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Home Travel StoriesBute And Kintyre 2019

Bute And Kintyre - But Why?

Planning started in October 2018

By Ren Withnell

Why Bute And Kintyre? In fact why Scotland? Why not Spain because we really really enjoyed Spain in 2018? Why not France or Germany or Ireland? Brexit. That's why.

Angular sharp snow covered mountain peaks in the French Alps
Ahhh the Alps. Kind of spoils everywhere else afterwards.

Brexit was due to happen at the end of March and we usually take our "major" tour sometime mid or late May, 6 or 7 weeks after Brexit was supposed to happen. I had visions of chaos. I had visions of me desperately researching international driving permits, chasing green cards, long queues at passport control, the pound being worthless and even the risk of cancelled ferries. That's why. 

Of course this hasn't happened. Yet? Please don't start a Brexit discussion in the comments, it's been done to death elsewhere.

So not wanting to be mired in potential confusion the decision was made to not go abroad this year. But we still need our dose of different, our fix of open roads, our hit of fresh and wonderful scenery and the chance to explore somewhere new. But where?

There are thousands, nay even millions of fascinating, beautiful and worthy places throughout the entirety of Britain, we are blessed. We are also cursed with a fairly high population density which means busy roads and anywhere nice is generally packed because people like to go to nice places. Sharon and I like nice too, but we are not so keen on packed.

An old timber framed building in Shrewsbury
Shrewsbury for example is a lovely English town.

Scotland is filled with nice places. It is also filled with unpredictable weather and midges, the wee beasties or as the yanks apparently call them, "no-see-ums". While this does not stop people going to Scotland's nice places it does keep the numbers down a little. 

I love the Scottish Highlands, in spite of the weather and of how midges see me as a free all-you-can-eat buffet. This means I have been before. Quite a few times. Now please, whatever you do do not think that I am in the least bit bored or tired of Fort William, The Kyle Of Lochalsh, Ullapool, Mallaig, Pitlochry, Tongue and all in between. Not at all. There is however much more to Scotland than the places listed above. 

A highland loch with mountains, a beach and amazing scenery
Bored? Of this? Not yet, not for a long time.

I have been to Tarbert on the northern tip of the Kintyre Peninsula. I am surprised to find that was waaaaaay back in 2005, on my first trip to Scotland! Eeee by gum, I were only 33 years old then. Where have those years gone? So that was 14 years ago when I was young and naive, it was one of my first real motorcycle adventures and I was clueless.

Maybe we should look at the Kintyre Peninsula? Campbeltown is not far from Glasgow yet is as remote as Ullapool due to the length of the peninsula and the lack of major industry or cities or people on the peninsula. Hmmmm. I can see a plan forming in the cotton wool where my brain ought to be.

So let me see. Open roads? The area is not densely populated so there ought to be some open roads. Fresh and wonderful scenery? I've never been there before so it will at least be fresh. I can see from the maps that the Kintyre Peninsula is not as mountainous as The Highlands but there's hills and sea and lochs and harbour towns and countryside aplenty. Somewhere new to explore? See above.

A broad lush green grassy field slopes to the sea with angular hilly islands in the misty distance at Kintyre
The Kintyre Peninsula might have something interesting to offer we hope.

There are 2 further positives to this potential trip. Ferries. Regular readers know I love a good ferry and while Campbeltown is part of the mainland and can be reached entirely by road it will be more interesting to use a ferry (or 2, or 3, or 4). Also being part of the UK we're covered with our breakdown, our insurance, our licences and laws we are (or should be) familiar with.

Oh, and they drive on the correct side of the road up there. Oh, and no language barrier (unless we meet a Glaswegian or two). So that's it, we're off to the Kintyre Peninsula! Waaaaaait a minute! It says "Bute" in the title doesn't it? 

Ah right. Sorry. Well I am thinking the Kintyre Peninsula might not really be enough to fill a whole week. The island of Bute lies between the Ayrshire coast and Kintyre and looks appropriately pretty. I think we'll drop in there and see what's what en route. 

There, sorted.


If you'd like to publish your own travelogue on Bikes And Travels click here.

Bute And Kintyre - But Why? Ren is trying to justify why he's not taking Sharon abroad to exotic places. He blames Brexit but we all know the real reason is because he's mean and miserly.
Getting Mentally And Physically Ready Before Sharon leaves for Scotland she's both excited and yet pensive? She's normally a chilled out traveller so what is different this time?
Ayr For The Third time Familiar roads to familiar places, theoretically, if Sharon can work out which way is up.
Air Head To Ayr Sharon is having one of those days. Still, she's keeping positive and her motorcycle upright.
Boating To Bute An easy and leisurely ride up the coast of Ayrshire and an evening on the Isle of Bute.
Breathtaking Bute Sharon would like a lazy, laid back and chilled day. Unfortunately she has brought a Ren with her. He's not so bad when he stops flapping.
The Beauty of Bute Is Bute a Beaut? It's a most peculiar day to find out though. There's no rain and a big yellow thing in the sky.
The Long Way To Machrihanish Using ferries to get from Bute to Machrihanish ought to be a most pleasant and easy ride. So how do Sharon and Ren manage to turn it into an epic exploit?
Exploring The Mull Of Kintyre A little look around The Mull Of Kintyre on two wheels and a short walk that Ren makes a big thing of.
Of Batteries and Glendaruel A bit of an issue this morning. Can Ren pull himself out the poop or will Sharon simply tear him limb from limb? Serves him right for being an idiot.
It's Time To Go Home It's the saddest part of any adventure, the return home. All good things must come to an end. Fear not Ren is more than man enough to cope...?

Reader's Comments

Borsuk said :-
Contrary to popular opinion we do actually speak English.

Except when drunk or trying to confuse a southerner. I do not speak for Aberdonians.
22/5/2019 8:22:55 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Come on Borsuk - when we've met up I've had to use google translate to understand you. Glaswegians should come with subtitles.
22/5/2019 9:20:17 AM UTC
Bigngreen said :-
I agree, we should provide translation for our southern brothers.

Subtitles for the hard of understanding...
24/5/2019 3:31:18 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Bigngreen I take it you're from Glasgow. Being a shandy drinking southern softie I can understand most Scots folks but a bona fide Glaswegian from deep in the city, that's another language as far as my delicate ears are concerned. And yet there's a fair and pleasant town (?!?!) but 5 miles from my abode and it too has it's own language. Wigan and the language of Wiganese. How on earth Orson Wells managed to understand a damnable word they said while slumming it "oop norf" I'll never know. I wonder, did he have translator?
24/5/2019 7:27:58 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Orson Wells [sic]? I think you may be referring to George Orwell......

Put him right Sharon, please!
26/5/2019 9:50:00 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Oh yeah. 2 quite different gentlemen. Mind you they were both a bit odd.
26/5/2019 12:50:00 PM UTC

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