Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesBute And Kintyre 2019

Breathtaking Bute

Ride Date 14 May 2019

By Sharon Parker

There is no rush today.  We only have a shortish ride so we can decamp slowly. I do slow easily, it is my default setting. Ren, poor poor Ren is the opposite. I am sure I drive him nuts but he drives me nuts getting up at 5am and wondering why I want to still be asleep. Over the years we have got used to one another's differences. Ren has also learned to slow down a little so it was with great delight that I find him willing to go for a nice relaxed stroll this morning.
 
My knee is still swollen and fat, what's that you say? Its been fat for years? Well OK, it's still fatter than usual. As such I can't pull on my skinny jeans so I have to wear a very baggy pair of combats instead. And yet I can walk so things are not bad at all really. 

The sun is shining and the sky is blue as we head down to the sea. While we descend the path down towards the sea I take the time to appreciate the beauty of nature's flora and fauna. I stop to admire what I first assume to be broom but on closer inspection it is not broom but gorse. Both have very similar strikingly bright yellow flowers and both belong to the pea family. However gorse is spiky, broom on the other hand has its flowers attached to longer, willowy stems with no spines. The two can often grow side by side as they like similar situations such as open woodlands or by the coast. 

Rolling hills to the sea with plenty of yellow broom or gorse
Yellow be it mellow or a peril it's so pretty. 

At the end of the path we emerge onto the beach and as is often the case in Scotland I am momentarily struck dumb by the sheer beauty of what lies before me.  On this early morning it appears we awoke before the wind, it surely must still be asleep for the ocean is like a millpond. I have never known it so still and sunny in Scotland and I feel blessed to be here right now. Beauty is a true balm for a bruised soul. When immersed in such stillness and quiet how can our inner selves not respond in kind. Chaos is replaced by calm, worry replaced by wonder, responsibility replaced by reflection. 

A curved beach, steep hills forming a bay, rocks and totally calm waters at Bracken Bay
Shhhhhhh... its all so still 

 

I could stay here all day but Ren, never still for long Ren, is restless. I smile to myself as I head away from the shore to leave this place. I am not angry that Ren is now ready to leave when I could happily stay. I am grateful for him for taking things easy this morning and being so relaxed thus far. We are two different individuals but we choose to be together and as such we must take on board our differences and find a middle ground. I have had my stillness, now we best get weaving.

Today we are going to catch a ferry to the island of Bute. Ren loves ferries. I still get slightly nervous of them but with this being the first of many this holiday I should get in plenty of practise. 

Talking of practice I clearly need more practice in the packing department. My badly organised over full bags prove a pain to reload on the bike. Once we're on the road for the first time ever they refuse to stay still. They slip to one side. We stop, I readjust. They slip forward. We stop, I readjust. And so on. I know Ren wants to kill me. I myself am just considering pulling out my clothes and discarding knickers on pavements, socks on sidewalks and woollies on walls. Note to self - never ever ever overpack your bags. 

Sharon's 250 with wobbly luggage, calm waters firth of clyde and arran in the hazy distance
Another readjust stop but it's a good place to admire the view.

Despite the stop start travelling I feel a bit better riding today. Not quite so tense, at least until I stop to readjust my bags again and see the tension in Ren's grimace.  That's tension right there glaring at me. Poor Ren, poor poor Ren. 

We get to the ferry terminal and Ren tells me to nip to the garage which he has been informed is a mere 2 minutes walk away. I'll grab a drink and a chocolate bar each. 

I firstly make use of the toilet facilities in the train station which is situated next door to the ferry. The Wemyss Bay Station is delightful and surprisingly beautiful. It is spacious and airy and the stunningly elegant curving steel and glass canopy provides light for the abundance of blooms that decorate the station floor. I feel transported into another era, one composed of steam trains and smartly dressed porters piled high with the luggage, of gentlemen in top hats and their ladies with trailing skirts. I feel out of place in my bike gear. I expect to hear whispers of alarm as this strange time traveller is spotted wandering along the platform. As I enter the toilets I hope not to cause hysteria or a dead faint to any delicate ladies of yesteryear. 

My journey back in time ends the minute I leave the station behind and begin my walk to the garage. I walk, gosh it's hot in all this bike gear, I walk some more, gosh it's really hot in this bike gear. This is a long 2 minute walk. I am sweating I am way too hot so I strip off the jacket and plod on. 2 minutes my posterior. I am about to give up when I decide to just see what is around the next bend... Hooray the 2 minute garage that itself got transported, not in time but bloody distance. 2 minutes pfft. 

I trudge back and in the distance I see the ferry coming into dock. Haaa I bet Ren has a flap on now but damned if I am trying to run in bike gear in this heat with a swollen knee. Fortunately by the time cars are unloaded and then reloaded and with our motorbikes being required to load last I have time enough to get ready. 

The ferry is in dock and the front bow doors are open as traffic rolls off
Oh no the ferry is here and not a Sharon in sight.

I am fine riding onto the ferry and the bikes are strapped down by the staff as we are directed upstairs for the half hour crossing. I usually get sea sick easily but such is the flatness of the sea today that I have no need for my anti sickness tablets. Disembarking the ferry is also without any cause for concern. Excellent, one more successful ferry crossing to add to the experience bag.

The town of Rothesay feels a bit run down. A few incredibly grand houses and some dilapidated buildings stand side by side. You can tell it was a grand affair once in the Victorian era but has since fallen into decline. However Bute is still a very popular destination hence the frequent ferry service. 

We ride from the main town of Rothesay to the campsite. The path to the camping field at Roseland is very rutted and there is a lot of loose gravel. My fear radar is thus activated and I stop dead. As I gaze at the holes in front of me I consider getting off the bike and asking Ren to ride my bike up to the pitch for me. However I  take a deep breath and remind myself that I got this, so I carry on even though my heart is in my mouth. I successfully negotiate the holes and the gravel and park the bike up. 

Good God I feel like a beginner all over again.

Once camped up we go for a stroll into town. The sun is shining the sky is blue and to Ren's distress I'm smiling. We encounter the Sepertine. Fortunately not an actual snake but an incredibly twisty tight road snaking down the hillside to Rothesay below. Ren talks about riding the bikes down it. Urghh let me think about this, no. My no is quick and easy to make. I already have a scraped bike and a swollen knee and sore arm. Right now I have the confidence of a cowardly lion so it's not a hard decision. Sometimes it is good to know one's limits but why then do I feel like a wimp? Hmmmmm. 

A tall church spire, a sharp corner and the steep hill of the serpentine road at Rothesay
A wide shot of the serpentine road snaking down into the quite large town of Rothesay
This Serpent sends shivers down my spine.

The walk back up the Serpentine is hard going, Bute really does take your breath away, literally. Honestly it's way steeper than it looks on the photos. Some one get me a chair lift. The weather stays glorious and it is even warm later in the evening when it is time for bed. Oh sorry Ren I am still smiling.  

An orange sky over the distance hills behind the static caravans and toilet block at the campsite
The sun sets on a glorious day


We're always looking for guest contributions. 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

Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Where... was... I during the filming of the video?
16/7/2019 3:28:49 PM UTC
Tom McQ said :-
I enjoyed that. Lovely writing. And no rain!!! Yay!
24/7/2019 8:55:49 AM UTC

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