Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winton Massif - Outer Limits Tour

Back in 2010 the Massif set of on a tour of the Outer Hebrides, doing a wee bit of the mainland as well.
GHC and I had decided to set off a night earlier than everyone else and I had arranged to meet up with him at Ballater. He'd sent me a text saying it had been a wee bit chilly on the way up. It was fucking absolutely freezing, so I put my waterproofs on to keep the wind chill down a wee bit.

Photo by Bobby Fraser

Photo by Bobby Fraser

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hdr at the table

I chucked the tent up and we headed into Ballater for some food and a few beers. We ended up in a pub and had a few games of pool and GHC gave the locals some football related abuse.


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Telt ye it was freezing. there's still a wee bit snow.


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GHC giving the jukebox the sticker treatment.


The next day I cooked up some breakfast while GHC scanned Bike Trader for any potential bargains. Black pudding and bacon rolls. Braw. meanwhile the rest of the Massif were hitting the road heading for that night's destination, Lybster. HB is from Lybster so we met up with her Dad, Malcolm for a few drams. We'd arranged to camp on the Notty field down by the harbour.  Notty is a game similar to shinty but played with bits of 2x4 and a piece of cork. the grass was pretty long which made it nice and comfy in the tents.

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yum


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Whit can I buy?


Photo by Skullwull
Andy, Bert and Aaron at Ballenluig


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The Winton Massif taking over Waterlines Cafe, Lybster.


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Bob gettin his pipe on.


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Tron.


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Bert's a happy camper

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Camping at Lybster



We had a nice meal in the Portland Arms at the top of Lybster before we headed to the Bayview for a few beers. HB and Kirst were up so they joined us along with Malcolm, Zul and the rest of the Lybster crew.

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In the Portland


Me and Malcom.
Me and Malcolm


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Bert and GHC


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Stevie, who owned the Bayview.

Photo by Ben P.
Pole dancin'.


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Winton Massif in the Bayview, Lybster.
The Winton Massif









Lybster

The next day we got up a bit worse for wear and headed down to Malcolm's where we met up with Ferg. Liam had joined us the night before and along with Tom, HB's brother, fixed Ferg's pannier which had a wee hole in it due to touching on his exhaust. After doing that and getting some scran we headed along the North Coast Road to Scourie where we were camping that night. The North Coast Road is one of the best, really scenic, sometimes dual and sometimes singletrack. We arrived in Scourie and got our tents up just as the rain started. Well most of us did. Aaron opted to hit the pub so he had to put his up in the pishing rain. We had a bite to eat in the wee pub beside the campsite while Aaron was sorting himself out then we headed along for a few beers and games of pool in the Scourie Hotel.

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At Tongue


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Ben trying to take Ferg's sexy crown.


We woke up in Scourie to good weather and another awesome run. Tonight's destination was Ullapool where we were staying in the Youth Hostel. Today's road was the fast, open road that gives great view's of the Assynt and Cogaich hills. The weather was nice all day so we all stopped a few times for photos.

GS

Route Captain 2010
Faithir.


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Ferg

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Stac Pollaidh

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Me, Ben and Faithir were farting about and this guy insisted on taking our photo for us.


Photo by Ben P.

Photo by Ben P.
Proof I actually ride my bike and don't just take photos of it. Photo by Ben.


Ullapool is a great wee town to visit. I've been going there since I was wee and I still enjoy being there. We got a curry and visited a few of the Pubs before hitting the sack in the Hostel. 
I tell you what, that room was fucking ripe the next again day. A room full of Winton Massif does not equal a nice refreshing smell to wake up to. We fucking stank.
After breakfast we said our goodbyes to Liam, Aaron and Bert who were heading home and loaded our bikes onto the ferry to the Isle of Lewis. This was the first time on the Outer Hebrides for most of us and the views from the ferry were stunning! Just look at the photo of Ben and Bob with their 3D glasses.

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Ullapool Youth Hostel

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Bob keepin' it real.

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Bobby and Bob


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Ben's T shirt is pretty honest.

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Morning has broken.

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Waiting for the ferry at Ullapool.

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The Ferry

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The Massif


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Ullapool


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The Winton Massif on the ferry.
Winton Massif

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Photo by Bobby Fraser
Stunning views. Photo by GHC

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Stunning views.

Photo by Ben P.
I've seen better views this time.

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Back in range.
That'll be us coming back into range of a phone mast then.



Lewis is an amazing place to visit. We got to our campsite at Laxdale, just outside Stornoway and set out tents and stuff up. We went into Stornoway to get some supplies and some proper Stornoway Black Pudding (fuck that Charlie Barley shite as the locals said) before going out to explore the island. There's loads and loads of things to see and do on Lewis and Harris but we only had one night there. We still managed to look at the Butt of Lewis, (hohoho) check out the Callanish Stones and visit the Black House museum. The weather was awesome as were the roads. Some of them were really long and straight but limited to 40mph due to the drives from houses that open onto the road but the views were always nice.

Photo by Ben P.
Camping on Lewis.


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GHC arriving at the Butt Of Lewis.


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Butt of Lewis.
Stevenson Lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis.


Photo by Skullwull
Photo by Faithir


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GHC up the Butt of Lewis


Black House, Lewis.
The Blackhouse Museum. The houses were called Blackhouses because they had open peat fires in the middle of the room. Tiny windows and doors combined with the smoke gave the inside of the house a pretty black colour.


Fire in the Black House on Lewis.
Me, Ferg and Ben in the Blackhouse.


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Buttview. Chortle.


