Scooter over the Bealach na Ba

21st July 2016

Today I went for a wee run on my scooter. It ran so well when it got its MOT, then one day it just would not start. There was no spark. This was tracked down to a shorted stator so I got a new one from Petrol Scooter. They are a fantastic company. However I had to wait for a flywheel puller to come from China. When it came I found the old stator was a 6 pole the new one an 8 pole. From the net it seems they are interchangeable. But, it needed a new flywheel, as the 8 poles are a slightly different diameter. So I ordered it from Petrol Scooter and it came. Put the bike together and it ran. But, and its a big but – it blew every bulb in the lighting circuit (both headlamp bulbs, taillight, and the bulbs to light the instrument panel).

So I have no lights and am not sure am I charging the battery at all but I needed to get a run so risked it. I do have indicators and a stop lamp as they come from the battery and not the AC feed from the stator.

All my bikes have to go over the Bealach na Ba. 

The Bealach na Bà is a twisting mountainous road located in the Applecross peninsula. This twisting, single-track mountain road is the third highest road in Scotland rising up to 2,054 feet above the sea level. It’s one of the most scenic drives in the world. 

The road is similar to the great mountain passes in the Alps, with very tight hairpin bends which switch back and forth up the hillside. 

The road was built in 1822. The original road was rough gravel and very difficult to clear in winter, meaning it could be blocked for weeks on end. In 1950 it was asphalted. The road has gradients of 1 in 5 and includes hairpin bends. The name is Gaelic for Pass of the Cattle.

I was up early and cut the grass. I left at 11:10 and headed by the Old Evanton Road to Dingwall. I went to Tesco to get the usual nutritious items for a day on a scooter – pork pies, Frijj Banana Milk, and I got some Tesco White Chocolate.

I stopped at 12:20 about half way between Contin and Achnasheen. I replied to texts from Anne and Mairi. Anne safely reaching Newport; Mairi safely reaching Oban. I had my lunch.

Showing my repaired fuel gauge.

And the special “Proclaimers” scooter glasses. This is an idea of my brilliant brother, Bill.  1.5 diopter reading glasses sorts out my distance vision, Bill suggested 2.0 diopter – that works for him. The glasses have thick legs which can be forced into my helmet. This saves my good variofocals.

This is beyond Lochcarron near Kishorn. I should have been wise and checked the bike because there was a strong smell of petrol.

I stopped at 13:37 and here comes a disaster.

I took photos and recorded the height on my Garmin Etrex 20. Then when I went to leave, the scooter would not start. Petrol was pouring out from under it. Oh dear! This took till 13:53 to sort out. It was the drain cock to the carburetor. It had worked loose. Easy to fix but took a wee bit to find. I filled up with petrol from my spare container. I think I must have lost a bit.

Then continued up the Bealach.

I took a video.

And reached the top at 14:11.

I forgot to photo the satnav at the very top. The highest point from the GPX track was 2044 feet.

This is near a place called Cuaig, there is a parking space with an amazing panorama. I lay for a while on the grass.

Lewis and Harris could be made out easily with the eye. The camera doesn’t show it so well.

I stopped before Shieldaig overlooking a place called Ardheslaig and had something to eat. Two big Triumph motorbikes stopped driven by foreigners. She did at least say hello to a scooter driver.

This is Ardheslaig – quite stunning.

You could photo forever over here.

Eventually got to the Torridon turnoff but continued to Kinlochewe.

This is that amazing view of Liathach (3461 feet).

And Ben Eighe (3,310 feet)

After Kinlochewe the road turns east for Achnasheen and passes through Glen Docherty. This used to be single track but is a well surfaced fast road. Well not so fast on a 125 cc scooter! Coming down the other side was fast, I reached 58 mph from the GPX track!

And had to stop to answer natures call before Achanalt.

I took the Strath Brahn road at Contin and then went to LIDL in Dingwall to get something for my tea. I came back on the Old Evanton road. It is much better for slow vehicles than trying to use the A9. I got home near 6 – 17:54 to be precise. I get these values from the GPX trace.

Another good day. But I’m tired and sore. This was 170 miles. I wouldn’t like to go much further.