Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steven fucking Spielberg

Since my trip up North the weather here has been shite. Couple that with being skint after the trip and it means that I've not been up to much. Project Pugsley will take a few months to get going and the C90 is still needing fixed, but hopefully I'll be able to post up some updates on both fronts soon. I've edited the footage from up north I got on the gopro into two films, which ones is best?

The pushbike has been going ok. On One eventually sorted me out with new Shimano SLX cranks so I sorted out a cycle with some mates and some folks of the Trail Scotland site. It had been pishing down for ages and the Tyne had burst its banks so we were in for a super wet cycle. Check out the depth of the water we go through in the video! The weather did brighten up for a wee bit more recently so I've been out a few times with the Winton Massif Cycling Division. The sun was shining, but the trails were muddy as fuck. So armed with a rear mudguard oot I went. Here's the videos.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Winton Massif 2011 Sloppy Seconds Tour.

Every year a bunch of us do a tour of Scotland on our motorbikes, hitting some good roads, good campsites and seeing some of the best scenery in the world. This year we followed a similar route to the first trip six years ago with Aidan, Andy, Ben and Faithir joining me on the trip. I dunno why we called it the Sloppy Seconds tour, GHC thought it up, but he couldn't make the trip as he was heading over to Austria on his RT.

Day 1
Ben and I headed for Ullapool. Faithir was all ready up there as he'd left a few days earlier on his auld GS. The run up was good, but wet. Ben and I were both soaked by the rain which was pishing doon good style. It brightened up after Inverness though and we had an awesome run along the road to Ullapool. We chucked the tents up, got some beer in us then headed along for a chippy and a few pints in the Seaforth where we were joined by Mick, a guy from the campsite who was up on his Harley. We had a good blether about bikes and tents and then we were joined by two Swedish wifeys looking for some info on the North West of Scotland. Around this time Mick's Stella kicked in and he became fucked out his heid, telling our fluent English speaking Swedish guests "YOU NO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE SAY!" then asking whether or not they have swearing in their country and trying to establish their relationship status while offering a tour of his tent. Comedy!
Ullapool campsite.
We didn't modify the sign, but we might have added a sticker.

Plaice and chips
Plaice and chips and a can of Bru. Yummy!

Ullapool harbour.

The Seaforth, Ullapool.
Mick, Faithir and Ben in the Seaforth.

Ullapool views
A wee yacht heading towards the Summer Isle.

Day 2
I woke up feeling grand to the sound of Ben spewing his ring. Lovely. We didn't have many miles to do today, with the next stop being Achiltibuie. This is one of my favourite parts of Scotland, when I win the lottery I'll definitely try and buy a house up here. Achiltibuie itself is a wee village on the Coigach ovelooking the Summer Isles. We stayed on the new campsite at Altandhu, the Port A Bhaigh campsite just down from the Am Furan Bar. Both the pub and the campsites are a must if you ever visit Scotland. The facilities are good, with clean toilets and showers and free wi-fi internet. The weather was really good, nice and warm so I took the GS along to Polbain Stores on a beer run and we sat in the sun chilling out. Later on Faithir shouted me tea in the Furan, I had some nice soup and some amazing local dived Scallops, just adding to the awesomeness of the area. Before tea we had a few beers on the wee wooden balcony overlooking the campsite and Andy arrived on his GS.
Ullapool campsite
Ben and his morning sickness.

Breakfast at ullapool
Breakfast at Ullapool

GS, Triumph and Stac Pollaidh
My GS and Ben's Trumpet with Stac Pollaidh in the background.

Altandhu campsite
Port A Bhaigh Campsite.

Altandhu campsite
Port A Bhaigh Campsite.

Altandhu campsite
Port A Bhaigh Campsite from the Furan.

white trash

Beer run.

