Following on from Part 1.
We made it to Oban right enough will no issues from Ferg's limping bike. The A828 from Ballachulish to Connel is nice. It wasn't too busy either so we could give the swoopy bends a look at and rolled into Oban with plenty time to meet our 3 o'clock deadline for the ferry. Oban is busy, Really busy. This made finding Stoddart's bike shop a bit tricky, but a few directions from some locals saw us at their door.
We set about Ferg's GS getting the battery out. Stoddart's allowed us into their workshop and started to look around for a suitable battery while we hooked up a huge car battery to Ferg's bike to see if it would start. Stoddarts didn't have a battery but the bike started when we used the big car battery. Ferg bought a charger and we rushed off to Tescos to stock up on food, beer and bog roll for that evening's wild camping on Colonsay. Ferg was gutted that his bike was still playing up though.
He's no happy.
Nice guzzi waits beside us for the ferry to Islay.
We once more bump started Ferg's GS, which he calls Dinosaur. I dunno if the nickname reflects the 1150's age, its weight or its size but the rest of us were sweating like pregnant nuns after shoving the GS around all over the place in the increasingly warm afternoon. Ferg cheered up a bit once we were on the ferry and we all started getting excited about arriving on Colonsay. We got a got great views of Oban and the surrounding area as we sailed off.
Here's a video update from Ferg telling us the crack.
Shoving a GS about is tiring work.
First views of Colonsay.
First views of Colonsay.
We rode off the ferry then ran back along to help Ferg shove Dinosaur along the peir. A few of the islanders had come down to see who was coming on to the island or say goodbyes to friends sailing out. We got speaking to Walter, a guy who had lived on Colonsay for the past 56 years, we'd be seeing a bit of Walter over the next few days.
I had done a wee bit planning for our stay on Colonsay. This first night we were wild camping followed by two nights in the Hostel. I had looked at the maps for Camping spots and had found two potential sites. Camping is allowed pretty much anywhere in Scotland as long as you don't damage anything or leave a mess. I still thought it was best to play it safe as not to piss of the locals so I had phoned the Colonsay Estate who had told me that they try to discourage people parking and camping by the roadside. When I told them it was motorbikes we were on they sounded pretty welcoming, saying bikes would be fine and that we should be ok.
I found our first site easily. It was beside some hard standing foundation that looked like they'd been left behind from WW2 buildings. There was a bin right beside us too. After some dithering we decided that this was the best spot for us. It was at the top of a hill too, ideal for starting Ferg's bike.
I had also booked us a table at The Colonsay Pantry. It being a Wednesday means Seafood Night at the Pantry. Once the tents were up we headed down for our meal. Faithir and I shared a great seafood platter which was washed down with a pint of the local beer and all at a great price too. All fed, it was back to the tents for a few more beers and some night photography.
Photo by Faithir.
I was met with nice weather when I opened my tent the following morning. I watched a plane take off from the wee airport as the rest of the guys dragged themselves out their sleeping bags. We had some breakfast while being entertained by Ferg's hilarious physiotherapy routine, a hangover from a bad car crash he'd been involved in. We mucked about with Ferg's shinty sticks then packed up and went to find the hostel.
Ferg worships my bike.
Insert your own caption here....
Aidan demonstrates his fishing style.
Morning on Colonsay.
Colonsay is only around eight miles by two, so it didn't take us too long to find the hostel. We dumped our stuff in various rooms. Ferg got his charger hooked up and got his bike on charge, got a lift on whoever's bike was closest and off we went to explore the island and check the tide times for fishing off the pier. We were having a wee fishing competition and Aidan was keen to show his immense skills off. We stocked up on supplies in the shop, got a coffee and a cake in the Pantry and poked about various bits of the island. I was riding about the north part of the island when a guy came out his house and waved me down. It was Walter who we had met when we arrived off the ferry. I chatted with him for a bit over a cup of tea and a biscuit then it was back to the Hostel to grab my fishing kit then down the pier to meet up with everyone else. Fish were caught and we kept a couple of the bigger mackerel to go with the Colonsay Beef burgers we'd bought from Colonsay Stores. The night was spent having a laugh in the bothy at the hostel. I had my gopro with me so here's a look at the Colonsay ring road too.
Scalasaig from the Pier.
In the bothy.
It was a wet day on Colonsay when we got out our scratchers the following day. With a full charge Ferg's bike had started on the button and we had a wet spin around the island visiting Colonsay Brewery and checking out how easy it would be to get over to Oronsay (next time perhaps). A stop in at the Pantry and another to the shop and it was back to the Hostel to dry out. Shit was shot when Walter dropped by to visit us for a wee while. We cooked a Colonsay Beef chilli and chilled out for a bit. Suddenly the weather cleared up and the sun was out. We jumped on the bikes for an awesome ride around the island, taking in the sunset before calling in to the Colonsay Hotel's bar for a pint and to take in their Live Music Night. It was good crack in the pub, Aidan had already spoken to some of the locals he knew and we got to meet some of them them at the pub. Once we were done it was back to the hotel for a wild rock and roll game of chess and a few beers.
Still on charge.
Me and Faithir rave out.
Hostel at night.
The next day we got up and packed our shit up. Today we were saying goodbye to Colonsay. It had been an absolutely amazing visit to the island but on we must go. HB, Bob and Nicki were meeting us on the ferry. They get on at Oban, the ferry comes to Colonsay where we jump aboard then it's on to Islay. We spent our time in the Pantry and fishing. It was while we were hanging around the Pantry that we first heard there was a problem with the ferry. Apparently there had been some sort of mechanical issue, but ferries to Colonsay being cancelled wasn't uncommon. I phoned back to HB on the mainland and they had been told there were delays, while we had been told that there was a good chance that the ferry would be cancelled.
What to do?
Find out in part 3.
Part 3 here.