13th September 2014

This was just a wonderful day.

I had intended a trip since the end of the summer holiday but had hurt my shoulder so much I couldn’t use the bike, in fact I couldn’t even drive the car! But it is much better and the forecast was good.

I left Contullich at 10.00am on my old XS650 and went down to Morrisons for petrol and cash. Then went to LIDL to get Pepsi and pork pies. The day was cool and hazy. It was then onto the A9 and over the Cromarty Bridge. On the other side I branched right to go to Ferrintosh and cut across the Black Isle past the showground and onto Beauly. I headed through Beauly and over Lovat Bridge to Brockie’s Corner where I branched off to go past Kiltarlity and over the Coul na Kirk. I stopped up here. It is best to have rests on the bike at my age otherwise you just get too stiff.

Then it was down to Drumnadrochit and on down Loch Ness. I just kept going because I was still hoping to make the 1.55pm ferry at Mallaig. I stopped beside Loch Oich.

Loch Oich was so calm. Not a day for views but there was atmosphere.

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I decided to slow down and not push it but catch a later ferry. It was as well as the traffic was quite heavy down by Loch Lochy and into Fort William. In Fort William I went to a garage further in as its cheaper than the one at the Mallaig turn off. After picking up petrol I went back to the Mallaig turn off – the Road to the Isles! I just went to Corpach and turned down to the Corpach Basin.

I had my picnic here – the usual! Pork pies, crisps and chocolate all washed down with Pepsi. Very nourishing, very healthy and mostly very enjoyable. We have had chip suppers sitting here in the past. I was able to watch a boat go through the locks and then out onto the sea. It is most interesting to watch.

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Then it was on down do Kinlochiel where I stopped to take a few photos of Rene and Morag’s wee house where we spent such wonderful holidays. It is being kept very tidy by its new owners.

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I also stopped in Glenfinnan just to get a few photos. You can’t miss the viaduct or the monument to Bonny Prince Charlie! Here is Harry Potter’s bridge.

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Then I just pushed onto Mallaig. I wanted to find out about getting tickets and getting onto the ferry. I’m a nervous kind of person and hate not knowing what I’m doing.

As I got into Mallaig the steam train, the Jacobite, was getting ready to head back to Fort William. It was so easy just to stop and get a few pictures and a video.

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But I had to push on and get to the ferry terminal. I found out I had to see the ‘man in the yellow jacket’ in charge of loading – he looked like a boy to me but then I am getting very old! I was able to get a place. You then park where you have been assigned and go and purchase your ticket. The ferry was the 3.20 with a loading time at 3.00. The ticket was £16.60, quite pricey.

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Mallaig itself is not beautiful.

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The ferry was late in arriving but eventually it came.

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After the ferry unloaded, the motorbikes were taken on first. There were eight bikes on the ferry. You are assigned a bay and have to put the bike on its sidestand in gear. It is then anchored firmly to the deck with webbing. It was very efficient. The motorcyclists made their way to the top deck and the front – all of us. It was nice.

We had a blether and were all interested in the ferry loading and moving off. It was a lovely trip over to Armadale. I got talking to two nice lads from Glenelg. They had come across the Klyerhea ferry and drove down to Armadale this morning. But the ferry was so busy they couldn’t get a place. So they had driven up through Skye, over the bridge and down to Fort William. They were heading home.

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Armadale approaching.

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I stopped several times to get pictures. Autumn is definitely on the way.

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I stopped at the top of the Skye Bridge to get some pictures. I could just nudge the old XS onto the pavement!

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I then went on to Kyle to the COOP to get something for my tea. All their sandwiches had too much in them – like mayonnaise and pickle – which I hate. So it was another pie – a Scotch Pie this time. And some banana milk.

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I left Kyle and took the Stromeferry road beyond Balmacarra over to Strathcarron and Lochcarron.

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Passing Strathcarron Station

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Near Lochcarron I went right onto the Achnasheen road.

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I stopped for my tea before Achnasheen. The sun came out again. There is hardly a meal better than a Scotch Pie washed down with Banana Milk.

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Then it was time just to get home. So onto Garve, Conton, Strathpeffer, Dingwall, Evanton and home. I stopped to grab a photo every so often. Beyond Contin it got foggy and much cooler. Before Dingwall the bike went onto the reserve tank. Must have been a bit heavy on the throttle!

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I stopped along the Achnasheen-Garve road to take some pictures.

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The turn off at Garve.

A glimpse of Loch Garve in the twilight.

Getting into home country. When I stopped here a white van driver towing a trailer blasted his horn at me. Why? Do they keep having to spoil? You should see the way they treat me in the Mini!

On the Old Evanton Road it was hard to make out the Cromarty Bridge because of the fog.

Then I got home. 233 miles! This going away on the motorbike is an escape. It is selfish and self indulgent. But I love doing it. I believe it is trying to run away from trouble, running away from sin. It is probably trying to find Heaven. You can only find Heaven by believing in Jesus Christ.