I’ve driven most of these roads before but once again they are taking the breath away. Even more so on a motorcycle, where you can feel the crisp bite of the country air, smell the damp peat and wet grass, taste the slightly salty tang on the breeze and hear the gentle bleat of the lambs. We’ve arrived in the Highlands and its spectacular.
Tuesday saw us back in North Berwick to pick up the bikes and finally get this trip underway. I’m not going to start counting the days just yet as we’ll only start doing that once we hit John O’Groats and start heading south again but it finally feels like this whole adventure is real. All the gear is packed, there’s no more last-minute shopping and all the visas that could be done in London are done. It was time to stop messing around and hit the open road. So we did and even found ourself with an escort of two more bikes for the first little leg to Edinburgh which was great fun. A biker gang of 4, no one was messing with us.
From there we sadly left the other 2 behind and ventured off by ourselves. Just me and Bruce… For the next 5 months…. This’ll get interesting….. First stop was Sterling where it would have been rude not pop in and see Stirling castle. The castle itself perches ominously atop a hill overlooking its surrounds and I must be honest rivals Edinburgh castle itself in terms of splendour. From there it was off to the Trussochs national park where we stayed the night in a lovely B&B, which was a breath of fresh air compared to the hostels down in London, even managing to make the most of a surprising ray of sunshine or two and take a refreshing stroll through the country lanes to the local pub.After a very hearty breakfast the next day, with haggis and a touch of black pudding of course, it was time to brave the rain that had set in overnight. Rain or shine not much could damper our spirits however as we did some of the most spectacular riding of our lives through the Trussochs and lakes. Granted we don’t exactly have a very deep riding background to draw on just yet, but I’d say that stretch of road will stick around as being up there with the best for a long while. Picture winding mountain roads, a scattering of bogs and lochs, a few highland sheep and the odd snow-capped peak thrown in for good measure. The only thing that could have made the day better would have to be a pair of old Bruce’s heated Gerbing gloves, I’m officially stating I’m jealous, watching the air temperature gauge on the bike slowly drop down to 4 degrees was heartbreaking for my poor little fingers all the while hail was bouncing off my visor.
We finished up the day on the banks of the majestic Loch Ness. No Nessy in sight but definitely didn’t stop us enjoying a well-earned dram of the good stuff.
Today we ride up to John O’Groats where we’ll spend the night and then we’re off. Heading South East for the next 140 days or so.
I couldn’t decide on which photos to put in so thought I’d put it in slide show form.. Not sure how well it works so any advice welcome.