Saturday  Dateicon  17.6.2017  Tigericon  251km Total:2857km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  3.34km Total:147.14km

It'll be a little breezy on the bike 'tis morn and older gentleman said to me in the breakfast restaurant who had ridden a Triumph in his youth in the 40:s.
He wasn't kidding, when I woke up there was a constant whining noice from which I traced to the window which was a closed as it would ever be.
According to weatheronline the winds where 60-70kph along the north coast so manouvering the bike was a bit of a wrestling match but at least the rain was at a minimum.

The road to the first scenic route of the day B873 was almost as fun as the route, a real nice ride along the Naver lake on single track.
I don't expect to be the only vehicle on the road but when it's clearly signed single track, not suitable for caravans and every other vehicle is a medium to huge camper van it makes you wonder was goes in in peoples heads.
Yes, I do know there's a difference between a caravan and a camper van but with that logic there could have been lorries as well but they seem to have the good sense to stay clear.

A836 to Tounge and back in the NC500-route wasn't much worse and pretty much the whole day was a scenic route really.
Up in the north-western part almost every road was single track with so many curves and bends it's almost a caricature of how a road is supposed to be.
A tricky thing is that going over a hilltop where you see the road in the distance your mind draws a picture of how the road should look on the other side based on what you're seeing.
That picture is always completely wrong.

This combined with the possibly of car or a camper van appearing in the middle of the road on the other side of every hilltop means it never gets dull.
Apart from the weather, that just gets more and more bleak as the day goes on, as soon as the wind starts to die down the rain picks up.

I get lunch at Kylesku Hotel and take my time, the riding has been so good I'm way ahead of schedule and if I continue like this I'll be in Ullapool well before check-in at the hotel.
On the last stretch the rain just gets worse and worse and arriving in Ullapool it's just hammering down.

I hang back on the room for awhile to get my temperature back up before I go on a little sightseeing in the village ending at the local pub to get supper.
To my great surprise there actually was a gluten free burger on the menu so I order myself one.
It might have been the beer I had while waiting that made me think it was absolutely hilarious when I get a burger without buns.
It felt just at par with the Scottish no nonsense attitude and you just can't argue with that kind of logic, the air is as gluten free as it gets.
That a bagpipe-version of Journeys Don't stop believing was playing in the speakers just added to the comedy.

 

Somewhere on the B871 along the Naver

Along B873 by Loch Loyal

Castle Varrich
I could argue that I didn't want to leave the bike unattended for as long as that trek would take me but to be honest I was just to lazy to do it.

Somewhere along the north-western coast




Sunday  Dateicon  18.6.2017  Tigericon  523km Total:3380km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  3.89km Total:151.03km

Today would be a pretty short stint (I thought) as it was completely hopeless finding accommodation up here.
it's just 190kms to the next stay and with the weather being absolute crap even by Highlands standards they disappear pretty quick.
It's really great riding on mostly single track and the fact that the riding is so good makes the weather a lot more sufferable.
The last stretch along Loch Shieldaig is some of the finest riding I've done since getting to Scotland.
The fact that the ridings good and the constant rain means there aren't many stops and I'm at Hartfield House in Applecross around noon.

Way to early to check-in and since there's plenty of day left I decide to just unload the gear in reception and head out on the Isle of Skye.
Bealach na Bà, the road between A890 and Applecross (simply called Applecross) is one of if not the most famous bikers road in all of Great Britain.
It's pretty much the British Stelvio.
It's a single track mountain pass through some of the most scenic nature Scotland has to offer.
Since I rode this both from, to and then back over again the morning after I think I'm at least a bit qualified to give my thoughts on it and to be honest I wasn't really that impressed, at least not riding-wise.
It's the narrowest single track I've ridden in the Highlands and it is also the one with the most traffic which is a really terrible combo, it's basically a 20km chicken-race where you on the bike is destined to loose.
A bad day it's a chicken-race with little to no visibility on the mountain.
But if it's just pure adrenaline you're after this is definitely the place to go.

I stop at Sligachan Hotel on the Isle of Skye to get lunch.
Slowcooked Higland venison in an armchair by a crackling fire was just what the doctor ordered to recharge for the rest of todays ride.

The scenery was truly grand and the rain subsides to eventually stop completely which did wonders for my mood.
Actually I get in such a good mood I get the terrible idea to walk (or rather climb) all the way out on the cliffs of An Lethallt on the east coast.
It doesn't feel really stupid until I had to contemplate whether or not the bike gear would do me any good if any of the rams that looked pretty pissed that I had invaded their territory decided to hit me in the ding-dongs and put me over the side.
I almost regretted leaving the helmet on the bike.
But well in one piece out on the edge of the rock it was well worth both the effort and risk.

From here it isn't far to Quiraing Pass, a fantastic stretch of road that connect the two main roads on Skyes north eastern part.
Great ride, even if the rest of Skye had been boring (which it definitely isn't) it would have been worth it just go get to here.
I don't do many stops on the western part down, with todays route going from about 200 to 500kms I need to be getting back to my hotel.

That could have gotten a bit expensive.
Nearing Broadford a motorist is blinking with his headlights like crazy and in passing gives me a frenetic thumbs down.
I had just overtaken another car thus crossing into his lane so I just assumed he was critiquing my style but I thought it was a bit weird because I though that pass was completely by the book.
I've never seen a thumbs down to indicate a police checkpoint but that was obviously what he meant because as soon as I crossed the city line, there they where.
Even with the db-killer installed the exhaust is pretty load so acceleration and decelerations are rather obvious.
When I let go of the throttle and it sound like Braaaaaaaaaap you really don't need to be a genius to come to the conclusion that a there has just been a great reduction in speed.
It was just lucky for me they didn't have the laser up and had a sense of humour since they where both laughing at me as I went past, that one's on me.

