and her partner. They moved in to their new home a few weeks ago, and this is our first visit to see them in their lovely house.

We got up today full of excitement, ready to finally start our bike trip. We have been planning for months, acquired new bikes (and a bike license), been practising riding in convoy, and were fully ready to roll. We packed everything for the road, went down to the garage where we keep our bikes, and readied them.

Unfortunately, we had to work today – no easy start to our holiday, so we rode in to central London in the glorious sunshine, and I accompanied Lena to her work before riding down to the Aldwych to park up next to my office. The day passed slowly as I tried to finish off all of my final tasks while doing my best to keep focussed, rather than re-checking my trip plans, routes, accommodation bookings, weather forecasts, tidal charts, wildlife guides, language tutorials, ferry timetables and more. I did the best I could under trying circumstances, and finally, just after 4pm, I closed my laptop, and headed out the door.

Lena’s work is only about 8 minutes from mine, and when I got there she was all ready to ride, so I selected the day 1 route on the TomTom Satnav, and we were finally rolling. Leaving London via the road on a Friday night in summer as the rush-hour begins is not the smartest move one could make, but hey-ho. We weaved, crawled, filtered and dodged our way through the suburbs heading north, and actually got to the origin of the M1 motorway in a decent time.

From here, it was motorway all the way. There were various patches of bad traffic, and a bunch of roadworks to keep us slowed. It felt like a long ride, and got dark (as much due to the thick cloud cover as to the setting of the sun) before 8. Lena is still pretty inexperienced as a rider, and the unlit motorway was a bit daunting at times, so she felt more comfortable going at lower speeds. I am sure the 2000 something miles we will do on this trip will help her confidence, but it got quite cold as well, which we weren’t ready for.

We stopped for supper near Leicester, and raided our bags for various layers, and I also got my winter gloves out. An unsurprisingly mediocre motorway dinner later, we were back on the road. A combination of full tummies, tea and more clothing layers made the journey a bit easier, and we zoomed along the last 90 minutes of the trip pretty well, arriving in a very familiar part of Yorkshire around 10:40 pm. We rode past our old house and local pub – the Vol in Copley – before arriving at Span and Priya.

Lena was pretty exhausted from the days work, the adrenalin of a long night ride and the nerves of a relatively new rider, so she retired immediately. I had a lovely catch-up with the girls, and had a tour of the new home, which I love. They booked yesterday (along with number 2 daughter) to join Lena and I in South Africa at the end of the year on our holiday there, so we did some more planning around that as well. Finally, around 01:00 am I made the sensible decision to go to bed. G’night all, see you later.

Day 2 – Halifax to Castle Douglas – 194 miles

Motorway days are not a bikers favourite kind of day. Long, straight and boring – but at least we were on the bikes and making progress. We woke up and had breakfast and chat with Span and Priya, and then went about the business of packing up our gear. On a road trip, it takes a couple of days to get into the packing routine, everything finds its own place in the bag or on the bike somewhere, and you fall into a familiar practise.

It was overcast as we left Halifax, and stayed that way for most of the day. the motorway heads west towards Manchester, and after 25 miles ish another starts to lead north. within an hour we were on the M6, the main western artery running north-south (approximately) for much of England. North of Lancaster the motorway gets a bit less boring, as it rises and falls towards the hills at Shap, and offers a few more curves and slow bends.

We stopped at one of the better-catered motorway services, Tebay in Cumbria. It was very busy, but had good food and coffee. We had a light lunch, in anticipation of an early dinner at our destination. It started raining a bit, so I put the waterproof covers over the bags, and zipped the waterproof liner into my jacket. Fortunately the rain didn’t really set in, and though we had the odd drizzle, it remained mostly dry for the rest of our day.

We finally passed through the last bit of England, and entered Scotland in the early afternoon. A few more motorway miles led us to Gretna Green, and here we left the motorway, and began our next phase of this trip, which will pretty much leave us motorway free for the next ten days. Pretty countryside, and lots of forests led us along the road west from Gretna, and took us to our first Scottish home, Castle Douglas. A small town with a seemingly very ageing population, it nevertheless is know as a good food spot – which is why I chose this destination.

