So there y'are. I'm back on Shorty's Suzuki. Tearing along country roads towards Oban on the evening before the Longest Day, and although it's been warm through the daylight hours, the clouds are brewing and the sun keeps hiding behind big lumpy hilly bits. I can't be bothered to stop and put my padded over trousers on, even though my legs are going numb with the cold breeze, but I'm nearly there. Just another fifty miles to go. No, can't be that close already. Ah, hang on, this thing works in kilometres. I know the thing that most, if not all of you want to read about, is the bike, but sadly I can't comment too much on it, because the whole purpose of having it on long term loan, is to do a write up for a magazine. So the best I can do, is to let you know when and where you can read all about it. Finally made it to Oban, grabbed a healthy take away meal and stuffed it in my rucksack. I don't know if the lady at Glenroy B&B could smell it or not, but she didn't let on. She was probably horrified at this frozen, stammering little girlie who'd stumbled into her house at bang on the time she had estimated (9pm), who had trouble signing in as her fingers wouldn't bend. Even after my smoked sausage and chips I was still cold, so filled the kettle and had a hot chocolate. And a Kitkat. And a couple of short bread biscuits. What? Well they're put in the room for people to eat, so I might as well oblige! Snuggled down under the duvet, piled the towels from the bathroom and my spare clothes on top of me and watched a very interesting programme about brain surgery while I thawed out. Deep brain stimulation and the pioneering lobotomists. Fascinating stuff. Up later than planned on Sunday, had a lovely breakfast, got chatting to the gentleman of the house about bikes - he used to have a Triumph, and a BSA, and something called a 'Onda I think it was. As a result, the B&B is ultra bike friendly, with a private car / bike park, and they even provide bits of wood should you need something to put under the sidestand. I apologise to them if Room 7 had a slight odour of stale chips about it! http://www.glenroyguesthouse.co.uk/
So back on the bike, finally found a petrol station, filled up, and it started to rain. On the with the waterproofs and track back along the A85 to Taynuilt and the start of the Bracken Trundle. By the time I arrived, most people were already gathered in the Bridge of Awe hotel, munching bacon rolls and signing on. Lots of faces there I knew, and some I didn't. Decided it was best just to follow someone - chose Peter Oram - who promptly rode off out of the hotel car park the wrong way up a one way system. Made an executive decision not to follow Peter! Tagged on behind a batch of bikes and once off the main road, the group settled into a steady chuggy pace, winding along a single track up and over the hill, dodging sheep and cattle. The views would have been stunning had it not been for the low cloud and intermittent rain throughout the day. As we came around a corner, a beautifully moody view across a loch spread out in front of us, so me being me, I had to stop. Waved the rest of the group past, took a few shots, and then somehow, got left way, way behind. Rattled on at a sharp pace on the Suzi - really quite a racy little number ya know, and then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Ralph (from the Auld Reekie VMCC Section) on his Commando, awaiting my arrival in a lay by. He signalled for me to take the next left, so I did, and we whirled along more single tracks that twisted and turned down into valleys and weaved in and out of small pockets of trees. Playing catch up is fun. Ralph took the lead at the next junction, and within a few minutes we'd caught up, and tagged along at the rear of the group until the lunch stop at the Creagan Inn. Thank you to Peter and Chris for lunch and drinkies.
After lunch, I made yet another executive decision and opted to follow the rear end of Bill's Laverda Jarama. I don't know how we did it, but even stopping to consult Bill's compass several times, we ended up back at the Bridge of Awe before anyone else. *Note: never follow a man who doesn't have a compass. Peter came in just minutes after us, so I suspect he was waiting around the corner...not wanting to go in the wrong way on the one way system or something... Tea (but I don't drink tea), coffee (and I don't drink coffee) and sarnies and biscuits (I DO eat sarnies and biscuits) were provided and we noshed our way through about half a dozen trays of them. Had time for a good chat with a few people, and before I knew it, the hours had ticked by and it was time for me to head home. The road from Taynuilt to Tyndrum is simply divine, but overly decorated with signs showing bendy bits and instructing the rider / driver to slow down. Hmmm. Me thinks you'll have a hard time getting any biker to slow down along there. Although, having said that, I didn't feel the need to exceed any speed limits, it's simply a great road to ride in a smooth and easy fashion. Got some stunning scenery too, winding around the base of Ben Cruachan, known as the Hollow Mountain - Google it if you don't know what I'm on about, and on the other side is Loch Awe and more sweeping shale covered hillsides, topped with more low cloud! Heading east and the weather brightened a little, still not exactly my idea of the Summer Solstice but better than nothing. By this time I was getting more used to the revvy nature of the Suzuki - it's a GS450S by the way, and was able to make the most of all those beautiful, well surfaced corners. After a long weekend of travelling and eating, home is the main thing on my mind, so I opted for the A90 to take me north. Some five hours after leaving the Trundlers, I arrived back at GBC Towers, somewhat peckish and a little tired. Which I am now, so if you'll excuse me, I'm off to bed, will check the above for nonsense, and stick the pics up tomorrow after fence mending. Ta ra. Many thanks to Pat & Jim for a great run, shame about the weather, but that's half the fun, now we've got something to moan about!