Day 3
Today Ben and Faithir headed home while Andy and I headed north to Durness. The roads from Achiltibue to Durness are mostly single track roads, and offer some really dramatic scenery, especially if you follow the coast road via Drumbeg. I got plenty helmetcam footage on the Gopro which I'll upload once I've edited it together. The road goes through Lochinver, home of the famous Lochinver Pie Shop. Andy decided to sit in and have a meal, while I got my pie take away and headed on up the road. I arrived at Durness and got some petrol in the bike before heading to the campsite. Fuel was £1.51 per litre! Fucking daylight robbery! I spoke to a local guy who worked in the shop, telling him that I'd heard that places in the far north might be getting government subsidised fuel, but he says that they have been on about it for ages and he thinks it'll never happen. Its a major expense for people living there, especially as folk rely heavily on their vehicles as the area is very remote and there is not much public transport.
I headed to Sango Sands campsite, quite a big site overlooking two really nice sandy beaches. I found a spot with enough room for a few tents, pitched up and sat down to eat my pie and read my book. A wee while later Andy rolled in and a wee while after that Aidan joined us. Aidan had made good time coming up from East Lothian to Durness on Dignity, his Kawasaki ER5. Aidan really enjoyed the run to Durness from Lairg, a fast, single track road. He'd even kitted Dignity out with GPS, the flash bastard that he is. 
We went to the shop for supplies then Aidan and Andy went for a meal in the local pub. As it was a nice night, and Andy was grooming Aidan, I opted for a take away and ate up at the tent reading more of my book. Once the happy couple were finished we headed down the beach with a few beers for a fire. Its a good job we had bought some logs as there was zero drift wood and as the sun set wee seen a wee Puffin and Aidan and I showed Andy the Dance of the Flaming Arsehole. The idea is you hold some rolled up newspaper between your arse cheeks and set it on fire. the winner is the person that holds the paper in their arse for the longest. A quality campfire game!
Andy on the cogaich
Andy looking at the Coigach/Assynt Mountains

GS on the way to Drumbeg
Road to Drumbeg.

GS on the way to Drumbeg
Road to Drumbeg.

Drumbeg road pano
Road to Drumbeg.

lochinver pie
Gid pie and a gid book.

durness sango pano
Sango Sands.

durness campsite
The Polish Lada (I think) Club at Sango Sands.

aidan at durness
Aidan on Dignity.

dinity gps
Flash bastard.

durness fire
Fire on the beach.


Dance of the Flaming Arsehole.

Day 4&5
The next day Andy headed back down the road, following Aidan's route up. Aidan and I had planned to spend two night at Durness but we changed our mind at the last minute and decided to head back down to Achiltibuie. We had a problem though, Aidan needed fuel and being a Sunday the petrol station was shut. Luckily the outdoor shop in Scourie has petrol pumps and was open, so we headed by down the coast, crossing the Kylsesku Bridge and retracing my tracks along the Drumbeg road to Lochinver, then on to Achiltibuie, stopping for photos on the way. At one point Aidan stopped to get a photo of Suilven, one of the most distinct mountains in Scotland, but the daft cunt forgot how steep the hill was. I was further up the hill getting a photo from the viewpoint when a guy who had also stopped for a photo asks me "Was that your friend who rode by on that bike?"
"Well his bike is lying down."
Aidan had forgot to leave the bike in gear and it had rolled of its stand! I fair shat myself, thinking he's binned himself, but all was ok and we had a good laugh about it. There wasn't even any damage to his bike.

GS Suilven
While I took this Aidan threw his bike on the road. Twat.

Aidan on the Kylesku Bridge.

GS Boat
Drumbeg Views

Drumbeg caravan
Drumbeg views, check oot the caravan.

We decided on spending two nights at Achiltibuie, so after cooking tea in the toilet block to avoid the fucking massive clouds of midgies we went to the Furan for a couple of pints. The next day was spent chilling out. We done a spot of fishing off the pier along from Polbain and went to the other pub, the Summer Isle Hotel for a pint of Suilven. Before heading back over to the campsite for tea and some beer. We ended up back in the Furan for another couple of pints and some pool. Aidan sprayed the bushes with some Baxters Leek and Potato soup then we crashed out.

a pint of Suilven

GS and Achiltibuie.
GS with Achiltibuie in the background.

Fishin. Caught fuck all.

Aidan and dignity
Aidan, Dignity and some cider.

Eating soup with a fork.
Eating soup with a fork. Daft laddie. We'd be seeing that soup again. A hug in a bowl it is not.

Nice weather eh?

summerisle gs pano

Day 6
We left Achiltibuie and after a couple of nice rolls in Ullapool we headed round the coast to Gairloch. The road takes you around Loch Ewe and Guinard Bay. At Loch Ewe you can see the WW2 base and at Guinard Bay you can see the infamous Guinard Island, also known as Anthrax Island. If you click the links you can read all about the history of both places and see plenty pictures on my mate Bruce's blog.
On the way round the coast I wanted to go along the old track to Slaggan Bay. The only thing is there is a sign saying "Unsuitable for motors except rough terrain vehicles." So we were a bit concerned that dignity would make it along.
Did the track stop the ER5?????

