Monday, 11 August 2014

Exploring the West Coast (Scotland)

Just back from a 4 day short trip exploring the West Coast around Applecross/Ullapool. Went on my own on a 19992 DR650 which was ideal for the roads in the area.

First day was from Troon to Applecross going across on the Dunoon ferry, through Inverary, Glen Orchy, Ft William, Lochcarron etc.

On the Dunoon Ferry, Looks Like Rain!!

Glen Orchy

Clunie Dam, Raining Again but a Chance to get 'Off-Road'

Back In The Sunshine 
Rain Again? Surely Not.
Bealach na Ba

Applecross Campsite

Potatoes On the Boil

Day 2 took me to Torridon , Lower Diabeg, Poolewe, down to a disused WW2 coastal battery at the mouth of Loch Ewe and from there to Ullapool.

Turn Left Past The Applecross Inn and Keep Going

Turn Left At Torridon, 9 Miles Down and 9 Back to Lower Diabeg

Lower Diabeg

Looking Towards Torridon on the Road Back from Lower Diabeg

Beinn Eighe

WW2 Coastal Battery, Loch Ewe

Memorial to Those Who Lost Their Lives on the Arctic Convoys, One wreath was to those lost on the HMS Maharatta 

Broomfield Campsite
MSR Whisperlite Intl, and Trangia 27 Kettle, 25+ Years Old and Still Going Strong
Loch Broom

Day 3 was the start of the return route, I went from Ullapool across the country to Muir of Ord, Beauly, along Glen Affric to Cannich and from there to Drumnadrochit and on to Ft William.

Tim & Nick, Father and Son from North Dakota, talking Bikes in Drumnadrochit

Cooking Under the Flysheet in Glen Nevis

Relaxing, lying on half of the 'Footprint' 
The Best Motorcycle Boots I've ever had, Haix Goretex Lined, German Army Issue. Waterproof & Breathable 10/10  

Still Raining

Standing Water in the porch at @5.00am After 12 hours of persistent rain followed by a Thunderstorm.

Stopped Raining at Last.

The last day saw me leave Ft William and go by Glencoe, a detour down to Loch Etive and back then continuing along Loch Lomond, over the Erskine bridge and down to Troon via Greenock, Inverkip etc.

Stopped for Lunch at Glencoe 

Glen Etive

Glen Etive

Glen Etive

The advantage of having going lightweight when backpacking was that my gear fitted in a 35L roll bag and small ammunition box which I'd bolted to my luggage rack. That might seem like a fairly large amount of kit but on a motorcycle I need to carry tools and spares that I wouldn't carry when walking. I also took real cooking kit including a Petrol Stove (I can use fuel from the bike) so that I could actually cook rather than use freeze dried meals.

My gear was all stuff I've used in the past, still using the Phreeranger in spite of having bought a TN Laser Comp, Wild Country Zephyros 1 and Robens Mythos Solo since I last posted on the blog. I also used my PHD Ultra Minim, a Multimat Self inflate mat and MSR Whisperlite. The only problem I had was after the thunderstorm in Ft William, the sewn-in groundsheet on the Phreeranger isn't waterproof but I've always managed using a Silnylon footprint. Unfortunately during the 5.00am thunderstorm the ground couldn't take the amount of rain and with about half an inch of standing water it got between the footprint and sewn-in groundsheet and then soaked through to the inner. Thankfully my kit remained dry (the important stuff anyway) as I was on the sleeping mat, only my bike jacket and trousers were slightly wet. It's something that needs sorted properly though but in the meantime I'll have to use the Robens Mythos Solo even if it is a significantly smaller than the Phreeranger.