We took a walk and bought a thermal underlayer each – I had been aware of the weather forecast, but somehow had packed as if I was heading tot he north of Italy, as we had done last year when the temperature hardly dipped below 30 degrees. It is somewhat cooler here  (about 17 degrees as a high yesterday), so a good base layer will be welcome.

After the successful purchase we returned to our lovely little B&B, Douglas House, and got ready for dinner. The lovely Carlo’s Italian restaurant hosted us, and it put on a great meal. We ate ourselves into a coma, accompanied by a fine bottle of Barolo, and then staggered back to the accommodation to collapse into bed and have an early night. See you in the morning

Day 3 – Castle Douglas to Loch Lomond – 119 miles

It rained a lot overnight. I was oblivious though, as I fell asleep pretty much as soon as we got back from dinner. I slept the sleep of the righteous, and we woke to an overcast by dry day. Good breakfast in the B&B, and we then went through the packing routine to get the bike ready. The B&B owners, Linda and John came out to chat and inspect the bikes, and make the kind of small talk that makes the biker world go round.

We left at about 10 am. We followed a pretty route towards Ayr. The roads were mostly empty, and wound through small villages and forests on our way. The odd loch appeared to, and even though it drizzled from time to time, the ride was very pretty as we headed northwest and then turned more directly north near Ayr.

We dropped off our route just south of the Clyde for a small detour, near Bishopton, and rode to a small coffee shop, where we met our friend Brian. We had a coffee and a sandwich, and chatted for an hour or two, then got back on the road. We crossed over the Clyde on the Erskine bridge, and stopped soon thereafter for petrol. The traffic between Glasgow and Loch Lomond is always pretty busy, and today was no exception. In spite of the grim weather, the Scottish were out in force.

It did not take long to meet Loch Lomond, which reflected the odd bit of sky and sunlight to our right as we wound along the shore, passing the small villages alongside this famous loch. Soon enough we came to the sign for Luss, and turned right onto the loch-side, where we found our nights accommodation – the Loch Lomond Arms hotel. Still dry, we unloaded, and checked in to our room. A few quick logistical activities later, we set off for a stroll along the shore. We passed by some pretty houses, and few gift shops. Lena had an ice-cream, and we popped into the smoke house, where we bought some cheese and mussels.

Back at the hotel we had a couple of pints, and sat outside as the sun had appeared. We ate our smoked things, drank beer, and felt wonderful. We are now back in our room resting in preparation for dinner in half an hour. Who knows what culinary delights await us……

Day 4 – Loch Lomond to Lochgilphead – 84 miles

By yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes, where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond. The bonnie bonnie banks awaited us this morning, and boy, were they bonnie. We woke up without an alarm, packed up and then had our locally smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast. We walked the 5 minutes back down to the loch, and waited for our vessel to come collect us from the pier. The boat pulled up just before 10, and about 8 folk went on board – it was built for probably 40-50 folk, but it was the first sailing of the day, and a Monday morning, so we were not surprised to have a small tour.

We sailed for 90 minutes between some very pretty islands – we left Luss in a southerly direction, sailed as far as an Island called Inchcailloch where half the tour left to go for a walk and a picnic, to be collected later by the boat on a future trip. We continued our tour, and learned a lot of interesting facts about the loch.

One of the islands is successfully inhabited by wallabies. Yes, you read that right – the bouncy Australian marsupial. Much of the area has been owned by the Colquhoun for centuries – they built Luss as a workers town for people employed by the Laird. Pronounced Cahoon, they have owned much of the lands around Loch Lomond since the early 1300’s. One of the ladies of the clan visited Australia in the 1940’s, and brought back some wallabies, which were released on Inchconachan, one of the islands on the loch, and they have bred successfully since. So successfully, in fact, that they have to be culled from time to time to control the population.