Did it fuck!! Aidan and Dignity breezed the trail, the only thing that really held us up was a bunch of big highland coos! I was shitting it a bit as there was (what looked like) a mother and a calf. Mother cows can be quite protective of their young, and Highland Cattle have fucking HUGE horns, but we got by with only a few nervous shuffles. From my arsehole.
When we first rolled up to Big Sands campsite we were a bit apprehensive. The campsite is massive, with loads of these big multi room family tents and loads of bairns screaming and running about the place. After Achiltibuie this may as well have been London. Well not quite. After some discussion we decided to give it a shot. In the camping area they try and keep a gap of seven meters between tents, so everyone still has a wee bit of space. Aidan and I managed to find a quiet bit beside a couple on a Kwaker ZRX and after a barbecue we headed down the beach to chill out for the evening. We even tried some beach casting with the fishing rod. Aye, caught fuck all.
Rough terrain vehicles??

That'll be an ER5 then!

Slaggan Bay.

GS on the road from Slaggan Bay.
GS on the road from Slaggan Bay.
On the Slaggan Bay road.

Big Sands, Gairloch
The beach at Big Sands

Big Sands, Gairloch
Aidan tries to catch a fish while folk sit around their fires.

Gairloch sunset
Sunset at the campsite.

Day 7
I woke up to a nice day and good views over to the Outer Hebrides. Then Aidan stuck his face out his tent. I left the campsite before Aidan as I wanted to go and have a look at the beach at Redpoint and hopefull see the war grave at the Fairy Lochs. We arranged to meet at Applecross then I set off. The road from Gairloch to Applecross is amazing. I done the wee turn off to Redpoint, mair massive coos on the road and a big bull which must have been about six foot tall, the beach at Redpoint is worth the wee detour but I never seen the Fairy Lochs. It was a bit more of a hike than I thought and I was advised by a local fisherman not to attempt it with out giving myself a couple of hours, he also said that I might find it easier with proper footwear, opposed to bike boots. I'll get there next time I'm up there though.
I carried on over the Bealach Na Ba to Applecross. We visit Applecross all the time. The scenery is spectacular, the campsite is great and the food in the local pub, the Applecross Inn, is brilliant.
I found a place to pitch our tents in the busy campsite and soon Aidan arrived. We went down to the shop, said hello to the folk in the pub and got chatting to a couple who were touring on 125's with L plates. They had both done their CBT's a few weeks before leaving for a three week tour of Scotland. Brilliant folk. We then had a few beers on the campsite, chatting with Davie, another biker who was up with his mates on a tour before we went down to the pub for some food. I had the special of Plaice with a caper butter (gid) and we had a few more beers while getting the crack with the staff, locals, and other folk visiting the area. The midgies even let off for a wee bit from time to time. Amazing night.
ulgy camper
I've seen better heids hanging oot a fish box.

Bealach Na Ba views
The view from the top of the Bealach Na Ba.

Proper adventure riders.

tent views
View from my tent.

Deer at applecross
How many deer can you see?

View of the Cullins on Skye from the Applecross Inn.

Applecross Inn
Folk outside the Applecross Inn...

Applecross sunset
...looking at the sunset.

Day 8
We left Applecross in the pissing rain with the plan of heading to the Glencoe area. We stopped in at the Waterside Cafe for a challenge breakfast, which beat me this time! Over breakfast the weather worsened so we decided to head for home. On the way down the A9 Aidan decided we should try and head for Glencoe again but the weather got worse the more we tried. The rain was that bad Aidans gloves dyed his hands bluey black! We stopped for a coffee and a cake at Ballenluig Motor Grill and decided that we'll spend the last night at my house! When we got home the weather was good so we sat out the back for a bit before watching some bike related films.
It was nice to get home to see HB and spend a night in a real bed!
Aidan dirty paws
dirty paws

It was a brilliant trip. We were really lucky with the weather. While we were getting warm sunshine it was pissing down everywhere else in Scotland. 
I'm all ready planning where I'm going next year!