Aidan had put up on one of the group chats we all use that he was heading away to Tim's place for a couple of nights if anyone wanted to join him. Regular readers of my blog will be pretty familiar with Sunart Camping and Strontian, we go there a fair bit and along with Tim and Lynn I run the Sunart Wildcat Rally. I had been keen to get Mikey Sunter, my BMW K75 out for another decent run since I'd repaired the leaky boot at the clutch actuator and it's always good to catch up with Tim and the folk at Strontian.
The forecast was looking decent enough, no rain and plenty sun, but it looked like it might be a cold one. In Scotland cold means frost and ice which in turns means the gritters are out in an effort to keep the roads ice free. The grit and salt they put down results in a horrible, corrosive paste which really can fuck a bike up. I'm in the lucky situation of having more than one bike. The Africa Twin is stashed away while Mikey Sunter bears the brunt of winter. I'm using FS365, a corrosion inhibitor from Scottoiler to try and keep the winter damage to a minimum. I've heard good reports about this and other similar products but if I only had one bike I'd not be riding it through the winter.
Due to time restraints I just took the most direct route to Strontian. Normally I'd avoid as much of the A84/A85/A82 as possible as it's usually jammed full of folk who's driving is so poor they're either pished or driving without a license. At this time of year however they're all away. The roads are relatively empty and, if you get the weather right, the scenery is more stunning than ever. The only other things to contend with other than the salt and the cold is the low sun and the short days. It get's dark around four o'clock. I'd really enjoyed my run up the road, Loch Lubnaig and Rannoch Moor looked stunning, Mikey Sunter was performing well and there was hardly any other traffic around. The light was just going by the time I stopped at Glencoe for photos.
I knew I was going to be too late for the shop at Strontian and I was getting cold. It gets a wee bit nippy when the sun goes down. I stopped off at the petrol station at Ballachulish, one of these places sells everything from beer and bread to mops and stuff for your tractor. I warmed up with a coffee and browsed the beers. But wait, whats this? The shelves were full of stuff from my youth! I left the MD20/20 on the shelf, opting for a bottle of Merry Down cider to relive my childhood. The last few miles to the Corran ferry crossing and on to Strontian were taken easy. There are loads of deer around, clipping one of those big beasties wouldn't end well for Mikey Sunter or myself.
On the Corran Ferry
Nice view from the Strontian Hotel
Tim, Aidan and I had a good night out in Strontian, ending up along in the Sunart Hotel. Unfortunately I over imbibed a bit meaning I didn't get on the road till one in the afternoon the following day, having spent most of the morning sleeping, in the cafe, or trying to convince Tim the K75 was a great bike. It was a little bit colder that the previous day, but the sky was clearer and the everywhere looked incredible. Once the sun dipped a bit all the grass and stuff at the side of the road began to freeze up which had me a slightly concerned however the roads remained clear of ice and I had no sketchy moments. By the time I was back on the dual carriageway the temperature had dropped and it had gotten really cold. My visor had frozen up rendering my pinlock useless, my feet were cold and even the excellent BMW heated grips on Mikey Sunter couldn't keep the chill out of my hands. As I said, it gets a wee bit nippy. I could have stopped at places to warm back up but the longer you're out the colder it gets so I just thought "fuck it" and kept riding along.
What a state.
Despite being frozen I gave Mikey Sunter a good wash and another coating of FS365 when I got home. It's better to get the salt off as soon as possible. I'd really enjoyed my run. I'll definitely be doing more soon.