31st July 2018

Scooter to Syre (136 miles)

I was getting itchy scooter feet and wanted a run. I was intending to go south-west to Spean Bridge but the forecast wasn’t good for the west. It was good for the north. Its hard to find a road in the Highlands that I haven’t done. As far as I’m aware I’ve never done the road between Kinbrace and Syre on two wheels. I’ve done it in the car. So that was today’s target.

I left home at 9.05 and headed down to Morrisons by the Corkscrew Road. I got petrol. This time I didn’t take the extra can of fuel. I have to get out of that habit. The scooter has a range of about 180 miles to a tankful. That’s far better than the old Yamaha which could only do 145 miles to a tankful. I also got supplies for myself. The usual gut destroying, artery clogging stuff which is delicious.

After taking on supplies I headed towards Tain by the Scotsburn Road and went over the Dornoch Bridge. I stopped in Golspie for something to eat, from of my ‘supplies’. Golspie was busy so I went to the sea front. I know Golspie. I was born there. This is one of the lovely old buildings with the monument to the Duke of Sutherland on Ben Bhraggie behind.

Sad to relate as I sat on this seat eating some crisps a tooth broke. As you get old you fall apart. I’m pretty sure it will need a crown. I hate the sharp edges left when you do this. I already have three crowns. The best teeth in my head. The gold one is fantastic.

I pushed on through Brora and came to Glen Loth. I just love Glen Loth. I did it two weeks ago in the other direction. Usually I have it to myself but today there was at least a forestry van, a Mercedes, two motor bikes and a delivery van!! They were these big BMW adventure bikes. (I actually hate them as bikes; far too big). Two weeks ago there was another of them doing it. They always look upset when an old man on a junk heap of a Chinese 125 scooter does it!

Here’s a wee video of the trip over Glen Loth.

Then at the top Morven and the Scarabens came into view. The Mercedes had parked at my usual spot so I stopped a wee bit off from them.

Zooming into Morven.

And down the other side.

The road is a classic.

And down to Kildonan Station. Very soon after that you come onto the Helmsdale – Halladale road, not far from Suisgill. I only had to travel about 6 miles of it to Kinbrace.

Kinbrace is a one horse town in the middle of nowhere. But nice.

This is beside the cemetery at Kinbrace. I wonder what stories this old house could tell. I love old tin houses.

The road to Syre is quite fast for single track roads. It is also quiet as most traffic are following the North Coast 500 route. I think this is Loch Badanloch and Loch Nan Clar.

I stopped to look back at the head of Loch Rimsdale. You can just make out Morven the small cone in the distance at the middle of the loch.

Using zoom.

And finally reached Syre. The smell of sheep’s droppings was almost overwhelming and the ground was brown with them. This is the old church with the war memorial. All these Highland villages have their memorials to young men who never got a chance to live and love. There was one in Kinbrace as I came through it.

I stopped near Loch Naver for my lunch.

A bit further down you see Ben Klibreck across the water. You can see it from the Struie viewpoint about 11 miles from our house! I often go up there on an evening to see the view. Martin, my cousin, and myself went up Klibreck many years ago (maybe 45 years!). Mart lost his water bottle. I wonder is it still lying around up there somewhere?

And then further on is Altnahara. I turned left to go south. Straight on takes you onto the amazing Hope road. Right takes you north to Tongue.

The road cuts through Strath Vagastie to Crask. This is look back to Loch Naver.

And across to Ben Klibreck.

At Crask looking to Crask Inn.

Martin and I camped up this track beside the burn at Crask for a couple of nights. We had cycled here. That was when we did Ben Klibreck. We had just finished school, young lads of 18.

It was then through Strath Tirry to Lairg.

And then from Lairg to Bonar. I stopped near Bonar Bridge to use natures lavatory.

It was onto home ground now, through Ardgay and up to the Struie viewpoint. I had to stop and get a couple of pictures.

Ben Klibreck is just to the left of the dark green banded peninsula, on the horizon.

Using the camera’s zoom lens. It is quite a camera.

And then it was the usual well trodden run home. 11 miles to Contullich. I got home about 3.10 so not an arduous day. I really enjoyed it.