Proviso here, the weather was erm challenging at times so didn't take my 'phone out to take pictures that often
Left on Saturday morning, with Barney he was on his newly acquired and very pretty GSX650F, Andy who had just bought an R12GS Adventure triple black and had only ridden from the dealership to home on it so it was all very new to him
Picked up Ian enroute on his Triumph 955 RS, I was as usual on my K12GT.
Went onto the M56>M6 and came off into the Lake district to go to the Kirkstone Pass Inn for lunch.
Riding down the other side of the Kirkstone Pass towards Ullswater after lunch and an old dear who looked just like the Grandma from the Addams family) decided to shuffle across the road in front of me despite staring me in the eyes. I can confirm the ABS on the K works well
The Lake District was as lovely (and as busy) as usual.
Once back on the motorway we trundled up to Moffat for coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake before the final leg to the Erskine Bridge Hotel in Glasgow, where a quick change of kit was the order of the day to make use of the pool before a quick trip to the bar for a couple of pints and a blue cheese burger for tea
Next day was as predicted going to be a very hard one weather wise, we rode up from Erskine Bridge to Brig o Turk for morning coffee via Aberfoyle and the awesome fun Dukes Pass. Just before Aberfoyle a young deer jumped into the road in front of me just as I was accelerating past a van. Missed it by inches so an old dear in the Lakes and a young deer in Scotland
From there we continued north stopping at The Green Welly
Who do an awesome Cullen Skink
Although Andy and Ian aren't fans of fish
The stop at the Green Welly set us up nicely for a trip over Glencoe, and being honest even in the evil weather was as usual fantastic, in fact the weather gave it a dark brooding atmosphere. It never fails to impress and always makes you feel small.
From there it was onwards to Fort William. We were going to go to Mallaig for the Isle of Skye ferry but the gales and rain prompted a rethink. We took the road from Fort William to Eilean Donan castle. At this point the absolute worst of the storm hit and it was epically foul.
Next stop was at Eilean Donan Castle where a huge hot chocolate was called for.
My waterproofs, BMW RainTech one piece and AlpineStar Jet gloves, Daytona boots were holding up very well with not a drop leaking through. It has to be said though that in really awful weather visor visibility can still be poor. My System 6 has a pinlock as standard but in OTT foul weather they're still not marvellous, certainly not as good as the heated visor I had on my old System 2 helmet!
From the castle we continued the fight north to the Aultguish Inn near Ullapool. There were some huge floods on the way and in the poor conditions took some seeing. So glad to eventually see the lights of the Inn
After dumping all of kit in the Inns drying room it was time for a good hot shower and change before hitting the bar and dining room.
After a lovely rare rib eye steak and a couple of beers the days fight seemed long gone
I'm not a whisky fan but thought I'd give a try of one of the single malts on offer, for some reason one from Islay caught my eye, and I have to say it was gorgeous
!! Really smoky and peaty with a powerful aftertaste and none of that burning harshness I normally find whisky to have.
Had we not been riding the next day I'd have gone for a few more of them, mind you at £5 a glass it may be just as well
Next morning saw much better weather with only showers predicted. Rode up from the Inn to Ullapool to fill the bikes up then onwards north towards the mornings first stop at Kylesku. The route is truly fantastic, the scenery breath taking .... so who cares about the weather
All too soon Kylesku arrives and we park up to go to the hotel for coffee.
By the way anyone up this way, judging by its location and menu I would highly recommend the Kylesku Hotel I was really wishing we were stopping there as the seafood selection looked awesome
Home | Kylesku Hotel
Continuing along the A835/A836 was as usual breathtaking with now the addition of seeing the ocean in high winds which was fantastic. It has to be said there were lots of German/Dutch/Belgian/France/Italian camper vans which were a bit irritating as I don't think they understood what the passing places were for.
The originally planned lunch stop was at Bettyhill but had to be cancelled last minute due to flooding from the storms
so we relocated to the Ben Loyal hotel at Tongue. Really nice spot with exceptionally friendly staff.
After a bowl of hot home made soup it was into the car park for some quick between the showers pics
From Tongue it was on to John O'Groats. Surprised to see Starbucks have arrived there.
Onwards it was down to the A9 and the stop for the night, the Belgrave Inn at Helmsdale.
They did me a lovely seafood platter
But sadly that's the only recommendation I can give the place. The bar staff were miserable and made you feel every request was too much trouble, the bar itself populated by locals and went tumbleweed silent as you walked in, thankfully once I jokingly announced "the Welsh are here" the atmosphere changed with comments of thank God for that we thought you were English.
It was a bit overpriced, the breakfast room freezing just not pleasant.
Next day say the weather much improved, even to the point of leaving the waterproofs in the top box.
Down the A9 to Beauly for coffee then on to Drumnadrochit and the Loch Ness tourist thing
Heading back to Fort William from there back over Glencoe but this time in glorious sunshine!
A quick stop at the Green Welly again, there was a group of east German guys on ancient MZ's and an old Simpson 50cc on a camping trip. Just goes to show you can tour on anything
We returned to the Erskine Bridge via Aberfoyle again, which neatly avoids the hold ups around Loch Lomond. The coaches can be a real PITA when they meet up on that route.
While having dinner in the hotels restaurant they put a show on for the American tourists
On the way home we decided to go to Kirkby Stephen for lunch. Had a very near miss just before Kirkby Stephen when a tractor with 6 foot wheels just pulled out of a hidden entrance on the right I missed him by an inch, of course no remorse from him (which is the attitude I've always found from farmers.) ..... so an old dear, a young deer and now a John Deere
Lunch at the Black Bull Inn in Kirkby Stephen was very pleasant in the glorious sunshine before taking the lanes down to Hawes and over passed the Ribbleshead viaduct
and back to the motorway for the ride home.... shattered but having had a fantastic motorcycle mileage fix.
I know the K at times has been a challenge but it continues to be an awesome long distance tourer, in the adverse conditions I cannot think of any other bike I'd have rather been on to be honest.
Total mileage for the trip home to home was 1315 miles