Away from Glencoe and out to the west, well the furthest westerly point of Great Britain (the island of). Slow roads on slow bikes, the ideal combination
The Red Squirrel campsite looks little better in the morning that it does in the evening. It wasn’t raining. You could see the tops, but the friendly midge was there waiting for you (or more specifically your blood). In part, this may explain why the guy in the tent next to us decided to have a can of Stella for breakfast.
Anyway, damp tent stowed on bike a brew of coffee with the working stove [Roger fixed the plunger on my MSR Dragonfly with the handy expediant of the lock wire pliers. His own MSR Whisperlite seemed to have the wrong pump in that the connecting fuel line bore is too small. Also the seemingly knowledgeable guy in [Field and Trek Guildford provided meths as fuel. Coleman white gas or petrol maybe, but meths no. We tried it]]. Packed up the kit, which seems to take a while as you have to balance everything on the bike as before.
Short trip down to Glencoe Village and the petrol station, where after filling up we watched a guy with a very nice new Jag (an XF?) put a screw into the tyre next to air machine. Then next door to the cafe come craft shop for an excellent cooked breakfast, where another group of Newcastle bikers were already enjoying breakfast. Good set of bikes including a Kawazaki Z1 and a Yam RD350 YPVS and they’d done some mileage over the weekend.
Off from the cafe and over Ballachulish Bridge and to Corran Ferry. Not long to wait, though Rog’s XL didn’t want to start when the ferry pulled in. Maybe it doesn’t like it in the sunshine and a nice swathe of blue sky appeared over Loch Leven. A push start from an onlooker got him onto the ferry and a push from both of us up the slipway got him off. The immediate threat of the plug spanner outside the Ardgour Inn seemed to convince the XL to fire up.
Off round past the looming peaks of Garbh Wen [[Which many years ago myself, Helen, Pete Francis and Steve West had completed the circuit of, which inclduded watching otters up by the high lochans]] and down the excellent road to Strontian. From there on it was single track through the Sunart oak woods up to Salen. Quick decision and we headed out through Ardnamurchan along by the loch to Glenborrodale, before heading out across the mountain and round to Knockan. There is a ferry to Tobermory on Mull to here and would be worth checking out for future trips. The last 6 miles out to the lighthouse were more single track, sharp bends (with gravel), slippery (on my tyres) cattle grids and blind ummits.
Got to the lighthouse and it started raining. Its an impressive spot for the most westerly point of Great Britain (geographically correct in terms of the point and the naming on the island) and unlike Lands End doesn’t suffer from lots of commercialisation. We put the cover up between the bikes and the combination of the air blowing through the hot engines of the bikes and the stove cranked up made it all very pleasant. The soup was excellent too.
The journey back to Salen was pleasant and no shorter than on the way out (its about 30 miles out from Salen to Ardnamurchan Point). On the the loop road through Moidart to Lochailort, with the last 6 miles back on faster sweeping dual-laned road around the loch. Great piece of road, with woods on one side and the loch on the other. Across Piper’s Burn (a famous group of sections on the Scottish Six Day Trial ) and up to the Fort William -> Mallaig road.
Roger got some shopping in Arisaig whilst I got in touch with Matt who was riding done through Glencoe at the time. A quick check on the Tourist Information board located a suitable campsite nearby, Invercambie. A great spot next to a sandy beach and bay. Not too busy either and put the tents up with no rain. Managed to dry things out, as the sleeping bag, tent and mat all soaked.
Matt and the Pan European swept in around 18h00. Set about making coffee and then some dinner (meatballs, steak stew and mushrooms with brown rice) whilst Matt put up something that looked more like a garage for the Pan rather than a tent. As darkness settled in, we adjorned to the hotel a short walk up the road for a drink. Matt had done around 490 miles in around 8 hours, with a break in Stirling on the way up. What the Pan was built for. Roger and I only about 120 miles, but around 85 or more of those miles were on single track, probably what our bikes were more suited for.
Off to Mallaig and Skye tomorrow as we head out to the Isles.