24th July 2014


I needed a break so I took my XS650 for a long run. The forecast was for settled and hot. It reached 26°C in Lairg today. But the day started a bit cooler with a haar. I left about 10.30 and called at Morrisons to put petrol in the bike. I just headed up the A9 to the Dornoch Bridge. The bike was running badly yet again. I stopped the other side of the bridge and checked the fuses that they were connecting – that was the problem last year. I also checked the vacuum line to the pet-cock. They seemed fine but it still was not running right. 

IMG00110-20140724-1110 IMG00111-20140724-1110
I kept going north up the A9 to the Mound and branched left for Rogart. It really coughed and spluttered as I slowed down. I then gave it full throttle snapping it open and shut rapidly and it ran like a bird for the rest of the day. Maybe a bit of dirt stirred up from the bottom of the tank. I don’t use an in-line filter as there is so little space. Whatever we were going grand. I had a wee break for pictures beyond Rogart.

IMG00113-20140724-1135 IMG00114-20140724-1135 IMG00115-20140724-1135
A
nd again in Lairg.

IMG00117-20140724-1144 IMG00118-20140724-1144 IMG00119-20140724-1144 IMG00120-20140724-1145
The day was hot and I was starting to cook. Kind of like driving in a hair drier. At Lairg I branched right onto the Tongue road but a couple of miles on kept going straight onto the Altnahara Road. I stopped at Crask for photos. Both properties are for sale. The Inn and the house. What a lovely place.

IMG00121-20140724-1204 IMG00122-20140724-1205 IMG00123-20140724-1205 IMG00124-20140724-1205 IMG00125-20140724-1206 IMG00126-20140724-1207
Heading to Altnahara – this is Ben Klibreck. My cousin Martin and I camped at Crask many years ago (like 40!) and went up Klibreck.

IMG00127-20140724-1211 IMG00128-20140724-1211 IMG00129-20140724-1211 IMG00130-20140724-1211 IMG00131-20140724-1221 IMG00132-20140724-1221 IMG00133-20140724-1222 IMG00136-20140724-1226 IMG00137-20140724-1226
At Altnahara I turned right onto the Strathnaver road which follows Loch Naver to start with. It is stunning but very winding and you have to go easy. There were a quite a few other bikes about. None as nice as mine. I stopped quite often just on the bike to snap some pictures. 

IMG00139-20140724-1229 IMG00140-20140724-1229 IMG00141-20140724-1230 IMG00143-20140724-1240 IMG00144-20140724-1241 IMG00145-20140724-1241
At Syre I went straight on.

IMG00146-20140724-1249 IMG00147-20140724-1249 IMG00148-20140724-1249
Then reached the top of Scotland. Beyond the sea is the North Pole! No land in between.  I turned left to go to Tongue.

IMG00149-20140724-1305
Before Tongue not long after coming onto the North Coast road I stopped and had my lunch – three small pork pies, an apple and a packet of chicken flavour crisps all washed down with warm Pepsi. I could have done with chilled Pepsi with some ice cubes in it. 

IMG00150-20140724-1305 IMG00151-20140724-1328 IMG00152-20140724-1328 IMG00153-20140724-1328 IMG00154-20140724-1328 IMG00155-20140724-1330
I went through a place called Coldbackie. I have no memory of this place name at all though I’ve passed along this road a few times in my life.

IMG00156-20140724-1341 IMG00157-20140724-1341 IMG00158-20140724-1341 IMG00159-20140724-1342 IMG00160-20140724-1342
I went through Tongue.

IMG00161-20140724-1347 IMG00162-20140724-1347 IMG00163-20140724-1348
This is Ben Hope and Loch Hope.

IMG00164-20140724-1358 IMG00166-20140724-1358
Onto Hope, then down Loch Eribol and back up the other side and then Durness. Before Laid I got held up by a stupid foreign car that would not pull into a passing place. I honked my horn and kept indicating. Eventually as it pulled into a passing place to let and oncoming car past I went ahead of it. A bit rude but all I could do.

IMG00167-20140724-1401
Reaching Durness – what a day!

IMG00168-20140724-1430 IMG00169-20140724-1430 IMG00170-20140724-1430 IMG00171-20140724-1430 IMG00172-20140724-1431
I got petrol in Durness £1.45 a litre!! At the service station with one pump there were two Spanish guys on bikes, one on a Harley. They were very pleasant and I had a blether with them. Even they were complaining of the heat! There were also four foreign Minis (real ones not BMWs) parked outside the shop.

IMG00173-20140724-1440 IMG00174-20140724-1441 IMG00175-20140724-1441
I went along to Balnakeil and took photos of the church and beach.

IMG00176-20140724-1454
Not often you share a beach with cows!

IMG00178-20140724-1455 IMG00179-20140724-1455 IMG00180-20140724-1455 IMG00181-20140724-1455
Then back to Durness and down the Kinlochbervie road though the road actually doesn’t go to Kinlochbervie, you have to branch off at Riconich. 

IMG00182-20140724-1502 IMG00183-20140724-1502 IMG00184-20140724-1514 IMG00185-20140724-1514 IMG00186-20140724-1514
I kept moving on till Laxford Bridge where I turned left onto the Lairg road.
  IMG00187-20140724-1528 IMG00188-20140724-1529 IMG00189-20140724-1529 IMG00190-20140724-1533 IMG00191-20140724-1533
This is a single track road but you can see ahead and make good speed. I stopped for something to eat another pork pie, another packet of crisps (bacon) and even warmer Pepsi.

IMG00192-20140724-1548 IMG00193-20140724-1548 IMG00194-20140724-1548 IMG00195-20140724-1548 IMG00196-20140724-1548 IMG00197-20140724-1549
I moved on and just kept going till I hit the road I was on earlier near Lairg completing a loop.

IMG00198-20140724-1633 IMG00199-20140724-1633 IMG00200-20140724-1634 IMG00201-20140724-1634
I went back by Bonar Bridge. I stopped here to get something for my tea in the wee shop. I didn’t really feel like it but got a Scotch Pie – kind of pied out! I stopped for a short while at the car park by the bridge.

IMG00202-20140724-1658 IMG00203-20140724-1659 IMG00204-20140724-1659 IMG00205-20140724-1659 IMG00207-20140724-1659
Then it was no through Ardgay and up the Struie road stopping at the viewpoint for a couple of pictures. This was home territory now.

IMG00208-20140724-1716 IMG00209-20140724-1716 IMG00210-20140724-1716 IMG00211-20140724-1717
And then back to Contullich at about 5.30. A brilliant day covering 215 miles.