Okay let's get it out of my system before I start: it rained softly, then it rained a lot, then it didn't then it rained a little, then it rained while we were sleeping a LOT, then it rained now and then, then it didn't, then it rained again, then when we were waiting after the day's ride on day two the sun came out, then it rained and it rained the next day leaving and then it was dry when we were almost home on the way home. That pretty much sums up the weather. Oh no I forgot there was a hurricane next to us pretty much all Sunday. BUT the roads were amazing!!!!
Okay so we met up at Kincadine. Boney and NW Den and I were away to Oban/Mull for the weekend. Just a bucket list type of trip. We rode from Kincardine bridge to Crieff.
As usual I'm the one with the buggered tyre, my own fault as usual, I probably could have done the trip (nah don't really think so tbh) but the tyre was pretty flat spotted in the middle even if the wear indicator said it should be fine. I knew of a tyre place in Crieff and stopped there to ask if they have a tyre in stock. Glad I did as they have racks and racks of tyres. If you come up to tour Scotland and will need a tyre on the way up or down then book it in there. Had a great chat with the folks about the local boy, Ewan McGregor while waiting. New tyre fitted felt great, old one was holding onto the grooves in the road and not feeling safe at all.
Tyre place's details (they have all the makes and types you will need) and one to save onto your phone for a emergency:http://www.criefftyres.co.uk/
Strathearn Tyres, The Turret, Burrell Street, Crieff, Perthshire, PH7 4DG
And off we went to Tyndrum (Green Welly) via Aberfeldy. Got stuck in a tailback going 3-5 miles out of Tyndrum due to the road we were going to use being shut. That re-opened while were having a break at the Green Welly. Out of Tyndrum towward Oban was a great ride, love the A85. It was damp at time and fine tbh but once we left Inverary the heavens opened up. We got soaked. I realised even if I get soaked to the skin and it's warm I can handle it fine. We stopped Lochgilphead and got some plastic inner gloves form the petrol pumps, it's better to keep the hands warm even if the gloves are soaked this way. Off over Lochgilphead pass and into the back of Oban. Fuelled up and parked at the back of the B&B. A very basic one tbh but we had save parking for the bikes in the back. As long as you're careful where you step as for some odd reason they can't pick up the dog turds lying all over the place. Not a great 1st impression.
We went walking in town looking for a place to eat and ended up in the new location of the Wetherspoons. I had a great burger and the guys enjoyed their meals. Good chef there. Back to B&B while walking about town.
Was woken up by torrential rain during the night and Saturday morning we got up at 0630 (well I did, Boney and Den was up earlier). Made the ferry port at 0715 and was on the ferry like the animals of the Ark, two by two. Well me and Den, Boney was told to hond on, so Den and I went in and waved from the back of the ferry to Boney (we he of course never saw) and waited to see if all is okay with him being allowed onboard. We had a light breakfast and after 45min got off at Craignure. We let the cars drive for 10-15min before we set off. As we had 8 hours on a 5 hour ride we weren't to fuzzed about things.
I took lead and once again found that 99% of people will stop on the single carriage road if bikes is coming the opposite direction riding in the centre of the road. If you ride hugging the left the cars don't stop and try and come passed you. The 1% are of course blind idiots and will do either way. Had a moment with an aggressive bus driver but he was just being a prat to everyone as the car behind him gave up and let us pass in the end which made no difference as he wouldn't let any traffic passed and on single carriage roads you don't take chances. He didn't slow down on the one place you can pass for a short distance and I wasn't going to go passed where the road was about to become a single lane in again with 50meters. I took all the details of the bus, I might do an old fart thing and contact the bus company and report him for his driving lol. Don't know if I want to spend the time and energy on that though.
We missed the ferry by a few minutes getting things ready and waited on its return from Iona. We found the "famous" seafood hut that was built on top of the bike parking bays at Fionnphort, made a joke to them about it as well. I bet no Scottish biker will be buying anything from them as a picture of their hut been circulating the Scottish boards.