We sailed past Balmaha, a small town very important to Scotlands identity. Balmaha marks the divide between the Highlands and the Lowlands of Scotland, and thus is forever noted as a key marker. We also were lucky enough to see an Osprey flying and landing near its nest.

Duly delivered back to Luss on the Lomond shore after an hour and a half, we walked back to the hotel to collect our belongings, ready the bikes and ourselves, and set off at midday for our next stage. We were heading for Lochgilphead today, but took a slightly longer route than necessary, because we had the time, and wanted to ride some pretty roads.

And pretty roads were indeed ridden. We hugged the side of Loch Lomond heading north. The sun came and went,  and there was a fair amount of traffic, but that didn’t diminish the joy of riding right alongside the water, along lovely forested, curving roads that are a motorbikers dream. We passed the northernmost end of the loch, and went through more pretty roads to Crianlarich. We stopped at Tyndrum, at a roadhouse that I have frequented before. The Green Welly cafe is well known in the area, and we had lunch here today.

Parking up, I pulled in next to a nicely customised Harley Switchback, a bike with which I was not familiar. It had a number of custom frills added to it, and looked great. We met the owner as we went into the cafe, and had a quick chat.


Lunch was soup and a meat pie (Cullen Skink, a smoked fish soup for Lena, and a veg soup for me). Suitably full, we set off again, riding towards Oban, but then turned left to ride down the side of Loch Awe towards our final stop of the day. A wonderful bikers road ran parallel with the lochside, and we stopped to get lovely views of a ruined castle on the loch – Castle Kilchurn.

Off again, we rode about 15 miles to Loch Fyne, and stopped the little town of Inverary on the loch, I have visited a few times before, and even been into the jail – now a museum – with Ben on our tour about 7 or 8 years ago. It is a very pretty town, and we parked the bikes on the waterside where we found a whole bunch of bikers, including the folk we met at the Green Welly.

We had a coffee and an ice cream, and then rode our last leg of about 20 miles or so to Lochgilphead. Another great biking road, I got a bit excited by the corners and left Lena a bit behind. I do encourage her not to ride beyond her comfort zone, she has to learn to ride safely, but I have a lot more experience and so I did open the throttle in a few places and ate up some delicious corners.

We got to our B&B just after 4:15 pm. Jim, our lovely host, welcomed us, showed us where to park our bikes and then gave us a quick briefing. We are just blogging up the day, and then are going to go for a walk and a bite to eat.

Another really wonderful day on the bikes, no rain, some sun, great roads, spectacular views, and pistachio ice cream. See you tomorrow.

Day 5 – Lochgilphead to Port Ellen – 20 miles

We had a fair curry last night at the local Chinese/Indian restaurant, and then I watched Liverpool beat Crystal Palace while my beautiful bride snored quietly alongside me. 2-0 is a decent result, and I fell asleep a happy man. We woke up before the alarm, and followed the daily routine. Breakfast served by Jim and Ele, our B&B hosts, and then we attended to bikes and baggage in the usual format. Drizzle accompanied the routine, but it stopped soon after we set off.

Today was planned as a 54 mile day, but the Satnav planner had taken into account the sea miles. In fact, we rode only 20 miles today, by far the shortest ride so far this trip.

Hugging Loch Gilp as we headed south, the road was sweet and slightly damp. An uneventful half hour passed until we found ourselves facing the small ferry port at Kennacraig, just south of Tarbert. We were checked in, and queued up to load onto the ferry. It was much larger than I was expecting, and in all probably 60-80 vehicles loaded up, including a number of large lorries, motorhomes, caravans and bunch of cars – plus 2 motorcycles (us).

The crossing was uneventful, and offered us views of Gigha and then Islay as we neared. We passed the time drinking coffee and reading and web’ing, and a couple of hours later got the call to return to our vehicles for disembarkation. We were one of the first to leave, and rode all of about 2 minutes to our next hotel, on Charlotte Street in Port Ellen. We dropped the bags, arranged a cab and a whisky tour, and then went to the local equivalent of a deli to grab a sandwich for lunch before our tour.

