Tuesday 15th December 2020

A scooter run to Glen Loth (154 miles).

With another scooter disaster!

Retirement is clearly showing. This is the 20th web-page for 2020. I’ve never published that many pages in a year before. I love retirement!

This is the latest in the year scooter trip I’ve done. In my student days I drove motorbikes all through winter, but that is over 40 years ago! Today had a good forecast – sunny and reaching 7°C. But we are just 6 days from the winter solstice and at our latitude there is only 6h 36m 46s of daylight today. On the solstice it will be 6h 33m 23s so only 3m 23s difference! I couldn’t take it easy but had to just keep going to cover ground until my disaster happened.

I left the house about 9.40 and it was bitterly cold. The cars were iced over and there was frost. I stupidly decided to go by the Scotsburn Road as it is lovely and it is quiet. It was ice everywhere. The scooter slipped several times where I thought I was coming off. In the photo below you can see the skim of ice on the puddle and also the ice on the road.

The road to Scotsburn is really nice.

I crept on to Tain doing about 20 mph. I went to ASDA for petrol and then Home Bargains for my provisions.

I went onto the A9 and then made speed heading north over the Dornoch Bridge. I stopped in Golspie down at the Free Church to eat. In the photo between the houses is the monument to the Duke of Sutherland on the top of Ben Bhraggie. Golspie is where I was born. I  even started school there though for just 3 months. It is a lovely village.

My dad was Free Church minister. This is the church. My uncle Hugh was elder there for many years. 

The harbour.

After eating I kept going north on the A9 beyond Brora to the start of Glen Loth. I was going to chicken out and take the road at Helmsdale after my experience on the Scotsburn Road. But adventure is what its all about. So it was over Glen Loth. However there was no ice at all on the road even though it isn’t gritted. It was just a fantastic winter run and I didn’t feel too cold.

This is climbing into the glen. See how long my shadow is.

At the top of the glen you can see out to the hills on the Sutherland – Caithness border. In the centre the hill is Morven, on the right is Scaraben.

This must be Beinn Dhorain and Ben Uarie.

Looking out to north Sutherland. What a day!

Then it was then down the other side to the Strath of Kildonan.

Back down at Kildonan Station.

I pushed on up the Strath of Kildonan to Kinbrace where I took the branch left to go to Syre.

The old church at Kinbrace.

Loch Achnamoine

Loch Badanloch.

Ben Loyal.

The junction at Syre where I turned back south to go down Strath Naver.

The church at Syre.

Loch Naver.

I stopped for lunch beside Loch Naver at Grummore where there is a caravan site. No caravans here this time of year. The roads were fantastically quiet. Mid-December is the time to scooter the north of Scotland if it wasn’t quite so cold!

This is Ben Klibreck with the sun falling low at 1.15!

My lunch with my trusty flask of coffee.

The roads are well salted. Look at the poor bike. It was clean when I left the house.

After my lunch I continued down Strath Naver and at the junction at Altnaharra headed to Lairg.

The old church at Altnahara.

Ben Klibreck again. There is amazingly little snow for December. Is global warming all bad?

And then reached the Crask Inn.

And kept going to Lairg. This is the Free Church.

I was going to go to Roshall by Gruids but the road was closed so I had to go down to Invershin to get the Lochinver road.

The Free Church at Rosehall.

Just beyond Rosehall I branched left on to the Inveroykel road. I stopped at the Bailey Bridge, a favourite stop to eat, but I just took a few photos and headed on.

Looking down the Kyle of Sutherland.

Carbisdale Castle coming into view.

And here disaster struck. I can’t believe it, another puncture! I have ridden motorbikes for over 40 years and never a puncture. This is the second on this scooter. Is it jinxed? I couldn’t seen any nails or holes. I had a tin of sealant which I tried injecting into the tyre. Some went in but the nozzle snapped half way through the process! As usual some of it came flying out the hole it found so I rolled the bike so the hole was against the ground. The tyre had a little pressure in it. The white stuff is sealant (sic) from the tyre.

What a place to stop though – one of the entrances to Carbisdale Castle. I had a few crisps and some chocolate with strawberry milk before heading off slowly. 

I could feel the tyre deflate as I was driving but decided I have to get home. I kept going at mostly 20 and no more than 30 mph till I got home. I got to Contullich about 4.10 very, very cold but very, very glad to have made it. The tyre was pancake flat. I washed the bike right away to get that salt off it. So that’s it. No more scooter journeys till spring. The COVID19 extension to my MOT runs out on January 7th. I will not get a new tyre till the spring. I can’t wait!

Despite the disaster, a great day.