Had something to drink and 30min later went across the short distance to Iona.
Walked to the Abbey but at £7 entry we weren't that interested in seeing it.
I ended up talking to a 77 year old Scotsman from Glasgow. He was in the Blackwatch and a few stories were told, I saw the ferry on it's way back and we started on the way back to the ferry. We didn't make it though and sat around waiting for it to come back, of course they had their lunch and that was 30min later before they came across and got us. The wind had picked up a little by then. I met a couple with their kids and they loved my gaffer tape jacket sleeve (my jacket seam has torn from wrist to elbow and 3 strips of gaffer tape is holding it together). He had a laugh about how gaffer tape is the saviour of all people that want to keep using something when it's clearly time to get a new one. I mentioned out route and she warned us off doing the east to west loop after Tobermory as traffic caused them a 3 hour drive for a 45min route. See missing a ferry is fate and you get info you wouldn't have had otherwise and there was a knock on effect (later on this).
We left and rode back till we hit the B8035 road. What a bad start that road has, I stopped after a few miles and asked the guys if they want to turn around but we kept at it and soon it became better. Slow going as lots of blind bends but the worth the ride. We ended after a while back on the main route between Craignure and Tobermory. Started on the road north and after a short while I lost the guys. I turned around fearing the worst. I came around the bend and there were cars parked up and a bike being lifted up. I parked up and pulled my key out of the ignition (yeah don't leave you key EVER in the bike). A young lady on a 125 had grabbed her brakes after the car slowed down and locked the front and she went down in front of the guys. They were there helping her and getting things sorted. Her bike and she went a little further down the road and was recovering, a nurse stopped and went to speak to her. The guys were sorting out he road and traffic and I rode down and spoke to her. We all re-assured her that these things happen and made sure she was okay. I pulled out the gaffer tape I brought with me (see it had a reason to be in the bag this trip) and we patched up her bodywork. She had hurt her ribs and it was a tad tender. Her kit did its job, scuffed and scraped but she will survive. A nice lady and a real tomboy. She said she's the only female firefighter in her area. Off she went down the road and on we went. She gave us the location of our lunch spot. If we didn't miss the ferry then we wouldn't have met her, helped her and gotten a nice lunch spot info. Lunch was in the bakery in Tobermory, had to wait a long time for a table but lunch was worth the wait. It did help that it was peeing down outside and we were in side. After that we set off back to the ferry port and arrived as the cars were being stacked for the ferry before ours. I spoke to the office and they passed us onto the guy at the cars and we were onto the earlier ferry. Great result and off course the sun came out at the point, just to drive home how crappy the weather had been for us.
The views are stunning on Mull, woods, mountains, waterfalls, seascapes, etc. Well worth a visit!
Ferry back to Oban and back to Wetherspoon for a different meal.
Woke up to howling winds a few times during the night but all was fine in the morning. Had breakfast and mentioned to the B&B about the dog poo giving a back impression of the place even though we do appreciate having the secure parking place. I felt me having to clean up their dog poo a bit much when I parked up for the night. Having to juggle your #### cheeks on a broken toilet seat was the other thing I had to mention to them, not fun and a possible nut cracker. Oh yes I have to mention the hotel behind us had privacy stickers on the bathrooms, I nearly hurled my breakfast when some hairy person went in and got undressed, thankfully the towel was kept on. thankfully you might not be able to see details BUT you can sure as hell see enough that I know those privacy stickers don't work at all. Oh why couldn't it have been a beautiful woman I asked myself, my bloody luck!
Off we set and we had a good ride down and once we hit Callander we were in the sunshine. I took the guys onto the back road towards Abington, the roads I use a lot for commuting to meet ups and roads I have learnt to enjoy a lot. We all arrived safely back home and it was a great weekend with old friends and great roads.