Carols Cabs collected us from the hotel, and we wended our way north, along the high road, for about half an hour. We arrived at Caol Ila distillery around 1335, and our tour was set to start at 1400. A lot of you know that I am a fan of single malt scotch whiskies, and many of you know that I am a lover of Islay malts. Some of you even know that my favourite is Caol Ila, so I was rather excited for this visit. We had a “cask whisky” tour booked, and our guide took me, Lena, 2 Swiss chaps and bloke from Los Angeles on a private tour of the distillery. It was fascinating, and I walked the hallowed halls of the origin of my favourite tipple with significant awe and respect.

The tour concluded in a small room, filled with barrels and a few tables, plus a few traditional accoutrements from the whisky world – some half-made casks, some barrel furniture and stencils, a number of weird instruments and more. There was a table with 5 glasses on it, and we were seated to listen to our guide explain the different whiskies we were about to taste.

We had 6 cask strength whiskies, all the product of Caol Ila. They started from an un-peated 15 year old, which was light and quite un-flavoured, and then worked our way through a succession of more flavoured whiskies until we peaked. The next was a young 6 year old, light, sharp and quite immature. The 12 year old was more in line with what I am used to, but it had a 61% alcohol content, and really warmed you on the way down. The peated 15 was heavenly, and the last of the whiskies that are commercially available and made in US bourbon casks. The last 2 we tried were in European casks, the first from Jerez. This was a dark colour, sweeter and smoother than any of the others. At 22 years old, it was selected from near the peak of its taste range – I loved it. The final whisky was a 30 year old from a Spanish cask – quite complex and a bit dry for my taste – but after 5 other whiskies, I was very happy.

Visiting Caol Ila is a big bucket-list tick. I shall be content with any other distillery tour I do (and we already have a Speyside distillery tour booked), but I think I have peaked.

The cab collected us – we were in a rather well-oiled state – and brought us back to the hotel to prepare for a local dinner, at the Sea Salt restaurant. I will possibly check in later, if not, see you tomorrow when we head back to the mainland – we have a ferry to Oban at lunchtime.


Day 6 – Port Ellen (Islay) to Oban – 23 miles

People in the city where I grew up say that you can have all 4 seasons in one day there. Well, on Islay, you can all 4 seasons in an hour. We woke around 7ish, and saw rain, wind, sunshine, calm, warmth, cold and the odd polar bear come and go. Well – maybe not the bears, but definitely everything else. The view from our room was lovely – straight over the bay – and some of the sunny views were stunning.

We had breakfast, and then slowly got ready – no rush, as the 4 seasons were favouring the winter/rain cycle. We had all of 22 miles to ride, from Port Ellen, which sits on the south of Islay, to Port Askaig, on the northeast side of the island. We finally set off about 1015, and stopped at Bowmore along the way to admire the sea and the small town centre. The rain came and went, and we were a bit damp by the time we got to the ferry port.

The crew set us to the front of the line to wait for the ferry to arrive, and when it did we were first to load. The crew let us go upstairs to settle in, while they strapped down the bikes. As you can imagine, bikes on a rolling ship could be unstable and potentially fall over, so they are strapped to anchor points in the floor to prevent such disaster.

After inspection, we chose  seats on the upper observation deck, and settled in for the 4 hour trip.

Shortly after we set off, we passed the Caol Ila distillery that we had visited yesterday, and it was lovely to get a couple of pictures from the sea. After that, the journey was pretty uneventful, and we had a nice lunch from the ships canteen along the way. I watched some Netflix and then an episode Dragons Den while Lena read her book.

Arriving in Oban in what almost could be classed as sunshine, we rolled off the ferry and sped all of about half a mile to our hotel. Parked up behind the hotel, we checked in, and went for a wander to explore and purchase a few supplies. On the way back, we walked up a steep set of roads and paths to visit the McCaig Tower that sits above the small town.

