What to do with two old(ish) bikes, limited time and a (hopefully retained) sense of humour.
Ok, so we cheated, but so did Ewan and Charley.
I picked up Rog and Amelia in Guildford around 07h30 and loaded the van with the bikes and headed north. Cruising north via the M40, M6, and then M74 into Scotlmeant that we were leaving work and the previous week behind and heading off to do somehing different.
The bikes are my 1987 Honda Transalp and Roger’s 1985 Honda XL600, both ebay purchases and both a little long in the tooth. But at 700 and 550 quid respectively its proof that you don’t need the latest BMW to get in a road trip. Ok, so our hastily planned trip to the Western Isles of Scotland isn’t exactly following the Road of Bones or typing ‘Cape Town’ into the Sat Nav, but everything is relative; we’ve got a week, not 3 months.
Got to Perth and unshipped the bikes (and Amelia) and started loading up ready for an initial jaunt across the A85 to Cranlarich with the aim of getting to one of the Glencoe campsites. Looking at Rog’s XL, is was becoming puzzling on where exactly he would sitting, but with the flourish of nimble Olympic gymnast his managed to sit on the bike, facing the right way.
It wasn’t raining, it wasn’t too cold and it was a good opportunity to give the bikes an 80-mile settling in run. By Cranlarich it was raining and as we moved through Tyndrun, the cloud came down to meet us. The Transalp was suffering in the handling department, probably due to the weight on 21 year old forks and shocks, making the steering a bit vague in the corners.
The 15 miles across Rannoch Moor were memorable for the cloud and rain and will only a brief glimpse down into Glen Etive there was no sign of Buchaille Etive Mor or the other peaks at the entrance to Glencoe. Down into the murky glen, where the mountain rescue were out and it stopped raining.
Passed the Clachaig Inn and to the Red Squirrel campsite, aka Midge Central. It took all of 30 seconds from stopping the bikes for the Scotland’s best known insect to descend whilst we put up the tents. There is a very good reason why Glencoe always gets a 5/5 on the Midge Forecast . Tents up and some protection from midges and rain, Roger and I walked back to the Clachaig for some food and excellent beer (recommend the heather beer) and some good conversation with other visitors to the Glen. By the time we walked back, the weather had cleared and a full moon guided our way back to the road and the tents.
Matt Booth should be joining us tomorrow, somewhere up by Mallaig. We’ll look to head out to Moidart and the Ardnamurchan peninsular (most westerly point of mainland UK) before meeting up with him.