Motorcycle road trip to Scotland July 2021 – Part 1
Getting away for a few days on a bike is always something I enjoy.
Getting away for a few days on a bike to Scotland – with a near certain forecast of good weather for the duration of the trip really is something special, something to enjoy and something to behold. So even before the key had turned in the ignition, the starter pressed and a wheel turned this trip had potential to be decent.
Regular readers will know I was away north of the border a few weeks ago (back in June) when I had taken some time out and had four nights/five days in Scotland, you can read about that trip by clicking this link. This trip was set to be the same duration and all I really needed to do was decide where I was going to head to. The pictures in this post cover day one of the trip and the first of my stopovers in a brilliant B&B in Irvine in north Ayreshire.
I took this trip at fairly short notice with the timing pretty much driven by the weather forecast and my desire to make the most of it. Fortunately having the flexibility to travel at short notice can reduce the risk of ‘getting lucky’ with the weather. On this occasion the forecasts were so good that I was confident in taking the inner lining out of my jacket and leaving it at home with my clear visor – and that’s not something I do so often on a UK trip.
I had pretty much decided I would:
1 – head up to the west coast via the Galloway Forest. Although it’s an area that I have biked through many times, I don’t think I will ever tire of its space, colour or beauty. I just love this area and the roads that cross the forest;
2 – aim to get to Mallaig and Ullapool and at some point head through Glencoe. Despite having been to Scotland more times than I recall I had only ever been to Mallaig on one previous occasion and that was some 30 or so years ago, Ullapool is a place I had never been to and Glencoe just hits all the right buttons as both a biker and a tourist. It is simply spectacular; and
3 – include the small town of Buckie in my route and stay at Struan House an absolute gem of a stopover, and a place that I have stayed at previously and written about in an earlier post.. This third part of my ‘plan’ was because I had enjoyed my visit so much to Buckie the previous month that I just wanted to go there again and also check out that I could find the place with the colony of seals I had seen so I could visit there on a future occasion with my wife.
The above were probably the only things I had in mind and that I really wanted to do, beyond that I just wanted to ride a bike again in Scotland.
I decided I would take the BMW F800R for this trip, partly because in many ways it’s the most practical for this type of trip, although as I have done the last four trips to Scotland on this F800 maybe I will take the RnineT next time, which I have used for Scotland at least a couple of times previously and of course travelled extensively in Spain and Portugal on back in 2018.
All in all I travelled a total of 1,262 miles more or less incident free miles, with probably the best of my five days away being Day 2 and 3 – when I rode to Mallaig and Ullapool respectively.
In broad terms I headed for Irvine via Shap, Carlisle, Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart, Glentrool and Maybole. This route took me through the delightful Galloway Forest. On occasions I turned onto roads simply because they were there or because I hadn’t been down them before. The weather remained pretty much perfect for the day with temperatures rising to around 27/28c, the roads were good and surprisingly quiet and it all made for a very decent day on the bike.
Two picture galleries – and where to stay in Irvine
This blog post has two picture galleries. The first set of images is the usual ‘on the road’ type pictures, the second set are from the very decent accommodation that I stayed in at Braidmead House in Irvine. It really is an ideal stopover if you are traveling through or looking to base yourself in that area.
Why stay in Irvine?
On previous trips along the west coast of Ayrsehire I have stayed in Stranraer (a couple of times), Prestwick, Girvan and a little further up at Dunoon on the Cowal peninsular – I pretty much made my decision to stay in Irvine because I hadn’t been there before and because it fitted well with my plan to head to Mallaig.
I stayed at a B&B called Braidmead House which is a really well renovated Victorian mansion close to the centre of Irvine. It was first built 1851 for a ships captain and over the years has been used for a variety of trades including one that is often referred to as the oldest profession in the world!
It looks to me as though nothing has been left untouched in the renovation and restoration work, and it has a real quality and homely feel to it. Location wise it’s pretty handy for the town centre so there are no problems finding somewhere to eat and drink. From a general welcome and hospitality perspective Braidmead House is just superb, there really isn’t anything that’s too much trouble. It’s a lovely, well fitted out and furnished place and makes for a very decent and very comfortable stay
From a biker perspective, there are no worries about parking – there is plenty of space, it’s in a quiet location and leaves you feeling confident your bike is safe and secure.
I like to stay in different places but the quality of welcome, comfort and attention that I received here is sure to call me back to stay again, in much the same way that Struan House in Buckie had done and that was calling me back later in the week.
I have no connection with Braidmead House other than that i stayed there – but honestly if you’re in that area check it out. I just can’t imagine you will be disappointed.
Scroll down to Picture gallery two to see Braidmead House and to find the link to Part Two.
Picture gallery one – on the road
Clicking on any of the images below will open a picture gallery that you can scroll or click through.
Picture gallery two – accomodation
If you have read this far then you will know that the town of Irvine was the destination for my first stop on this trip.