McCaig was a banker who wanted to memorialise his name, and so he designed and then had built this tower which resembles the Coliseum. Completed in 1902, the year of his death, it was also a project intended to give the local stonemasons work through the winters, which was a fallow time for them. Anyway, it is a large folly, and dominates the views from the town.

The tower provided some nice views across the bay and to other islands, and we made the right noises, took some photos and then walked back down the hill. On the way down we passed a house which had numerous practical art installations (mostly seating and walls that were covered in mosaics. There were also 2 interesting pieces of pairs of legs sticking out of the ground, with brightly coloured stockings and wellies on the feet. Odd.

We dropped our goods back at the hotel, and then had a walk which lead us to a local hostelry, the Oban Inn. We had a good pub meal (Salmon fillet for the fairer one, and a steak and ale pie for the less dainty one). A pint and a wee dram of Islays finest, and we find ourselves back at the hotel bloggifying for the delight of our thousands of followers. G’night all.

Day 7 – Oban to Kinloch Rannoch – 90 miles

Not the longest day in mileage terms, but by far the most technical of our biking days thus far. Beautiful views accompanied a significant share of small country roads – never un-tarred, but often not far off.

We woke up in Oban to a wet drizzle. I went off to find a pharmacy for my insect bite – my right forefinger has a rather spectacular purple knuckle on top of the first knuckle on the finger. It is itchy and uncomfortable – probably a midge bite, but possibly a spider or even a tiger – hard to tell. Anyway, having purchased the recommended ointment, I returned, and we had breakfast as usual.

Loaded and rolling in a sight drizzle, we encountered a lot of traffic as we tried to leave Oban. We had chosen a route which took us the same way that 80% of Scotland was using to attend the Argyllshire Gathering, the Oban annual Highland games. We crawled along until we finally escaped the kilted throngs, and then headed up into the hills.

I had selected “Thrills” as the setting on the SatNav when creating this route, and it did not disappoint. We took tiny, almost farm roads, through a beautiful valley. There was almost no traffic, and we oooh’d and aaah’d our way along, stopping regularly for photo’s or to catch our breath – the riding was low speed, but sometimes challenging as the roads were wet, steep, gravelled and sometimes pot-holed.

Our style of bikes – cruisers – are not the most nimble or elegant for this type of traverse, but we managed pretty well, without incident. We stopped to say hi to some Heelan Coo’s, which made Lena very happy. After an hour of windy wendy roads, passed along the west side of Loch Awe. We had been here a few days ago, on the opposite shore as we rode to Lochgilphead via Inverary. Not long after, we got onto the main road alongside the river Lochy. We had ridden in the opposite direction on this route, and stopped to skim stones on the river only on Monday, but it felt like weeks had passed.

The rain never quite set in as we rode. It threatened to get serious from time to time, but never broke out in full splendour – which we were grateful for. We stopped in Crianlarich for a decent pub lunch, and soon thereafter Sally SatNav took us off the main “A” road and back into the land of sheep tracks and woods. We road high above Loch Tay, under Ben Lawer, and it was magical. The scenery continued to take our breath away, the road wound along enjoyably, and we biked away happily.

We reach Loch Rannoch after 3pm. We were both in need of a tankful of petrol, and the satnav took us to a local mechanics garage. He was not a friendly or helpful fellow, and was not selling petrol anyway, so we will hve to find something tomorrow, as we were only a mile from our hotel and the nearest petrol is apparently 20miles away.

The hotel is in a splendid location, with views across the loch. It is a rather under-populated area, so pretty wild in all directions. The hotel itself was probably grand 80 years ago, but has long since past its glory, and is now slightly faded. I think they would like to welcome onluy those of the gentry or old money, but have to put up with hairy biker oiks like us.

We had a little walk down to the loch – it was pretty wild and windy, and threatened to rain, but we made it there and back pretty unscathed. I am now sat in the grand lounge, awaiting our call to dinner and sipping a drop of Scotlands finest. I will catch you later….