Just for a change the rain was lashing down when we left home. We decided to head for Fort William going up through Glencoe. The ride was a bit of a chore with the constant rain and cold winds so we pulled into the Green Welly, a mandatory stop on this road, to grab a coffee and warm up.
After drip drying for half and hour over a coffee and a steak roll, we headed back into the rain. By this time the rain had teamed with with low cloud and mist as we climbed over Rannoch Moor to make Glencoe instantly forgettable, on this occasion. Stopping at Fort William in the unrelenting rain we decided not to hang around and press on for Newtonmore and our first stop.
As we sat down to a set menu, warm beer and wine surrounded by bus loads of tourists we realised why it was so cheap! Still the food was OK...
Friday brought blue skies, at last! After breakfast we headed over to the A9 to get up to Inverness before heading for Ullapool. Once past Inverness on the A835 we stopped at Rogie Falls for a look.
|Rogie Falls, well worth a visit|
The sky was still blue as we left Rogie Falls and continued towards Ullapool. After passing through Garve and Gorstan the A835 becomes a fast inviting road that urges you to press on, even two up on a loaded bike. It is one of my favourite roads on the RT, it suits the RT down to the ground. The road surface is smooth and grippy and the bend are fast and flowing with few few surprises to catch you out as you take in the scenery, especially over Loch Glascarnoch to the hills beyond. Loch Broom appearing on the left means that Ullapool and lunch are close and soon enough we are parked up in Ullapool outside The Frigate and ready for lunch.
|Audrey and RT at Ardmair|
The rain was now back on for real so we decided to head to Sleeperzzz as quickly as we could. At Ledmore we picked up the A837 and headed for Lairg. The rain rain slowly eased off again and by the time we were on the banks of Loch Borralan the roads were dry. The A837 is a great wee single track road, the surface is fine and it is easy to see well ahead making it an unusually fast single track road. Lairg came and went and we arrived at Rogart just in time to get some supplies before the local Spar closed then nipped over to the Pittentrail Inn for dinner and a couple of drinks.
|RT Shacked up on nice new concrete at Sleeperzzz, the new gravel was another story!|
|The old waiting room at Sleeperzzz, a cracking wee bedsit for two.|
|The view from our window from the Old Waiting Room at Sleeperzzz|
|The clouds joining us again, no rain though|
|Audrey and RT on the Tongue causeway|
|Low dark clouds and mist over the hills west of Tongue|
|Tea & cake in Thurso|
|Dunnet beach under cloudy skies, it would be stunning under a blue sky|
|RT Hiding in the dunes at Dunnet beach|
|Audrey at Dunnet Head|
|...and just to prove it really was Dunnet Head.|
|As we were up here anyway it would have been rude not to!|
I know I moan about the A9, but the stretch from Latheron down to Golspie is spectacular, both for the views and for the riding. The hills around Berriedale then the fast and flowing curves that follow taking you to Helmsdale. All this with the North Sea off to your left as the road dips and dives to and from the coast make for some great riding. The ride back down to Sleeperzzz was great, Audrey was really getting into the swing of things and cornering before me!
We were both done when we got back so we whipped up a pasta dinner in the digs and just chilled out at Sleeperzzz with wine and beer.
On Sunday we were planning to ride home down through Braemar and Glenshee but the weather had taken a turn for the worse and the rain was back. The forecast for the Glenshee area was biblical, so the decision was made to endure the A9 and just get home. It was a wise choice, we hit some rain, but over to our left over the Cairngorms the rain was sheeting down and the sky as dark as I have ever seen. We had a quick stop at Ralia for coffee, but that was the highlight of the run home.
|The Ralia coo|
|What we did|