20th July 2013

An Adventure or a Disaster?

This day ended up a bit differently from expected. You never know what’s round the next corner. My brother, Bill, had to get a new magneto cover fitted to his Hyosung Aquilla before its 2 year guarantee ran out. The only place that can do this sort of repair ‘locally’ is Tom Anderson in Elgin. So Bill asked would I like a trip to Elgin and beyond. The forecast was outstanding so the trip was on.

I forgot my camera so thanks to Bill for the super photos. Bill came for me about 8.35 am and we left about 8.40. We stopped in Inverness at Tesco for me to get petrol and cash, and Bill the lavatory in Tesco. Then we motored along to Elgin. The morning was cool a har having come in from the sea. Bill picked up petrol in Tesco, Elgin.

We got to Tom’s about 10.20 but the bike was not ready till about 11.45. We chatted with people, looked at bikes, and I went to Tesco to get Yazoo banana milk and coke. Then I went back to Tom’s where the bike was ready but the har had burned back and the temperature was rocketing.

Then we went on the extended return home. We headed down to Keith and took the road just before it that cuts across Scotland to Craigellachie where we joined the A95 to Aviemore. We stopped before Craigellachie for our picnic lunch by the hot side of the road.

Get these over-trousers off!

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A maniac on a motorbike doing some unearthly speed on the bends stopped for a blether. Bill and I moved on swapping bikes for a while and mine started playing up on Bill, misfiring, backfiring, losing power and being a bit horrid. It had done this little trick a couple of weeks ago when I went north to Thurso. But it cleared up that day. We stopped before Aviemore to return bikes and then headed to Aviemore.

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I picked up petrol there. Then we moved onto Kingussie and my bike started playing up again. We stopped in Newtonmore for an ice-cream. The selection of individual ice-creams in the COOP there is not good. You can get packets of eight! What use is that for two! The thermometer on Bills bike was reading 32°C and it was so, so hot. But we shouldn’t complain. This sort of weather comes to us rarely. The last three summers have been pretty bad.

We moved onto the Laggan road heading to Speanbridge. The bike ran OK for 20 miles or so and then had a real hissing fit. When I stopped it refused to start, in fact the starter motor wouldn’t even turn. Now here’s where the day went pear shaped. I took the tank off, the headlight off, checked connections, checked the carbs, etc. and found no spark. I hunted high and low at 32°C being bitten by cleggs. It was horrendous. I just couldn’t get anywhere with it.

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Bill had a look at the scenery which I never saw! He even found the old road.

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After an hour we decided that Bill should go and look for the nearest house so I could leave the bike there. But the thought of pushing it in this heat!! Bill found a house about a mile away but nobody was at home. By that time I had got the brute started!! I shouldn’t call it a brute as I love my old XS but it let me down big style. I took the fuses out and cleaned the connections and the starter motor turned and I had a spark – great! But it wouldn’t idle and popped and banged on the overrun – a sure sign of an air leak. It also had to have the tap kept on prime. So its a leak in the vacuum hose to the fuel tap or the tap itself. However the bike was running and kept running. So on we went.

We tanked onto Speanbridge and then up the Great Glen. We had a stop at Bridge of Oich. Stupidly we missed a boat going through the locks on the canal!

Strange picture – there seems to be a heavenly light shining on us!

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Then we went on to Fort Augustus where Bill took on petrol and I went into the public loo to wash my hands which were like a coal-mans. We headed up Loch Ness passing a serious accident, one car being crushed and on its roof. Loch Ness side is not a race track! By this time I was starting to trust the bike more. It still would not idle but it was running at cruising speed beautifully. We stopped at Drumnadrochit and went to the chip shop. I got a chicken supper to be washed down with Coke, Bill a fish supper to be washed down with Irn Bru. We sat at a picnic bench in the park beside the Shinty pitch.

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We had a good rest here and thankfully the day was starting to cool so I put on over-trousers for the rest of the trip. We headed to the Coul na Kirk and over to Beauly. We stopped on the Coul na Kirk to answer nature’s call.

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Even Bill put on his over-trousers here! Before Muir of Ord we cut onto the Black Isle and onto Ferintosh. We stopped to have a look at the preaching site at Ferintosh Burn. Open air services were held here many years ago. My mum remembers coming to them and hearing the Gaelic Psalm singing as they made their way up the burn. There are still services held here as a bit of a gimmick. In the past there was not space in the churches, that’s why they were held outside. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the case now. There were too many people wanting to worship God than could be fitted in the church building!

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But the journey is ending. We headed down the Black Isle to the Cromarty Bridge. Then headed along the A9 and up the Struie Road and got home about 9.00. What a day. It will stick in our memories – disasters always do!