Friday 16th October 2020

A scooter trip to West Sutherland (188 miles).

I arranged with brother Billy to meet with him and go on a scooter trip. When we arranged this a few days ago the weather forecast for today was super.

I headed off at 9.10 to meet Billy at his home outside Dornoch. I went via the Scotsburn Road to Tain. We had had a wet morning but the rain had stopped by the time I left home. In Tain it was raining! I went to ASDA for petrol and then to Home Bargains for my wee picnic.

I headed for Dornoch over the Dornoch bridge. By the time I reached the other side there was no rain and the roads were dry.

At Dornoch I could not go into Billy’s house because of the COVID19 restrictions. I blethered with Bill, his wife Donella and son Kevin for a wee while. Also I wasn’t able to see the renovations to the kitchen and dining room.

We left about 10.20 going by the Rogart road but took a wee detour. I know my distant Canadian cousin, Don, keeps a look out for things I put up here. This is a memorial to Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A MacDonald. The cairn is built on the site of his grandparents’ house at Dalmore, using the nearby local stone, and built by Golspie tradesmen. I found out while looking this up that ridiculously, Canada’s first prime minister has been scrubbed – at least for now – from government websites in Scotland due to his treatment of indigenous people. This over sensitivity to the ways of the past is crazy. I’m sure when the future looks back at our current western world morality, or lack of it, there will be similar reactions. I don’t want to have the statue to the Duke of Sutherland on top of Ben Bhraggie above my village of birth and all mention and memory of him removed because he drove his tenants off his land to make way for sheep. Some of my family in the past were tenant smallholders.

By the time we arrived here there was blue sky starting to show!

When we got to Lairg the Autumn colouring by Loch Shin had to be photographed. It’s a pity about the dam.

This is a bit further up Loch Shin on the road to Laxford Bridge.

Loch a Ghriamma.

Loch Merkland.

I was driving Billy’s bike at this point hence the different and very smart cockpit!

Billy was right and I was wrong about this mountain, below. It is Arkle. A quick check of the Ordinance Survey map showed this. Anyone wanting to see maps of places in detail in Scotland, look at Bing maps and as you zoom in select the Ordinance Survey maps from the drop down menu. it is a super tool. The map I put at the top of each of my webpages is opensource. It is excellent and becoming better all the time. I use Opentopomaps based on Openstreetmap.

And we reached Laxford Bridge. I don’t think I have photographed it before.

We had swapped bikes but changed back and Bill led us to Scourie. Here we had our lunch down at the harbour. We took our time here and had a long blether putting the world right. What a stunning day!

I thought I had bought Pepsimax but it was Pepsi itself. Pepsi was my favourite drink but it is now Pepsimax, and it has no sugar! I had bought a bag of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties flavoured crisps. I don’t think I would recommend. A bit much of the neeps and very spicy or peppery. The Stobarts pork pies were quite delicious. Home bargains is the place! Billy kindly gave me a bar of white chocolate from the COOP which I ate instead of the Yorkie. It was really nice.

Then we headed down West Sutherland. The scenery is stunning.

Here is the bridge at Klyesku. It is quite a structure.

The mountain here which we go round is Quinag.

We stopped near Nedd for natures demands on old men. This is the view. Autumn is well on.

Then we reached Drumbeg. What a day!

In our blether earlier we discussed how we have been going on motorbike trips and now scooter trips for over 40 years. We are fortunate to be able to do so. But my, how the years change you. Two old men. The motor bike clothes seem to shove your flesh up to your chin kind of like Jabba the Hutt. Then the helmet squashes it down.

Below, the two Jabbas.

We moved on and stopped at Clashnessie beach. We had more to eat. I had more of the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties crisps and my Yorkie. This is after eating.

Then we pushed on towards Lochinver.

Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor and Cul Beag. Sulven is a most dramatic hill. Billy, Roddy and I went up it many years ago. It is quite a long soggy walk in.

We didn’t actually go into Lochinver. Billy was a bit doubtful of my decision as I calculated I could make it home, just, without buying more petrol. I like the challenge.

We moved on to Ardvreck Castle.

After that there was no more blue sky and the day got duller as we moved east. Then we made a quick stop at Loch Borralan to get a last glimpse of Suilven.

And stopped at the end of Loch Craggie again because we are old men.

It was then on past Rosehall and onto the Inveroykel road to Culrain. We stopped half way along it to eat again. This was my tea! More pork pies, more of the aforementioned flavoured crisps and this time to sweeten and cleanse the palette Kendal Mint Cake. It was getting cold again. These shots are looking down Strathcarron.

By now my fuel gauge was pretty much down to the red zone so I led keeping the speed down. We got down to Culrain and Ardgay and then onto the Struie road. Here we stopped before parting at the viewpoint over the Dornoch Firth. It was getting dark by now. My phone’s camera compensates for this.

Below, Struie Hill.

Billy headed down to Edderton and over to Dornoch. I continued along the Struie road. By now my fuel gauge was at the bottom of the red region. The scooter was running on vapours. But we got home and pretty dark. I hate the dark long nights. But what a great day with Billy.

Some video footage of scenery from the day.