Thursday 19th September 2019
Not solely an Isle of Skye adventure, that was the theme though for this intrepid group of crazy people on motorbikes! For some it was a first visit to Scotland and for others a first visit to the West Highlands and Islands.
I did say crazy people! Six in fact, from different walks of life, all hard working with many common interests; motorbikes, spirit of adventure, stunning scenery, food and of course drink, lots of drink!
Day 1 for me was in fact day 2 for Maja, Delie, Jules, Roey and Daz. My good friends had travelled from England and Wales with a stopover near Dumfries. We were scheduled to meet at Dumbarton around about midday!
The social media bio of Maja is ‘the one thing to remember about an adventure is, that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all’. So it was to be; 12:00, 12:30, 13:00, 13:30 oh there they are 😂. How can you lose each other on the M74 northbound 🤷♂️.
We had a coffee and it was lovely to renew acquaintance again after many many months and to meet Daz for the first time, he turned out to be a top bloke. We had to hacksaw open someone’s top box (the Africa Twin boy) to retrieve his ignition keys then we were rolling out of Dumbarton on the A82 heading northwest. Bound for Oban in fact, and my first overnight stop.
I’d generally planned the route for these good friends and wanted to show off some of the fantastic scenery and biking roads that are available in Scotland. This is my playground, I’m often to be found year around in the North West Highlands, on the motorbike loaded with camping gear.
I often refer to the west coast of Scotland as my spiritual home. The route to Oban was the A83 to Inveraray, then south to Lochgilphead and north on the A816 to hit Oban from the south. I know the towns and surrounding areas very well having lived and worked in them for some 10-years.
First picture stop was the iconic viewpoint on the A83 at the top of the Rest and be Thankful. It provides fabulous views down Glen Croe and of the mountain range commonly known as the Arrochar Alps.
Next stop was Inveraray, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll and a town with much history. It’s very popular with tourists, day trippers and bikers. At this point Delie’s STrumpet hit the 60,000 mile mark, a time and place forever to be remembered. After a break and chat we continued south on the A83 to Lochgilphead then continued north on the A816 heading to Oban.
That was not without a short but very worthwhile detour at Cairnbaan where we took the road alongside the Crinan Canal to then cross the bridge at Bellanoch and take the B8025 through the Moine Mhor National Nature Reserve to Kilmartin. An area with the richest concentrations of prehistoric monuments and historical sites in Scotland.
We soon arrived at Oban, our good friend Jules had sorted the accommodation for the trip and that turned out to be excellent. It was a long day though, after a quick shower it was fizz time. Well for the three of us staying at the Premier Inn 😂. The Prosecco was uncorked and that set the tone for the rest of the evening 😀.
Maja, Jules and I met the rest of the crew at the Oban Inn. We were starving by this time, it was approaching 9pm and we were looking forward to some good food. First up was some drinks in the beer garden. I love Oban, lived there for 6-years, my youngest lad arrived into the world there and I’ve many fond memories from work and family life. I was an upstanding member of the community at one time, that was until tonight 😬!
The bar kitchen was closed! Nearby however was the Pizza restaurant and of course Oban being Oban a multitude of fish and chip shops (you have to get good fish in Oban). So, the idea was, we’d order pizza to the beer garden 👍 but then some bright spark thought it a good idea to check at the bar first!
Well the answer was obviously going to be no! So the next plan was to order anyway and hide the pizzas! Yeah, pizza boxes don’t hide well under tables, especially at the same time as your trying to scoff the lot. Clearly, by this time alcohol was affecting judgement 🥴. We were rumbled and barred from the pub, not sure I’ve ever been barred in such a way before, proud to wear the badge anyway 🤣.
We respectfully left, I steered my friends to the Lorne Hotel which has a great central bar. I like pubs like that, there I introduced Daz to Talisker single malt, and that was of be his favourite tipple for the rest of the adventure. It had been a great day, fabulous weather, great friends, the best of biking roads and stunning scenery.
Day 2 next – Oban to Portree!