not so many pictures of me as using tripod for self timer in those winds a bit scary

 and I want to go back soon


scotland sign.jpg (141777 bytes)


It is often said a journey is not so much the travelling but the people you meet on the road, and this was definitely the case with this trip. But some of the roads we travelled on are certainly worthy of note.

The germ of an idea started at the Christmas meal last year, “let’s do LeJog” suggested Paul, and soon just a week in Scotland was decided on.

The first details sent out in March, and with deposits paid, I treated myself to a Harley Davidson Roadking for the journey. Twelve other people signed up for the trip and so we were 13 with 12 bikes, this was

famous schooner alnmouth.jpg (105151 bytes) top of hill.jpg (58601 bytes)just about to get wet.jpg (39200 bytes)

In July I became ill, just given the all clear to ride days before the trip started and at the last few minutes we lost one bike and Tony got bitten by a dog, so now we were 13 with 10 bikes and one car. Russell and I had volunteered our pillion seats so that Judy could still come along.

long road black and white.jpg (49039 bytes)loch tarff black and white.jpg (50995 bytes)

In time-honoured manner Dave and I got lost looking for the first hotel on the Friday night, which I had booked. And met up with Russ and Judy and so we were 4. We awoke to frost and it was nippy to say the least.

The bikes were an eclectic mix of Yamaha Cruisers (well it is the VSOC after all) BMW off roaders, Honda rice rockets and myself on the Roadking.  

loch tarff look away.jpg (62284 bytes)loch tarff close up.jpg (63364 bytes)

Saturday and we all met up with some of the others and now we were 9 and bimbled up the motorway (past a BMW C1 with passenger a weird sight to say the least) to Alnmouth, which is on the stunning Northumberland cost, an area I really want to go back and explore, and “The Famous Schooner Inn” where the others were already ensconced woo hoo now we are 13.

The Famous Schooner is allegedly one of the most haunted hotels in the UK, and a deathly silence ensued as this motley bunch of southerners entered. 

 waterfall.jpg (120643 bytes)

Alcohol immediately was thrust into my hand, which was just as well as the service behind the bar, was so slow  I then lugged my gear to the legendary room 10

. john o groats.jpg (87386 bytes)long way home.jpg (85882 bytes)howling gale.jpg (71984 bytes)

Fed watered and after a few of us wander to the beach we retired early to our room, for a restless night, not ghosts and apparitions but someone’s snoring and bad bedsprings.  

Prior to our departure the next morning I shot to see Ainwick Castle, now famous for the Harry Potter films, then back and off with the others to Scotland.  And with but a few stops for coffee, pictures and just because we could. Having ridden some of the prettiest and best roads I have ever ridden upon we reached the Whitebridge Hotel, a hundred year old hotel, situated on the site of an old kings house, bikes tucked into the garage the serious decision of planning the week, food and drink began.

The two big decisions, the Fort William to Mallaig train journey (the one they used in Harry Potter with steam train) would be on Tuesday, from no on to be called Choo Choo Tuesday. John O Groats was then planned for Wednesday. The other days we left to do as we with please.

  loch tarff.jpg (56400 bytes)

Monday morning and a mellow start to the day, the rest of the mad fools decided to go on a walk, rats to that Paul and I took a gentle rumble around the Loch, getting somewhat damp in the process it was a pleasant 60 mile trip. Returning back early afternoon, the afternoon was then spent propping up the bar, chatting to an Australian barmaid, life can be hard sometimes . Eventually the others returned with Christine rechristened Mrs Clumsy for falling down the hills.

Tuesday I felt a little more fragile than I should, but not as fragile as Judy who opted out of the day, but as I had already blagged a space in the car we headed off at high speed for the train, with the bikes following. With seconds to spare we found the station but missed the train. However it was then found to have been fully booked, but the normal train left in an hour at a 3rd of the price, result.

After coffees we spent a pleasant few hours taking picture from the train and filling in questionaires  for scotrail. Typically in Mallaig we headed to the pub, which had the worse barmaid and beer selection ever,  then we split to various eateries and shops. We even found a  new headlamp bulb for Bobs bike.

Returning home, most stopped off for a curry, but I went back to have a rest, a pizza and chat up local girls who wore wellies and stabbed boyfriends!!

It has to be said that the characters in the bar were just that, mainly a collection of old soaks and assorted alcoholics, but never the less interesting, on asking one local how they coped with the single track roads in the winter, when covered in snow the reply being “sometime your on the road, sometime your not”

they were all very friendly. The one “biker” I met did less miles per year than I was to do in a week.

Anyway I digress and so back to whatever plot I may have, and the trip to John O Groats, all saddled up and raring to go, suddenly I found I had a passenger as Mrs Clumsies foot was still too sore to ride.

The A9 was a fab road, smooth with nice bends, the detour round a crash was interesting, with the worlds longest funeral courtege coming the other way. But we reached John O Groats at lunch time exactley 900 miles from home. Photographs taken, we headed off for lunch in the gathering gloom to find everywhere closed, we eventually found cheesey chips at Thurso and headed back enthusiastically to say the least.

With everyone heading off to the Isle of Skye the next day, I went out to take nice pictures, and tempted fate by washing down the bike.  I got wet very wet.  also while having coffee in a local hotel, I met a crazed Scotsman In full kilt etc  who hiked hills fueled by scotch and bounty bars, and had only even ventured out of Scotland once.

I ventured back to the hotel, and sat in the bar for far too long .

Our last day in Scotland most of us had  muzzy heads, the weather was a mixed bag, occassional rain and blowing a gale, as we headed down through Glen Coe ( which must be nice in good weather) to Russells Daughters House not far from the English border. Part way there we split into 2 groups with only myself, Paul, Mrs Clumsy and Russ heading down to Russes Daughter.

Following a nice cuppa and a Scottish Tea I had a pillion again ( in the shape of Judy) and we blasted off to meet the others. A beautiful run until sadly 15 miles from our destination in Longtown, Mrs Clumsy dropped her bike at speed, thankfully Chris was OK but the bike had to come home by trailer.

  graham hotel.jpg (56183 bytes)

A more subdued evening and the next day we seperated into separate groups for the long drag home.

In total 1760 miles for myself, and one of the best weeks ever, many thanks to Paul and Christine for organising it all…

Now where to next year?

P9240071.JPG (465851 bytes)