Photo by Bobby Fraser
Photo by Bobby Fraser
Photo by Bobby Fraser
The Callanish Stones. Photos by GHC

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The Callanish Stones. I fucking nearly spewed my ring here when Ferg chased me around the stones with a giant snotter her houked from his sizable beak. I'm still traumatised by the event.


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We even visited this ancient mill. But it couldn't take my mind off Ferg's horrible bogie.



After Lewis we headed down through Harris to get the ferry to Berneray at the top of the Uists. Harris is much more hilly than Lewis but we couldn't see much due to a thick fog that cleared as we got to the ferry terminal.

Photo by Bobby Fraser
Harris beach. Photo by GHC


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XT belting doon Harris.


Harris views


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Primula cheese and Ritz crackers. A Winton Massif favourite.


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Ferry at Harris.

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Ferry to Berneray

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Views from the ferry.


On Berneray we stayed at an old Blackhouse that had been converted into a Hostel. We camped outside the hostel and Faithir and GHC gathered some mussels from a frame on the beach that I cooked up in two massive cauldrons with some white wine, cream, garlic and onions. We made enough to feed everyone that was staying in and around the hostel!

Photo by Bobby Fraser
Arriving at Berneray Hostel. Photo by GHC


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Old abandoned Blackhouse.

Camping at the Black House Hostel, Berneray.
The Massif at Berneray Hostel.


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Inside the Hostel


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Photo by Bobby Fraser
Mussels!


From Berneray we headed down the Uists crossing a few causeways to get the ferry from Eriskay to Barra. We were staying at Barra hostel in Castlebay that night. Castlebay got it's name from Kisimul Castle which sits in the middle of the bay.
We dropped out stuff at the hostel then went for a wee look about. Only really has one road around it thats twelve miles long as the island is pretty small. You can cross over to Vatersay, the neighbouring island via a small causeway too. While we were on Vatersay we had a look at the remains from a crashed Catalina Flying boat killing three of the nine men on board. When you see the wreckage its surprising anyone survived at all. There is a monument to the crew beside the wreckage.
On Barra we also saw the plane coming in at Barra airport. Its quite unique as the Airport's runway is the beach!

Photo by Skullwull
One of the causeways on the Uists. Look at the signpost. Photo by Faithir



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Waiting for the ferry to Barra on Eriskay.
On Eriskay waiting on the ferry to Barra.


GHC and Faithir.
GHC and Faithir


Castlebay, Barra
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Castlebay, Barra.


Dunard Hostel, Barra
The bikes at Dunard Hotel, Barra.


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Catalinia War Grave on Vatersay

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Catalinia War Grave on Vatersay

Catalinia War Grave on Vatersay
The Catalina.


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Barra Airport, aye, the beach.
Barra Airport.



After exploring the rest of the Island we headed back round to the Hostel and got ready to head out to Cafe Kisimul, Barra's Indian Restraunt, where I tried some of their ace Scallop Pakoras along with a curry and a few beers.


Sign to Castlebay, Barra.

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Cafe Kisimul

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Scallop Pakora


The next day we had two ferrys to catch. One from Barra back to the Uists where we took another ferry from Lochmaddy on South Uist to Uig on Skye. So we were up relatively early for breakfast in the Hostel then on to the ferry where I seen a bunch of guys who were touring the Outer Hebrides on their little bikes. To save money on the ferry crossings they were loading their bikes onto a van and taking that over, a good idea.
We arrived in Uig and headed to Applecross, one of the Massif's favorite places. Ghc, Bob, Ferg and I stopped in Kyle of Lochalsh for a chippy before an absolutely incredible ride through the Cullins on Skye then on to the Bealach Na Ba, the road over to Applecross. The whole ride was accompanied by amazing weather and awesome light from the setting sun. It really was one of the best bike rides I've ever had.

Barra Hostel.
XT and GS


Photo by Skullwull
Photo by Faithir.


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Last view of Barra.

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Photo by Skullwull
Keeping ourselves entertained at Lochmaddy. Do you get it?


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At the Bealach Na Ba


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Bob on the Bealach Na Ba


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The sharp eyed will recognise this.


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Ferg at the top of the Bealach Na Ba looking over to Raasay and Skye.

Photo by Bobby Fraser
Photo by GHC


Ferg really flew up the Bealach Na Ba kicking arse with his motocross skills. On the way down however he completely cooked this brakes and nearly ended up as part of the scenery! His arse was going like a rabbits nose for sure.
On the way into Applecross we seen loads of deer and took loads of photos. As I said before, it was a ride of a lifetime.

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Ferg's corner on the Bealach na Ba
Ferg nearly went off here.


GS on the bealach na ba


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Deer at Applecross

Photo by Bobby Fraser

Photo by Bobby Fraser

Photo by Bobby Fraser
Photo by GHC


Regular readers to my Blog will have seen plenty photos of Applecross. I think everyone that visits there will always take plenty photographs no matter how often they go. We stayed for two nights, farting around the campsite checking out the bikes and other vehicles folk had travelled to Applecross on. We done some fishing, had a look around and generally chilled out. When it was time to head home we stopped into the Waterside Cafe in Lochcarron for the infamous Challenge Breakfast before saying our goodbyes to Ferg at Garve and headed home.


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Faithir managed to cast his entire rod into the sea.


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The Winton Massif at Applecross.


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Ben opted for a normal sized breakfast


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The rest of us took the Challenge.


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Done.


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Photo by Ben P.
Photo by Ben.



Epic trip.






P1000880
 In memory of Bobby "GHC" Fraser.