Road trip to Scotland and finding the ‘left road’ – Part 2
I started this blog post (in Part 1) by saying how pleased I was to be able to at long last get away on a bike, and continue to feel just a little that things are heading towards a return to some sort of normality after the restrictions we have all had to deal with over the last 15 months.
Part 1 had a few words and a couple of sets of pictures from the first two days of this trip to Scotland, and they covered my journey from Manchester in the North West to my overnight stops in Girvan and Oban on the West Coast of Scotland.
After my first overnight stop in Girvan I had decided to head for the coastal town of Oban. After Oban I headed to Buckie on the Moray Firth for an overnight stop before the final full day of this trip and turning to head south for my last overnight stop in the delightful town of Moffat in Dumfriesshire.
Continuing to enjoy Scotland
My accommodation in Girvan had been OK but my accommodation at Wellpark House in Oban had been excellent and after a very decent and hearty breakfast I loaded up my bike and set off for Buckie, another coastal town and one that had its heyday back in the 1930s when it was a significant fishing port (mainly for herring).
Not surprisingly Scotland didn’t disappoint me and the next couple of days riding were as excellent and enjoyable as the first couple of days.
I travelled on excellent roads that for the most part were quiet, obviously there were a few places where there was more traffic than would have been my preference, but these were not really significant and the routes I planned each evening worked out pretty well.
The BMW F800R was great and is an easy bike to travel and tour on – it’s also remarkably efficient and consistently knocks out about 70mpg!
Day 3 – route
I headed towards Fort William via the A82 and then took the A86 for Blargie. Later I headed towards Aviemore and Speybridge before making a short diversion to Nairn (which is about 16 or so miles along the coast from Inverness). I had no particular reason to go via Nairn other than it was a place that my wife and I stayed at for a few days a couple of years ago and I thought I’d just call there for that reason. After a short stop in Nairn I made my way to Lossiemouth and then Buckie but no before stopping on the coast roads to watch and photograph the seals basking in the sunshine. The Moray Firth is actually home to around 900 harbour seals, and as many as 1,300 grey seals visit the area in the summer months.
Day 4 – route and finding the ‘left road’
My overnight stay in Buckie at Struan House was ideal, with very good accommodation and first class hosts. Not only was the breakfast itself superbly presented and cooked but the breakfast ‘environment’ was the best of this trip and was taken around a shared dining table that encouraged and led to interesting conversations with the other guests. Whist chatting over breakfast and seeking ‘local’ advice about the best route to take, one guest mentioned the road that ‘the bikers take’ and that she said locally was known as the ‘left road’. We chatted about this and it was pretty much one of two potential routes I had marked out for consideration. Once she had said it was the road that the bikers took that sealed my decision.
The road is sometimes also referred to as part of The Snow Roads scenic route and the Whisly Trail. It’s really quite stunning and if you haven’t traveled in that area I’d most certainly recommend you try it – it’s an absolute joy.
I headed for Aberlour, Glenlivet and Braemar and then to Kirkmichael before negotiating some much duller roads in and around Perth and Falkirk before heading for Biggar and then finally onto Moffat for my last overnight stay of the trip.
My overnight stay in Moffat was at the same B&B that I always stay at when I am in Moffat – Seamore House, always a comfy bed, a pleasant host and a decent breakfast and this trip was no exception and once again I had been happy to make my overnight stay there.
Day 5 and home
For the first time on the trip the weather looked a little unsettled and with the lightest of drizzle I set off and headed for Selkirk via the A708 one of my favourite UK roads that in part runs alongside St Mary’s Loch. I have traveled on this road more times than I can recall and it never disappoints me … although the sheep were out in force and so some extra care and attention was needed.
The rain had cleared long before Selkirk and it turned into another warm and dry day – I hadn’t bothered planning a route for this fifth and final day as it’s one that I am familiar with and I pretty much just headed for Penrith, Carlisle and home.
Another great trip
It really was a very good trip – great weather and roads, magnificent scenery, good accommodation and good hosts. All in all a really nice way to continue the return to some form of new normal.
All things being equal I’ll be hoping to be making another short bike trip before the summer is out – I won’t be doing a European trip, so although I still have a ticket down to Spain booked, I won’t be using it this year so who knows, maybe I’ll make another Scotland trip in the sunshine.
Photographs are in two separate galleries below – Photo gallery day 3 and Photo gallery day 4 & 5 respectively
Photo gallery – day 3
Clicking on any of the pictures below will open a gallery that you can scroll or click through (scroll down for the final set of pictures from day 4 and 5)
Photo gallery – day 4 & 5
Clicking on any of the pictures below will open a gallery that you can scroll or click through