When I get to Applecross for the second time the rain has picked up again, it's worse than ever and it's gotten really cold.
That same weather phenomenon has probably also contributed to the pea-soup fog up on the mountain, I'm riding around in a white foggy blur and at its worst I guess I had about 10m visibility in front of the bike and with the visor fogging up I probably had 10m visibility in 10 percent of my field of vision.
Luckily there weren't many others stupid enough to do this in these conditions because I almost shat myself every time a car appeared out of the fog.

It was total bliss arriving at the hotel even though in reality it was a pretty poorly insulated hostel, at least there was a shower and a bed.

 

The west coast below Ullapool

West coast near Applecross, some of the best riding I've ever done

Applecross, Highland cattle

Bealach na Bà, Applecross pass with the bay and the Island of Raasay in the background


Skye

Cliffs of An Lethallt



Don't mind me


Quaring Pass

It wasn't just the lack of visibility that made the ride back across Applecross exciting, there where also a flock of stags on the road which I just barely managed to get on camera

This picture makes it look a lot better than it was, or at least as it felt

Monday  Dateicon  19.6.2017  Tigericon  301km Total:3681km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  4.19km Total:155.22km

I've messed up my route somewhat by doing Skye yesterday but I'm glad I did because today the weather is extremely... Scottish.
The third time across Applecross wasn't much more fun than the other two times but I guess that's a bit colored by the former stated.

I head straight east towards Loch Ness and the riding isn't either inspiring or scenic but at least the pace have picked up considerably with it being two lanes.
Since there isn't much to write about the riding I can instead take some time to write abit about the signs posted at the side of the road.

E.g. they have large LED-signs by the roadside at alot of places where there's probably meant to be current road condicions but when there isn't anything in particular to write they use them to make other motorists aware of motorcycles.
For example: Allow motorcycles to pass safely, Look once, look twice, think bike and Look in your rear view for motorbikes.
I can't remember any time in history when the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) did anything for motorcyclists accept accuse them of reckless riding and speeding.
I'm impressed.
(A couple of days later I saw a reality show on tv where the stats for accidents in Britain was that bikers are 17% of casualties even though they're only 1% of the motorists.
The same numbers for Sweden is that we're 7% of the motorists and 1% of the casualties.
The unfortunately conclusion of that must be that for the Swedish Transport Administration to take biker safety seriously more of us have to die.)

Also on the single track roads there's a notice from the police to not hinder traffic and use the passing lanes to allow overtaking.
Another more humorous aspect of the signs is that all the signs for places that ends with ferry end with (no ferry).
I think it's so hysterically funny I almost run of the road every time I see it, I mean who the hell drives down somewhere to look for a ferry if you don't know beforehand that it's there and where it takes you?
Is there really a need for that kind of information?
A similar use for additional info on signs might be on the Swedish Moderate (conservative right) party who call them selves the "New Swedish workers party" might add (not a workers party) on their posters.

Just as I turn onto the A87 I spot a castle just beside the road that I can't resist taking a closer look at.
I turns out to be Eilean Donan Castle, a picturesque little (as castles go) castle from the 1200:s.
Self declared as the most photographed castle in Scotland.
It was well worth a visit so not to diminish the castle as such but I do think the location might help.

I get lunch at McD:s in Fort William (no fort haha) and I don't linger because I involuntarily get accompanied at my table by an Indian family among which was an old spinster who spent the whole of my dinner vomiting loudly in her own mouth.
I already had a bit of a migraine coming on with the accompanying nausea so it certainly didn't do any wonders for my appetite.
I take a dose of medicine and ride on.
I arrive early at check-in at the Onich Hotel but I spend the wait in the hotel pub drinking tea so it wasn't bad.

I get my room at 3PM and immediately commence operation dry.
Considering my choice in hair style it might come as a surprise that I'm always overjoyed to find a blow-dryer in my hotel rooms but that is a bikers best friend.
My riding shoes are completely drenched as per usual and I haven't had any feeling in my feet since sometime this morning.

A change of socks and a pair of dried shoes later and everything seems all the brighter, not only has the meds killed off the migraine, the clouds have dissipated and the sun has come out.
I haven't seen a sky this blue for at least a week!
I can't resist getting back on the bike and head of to something I hade originally planned for tomorrow, Skyfall road.

A road in the Glen Etive valley, an area so scenic that apart from being in the Bondfilm Skyfall it's also been the location for scenes in Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes and to no ones surprise: Braveheart.
Oh my god what beautiful scenery and the riding is mind-blowingly amazing.
Even though it's single track there isn't much traffic considering how well know the road should and the traffic there is drive sensibly and with respect.
That the sun is shining from a clear blue sky probably adds to the experience more than a little but this riding was almost spiritual, those people who only drive/ride to the Skyfall-location to snap a picture and then head back to the main road are missing out big time.
I literally ride to the end of the road before I turn around and head back because I wouldn't want to miss out on a single meter of the ride.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time on the Skyfall selfie going back and I'm not ashamed to say I probably wasted half an hour waiting for just the right moment running back and forth to the camera with a max delay on the shutter of 10 seconds.
I don't do selfies very often but when I do I'm in the major leagues, it must have been absolutely hilarious for any onlookers.

 


Applecross. Third time's the charm?

Eilean Donan Castle (no photography allowed)
Fun fact: The castle has amongst other things been the MI6's Scottish headquarters in the Bondfilm The world is not enough (with a few extra antennas) and as home for the clan MacLeod in the movie Highlander.





Loch Ness. Yes it's just a lake and no, I didn't see the monster

Glen Etive, mind-bogglingly beautiful



Skyfall, Glen Etive. Here's what I tried my best to copy

Glencoe