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A long Way Up for a Tartan Sausage

By Upt'North

Route First...

A697 from Wooler to A68 at Carfaemill.
A68 North to A720 Edinburgh ring road/car park.
M8/M9 to J10 at Stirling then A84 to Callander, Lochearnhead.
A85 to Crianlarich and pick up the A82 to Tyndrum.
A85 to Connel and the A828 north to Benderloch.
Eat sausages.

Next Day.
A828 north to Ballachulish and the A82 to Fort William.
A830 west to Kinlocheil then A861 clockwise around Moidart to Miingarry.
Bed and Eat, no sausages until breakfast.

Next Day.
A861 clockwise to Lochearnhead then A830 to Mallaig.
A830 back to Fort William then,
A82 to Invergarry and A87/A887 to Invermoriston.
A82 to Drumnadrochit.

Next Day.
A82 to Inverness and A9 South to Bogroy,
A938/A95 to Speybridge then,
A939/A93 to Ballater, Braemar and Blairgowrie.
A93 to Perth and
M90 to Edinburgh and retrace steps on A720, A68, A697 to home. 

Let the story begin children. 

I rang my mate "Waster" who can normally be found somewhere in Scotland in a tin tent at this time of year. After the normal insults and general nonsense we were cordially invited to a Sausage Fest at Benderloch Tin Tent site on Saturday night. Without further ado I checked my tyre pressures, put on some clean pants and me and Er'Indoors were soon loaded and away on the BeaST. 

The weatherman had said dry from Saturday to Tuesday, so I was a little surprised when it persisted from home to Stirling. I mean it really persisted it down. We stopped for tea and tiffin at Callander and we were steaming nicely by now in the Scottish Sun. The traffic up to now had taken me by surprise, it was wall to wall Scots in cars. Apparently it was the start of the "Glasgow Fair", I don't know what that is but it probably includes harm to haggises.

After Callander the traffic eased and no more filtering was required and the scenery started to reveal those Scottish vistas we love. We were making good time now and a further fuel/coffee stop was made at the Green Welly at Tyndrum. The A85 would take us through Glen Lochy and the Pass of Brander to Connel before heading North to Benderloch.

Pan European on the road aPass Of Brander in the Scottish Highlands. Greenery and mountains
Pass of Brander

Stunning, stunning, stunning, did I say it was stunning? The roads were empty except for the occasional foreign car or foreigners in hire cars and oh yes one pillock on a Harley, you know who you are.

That night we met up with "Waster" and friends at the Tin Tent Sausage Fest and a good night was had by all. He hadn't told me it was actually not his barbie he had invited us to but it didn't seem to matter. Not to us anyway. We wandered back to our digs for the night about a mile away, it was a lovely moon lit warm night, more like Southern France than Scotland.

Calm loch waters, darkening skies, light cloud as the day ends at Benderloch
Sunset from Benderloch Sausage Fest.

The next day saw us continue north to Moidart and it was lovely and quiet until reaching the A82 at Ballachulish, sunny and warm too. We stopped at Port Appin, fanflippintastic. It was a gorgeous day to be out on a bike. The scenery was at its best and life slowed down quite a lot. That was until we rejoined the A82. What is it with Scotland these days? It was heaving and those Johnny Foreigners in 19 plate hire cars that had to be closely watched. 

calm waters, a few fishing boats and stunning scenery at Port Appin Scotland
Port Appin

From Fort William we followed the Road to the Isles but only as far as Kinlocheil before starting the ride around Sunart and Moidart. This is where the roads became very Scottish; read, 9 feet wide with gravel filled passing places, heaven. No I mean it, not a 19 plater in sight.

Despite riding like we had nowhere to go we had made good time so rode over to the beaches at Kentra and Ardtoe, with views over Muck, Eigg and Skye.

The only real incident that day was when a large red deer doe had almost hitched a ride in Sunart, needless to say revenge was sweet that night with venison starters and mains devoured x 2.

Again awoken by sunshine we decided to ride up to Mallaig and then take the ferry over to Skye. Although not new to Skye our first trip was pre bridge and we had never travelled from Mallaig to Skye... and still haven't. The ferry queue was huge and with a "I might squeeze your wee bike on there about 5 this afternoon laddie" we were off back down the Road to the Isles to Glenfinnan. 

Glenfinnan was at its very best, although the car parks were already full at 1030. The decent old chap on the gate made space for this wee laddie and bike and wouldn't accept payment, so we spent it on coffee instead. Despite the crowds the views and experience was as good as ever.
We would meander to Drumnadrochit for an overnight and stayed in a hotel away from the town centre which was also heaving with Loch Ness "Nessie" tourists. Why? It doesn't exist! Or does it?

The night passed well enough and we ate in the bar, the locals were friendly and tried to get us to eat "Tatties", I had none of it and had potatoes. They can't fool me.

The next day would see us strike out for home but we didn't fancy the A9 all the way so we headed through the ski areas at Lecht and Glenshee. This is a remarkable high level route, if you've never ridden it then you must. It was a little hurried to be truthful but the roads encouraged swift riding and we knew it was a long way home.

We will be back when the sun shines, so probably 2025ish? Did I say the weather was still good? So good in fact I didn't swear too much at 8 Germans on 4 GS's which came around one bend completely unsighted on the wrong side of the road. You can't trust em.

The ride from Edinburgh to home was fairly uneventful except for trying to find fuel. 270 miles done, fuel light brightly illuminated and not a station in sight. Just in case you ever need to know there's one in Dalkeith, thank you Motorrad Dalkeith. 

Hope you enjoy the read and pictures.

The Pan Euro parked among trees and the shoreland on a bright sunny day in the Highlands

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Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
Excellent report and gorgeous photos. I went round what they now call the 500 in the late 1990s on the Commando. The roads were almost empty apart from a churlish motorhome driver who refused to let me past on the single track A838 up to the north coast. I eventually managed to slalom past on the grass verge....

As others have said the increased popularity of that route has been a mixed blessing for the inhabitants but also has meant that the roads have just become too clogged for enjoyable riding.
08/08/2019 10:16:00 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Glasgow Fair fortnight, when an entire cities heavy industry workforce goes on holiday. There is also Paisley Fair fortnight and Greenock Fair fortnight which are on different dates.
It originates from the ship building industry in the case of Glasgow and Greenock and the weaving industry in Paisley. The yards, factories and mills closed for two weeks allowing the annual maintenance to be done so all the rest of the workforce had their holiday time. I don`t think it is quite as traumatic road wise as it was in the 60´s and 70`s as most of the heavy industry has gone and people have staggered holidays. My dad worked in a car plant`s maintenance department so we took our holidays between fairs which was easier as we were halfway through everyone else`s holidays and missed the traffic jams.
The other traditional work holiday is the September weekend but I don`t think half of Scotland invades Blackpool anymore, it`s cheaper and easier to go abroad and the land ladies don`t lock the doors at 10 pm. :-)

No haggis were harmed in the making of this comment. But a couple will be next time I am visiting my kids. Deep fried of course.

08/08/2019 11:18:20 UTC
Rod said :-
Thanks Upt'North,
That brought back some great memories.
Were the sausages of the Scottish flat variety?
08/08/2019 18:12:06 UTC
Marv said :-
When I visited Scotland a few years ago, I was surprised how busy it gets, when the school holidays arrives. Everywhere gets full! I've only done trips up to Scotland by car, can't wait to get up there on a motorcycle (preferably out of Holiday season!)

Enjoyed reading your write up and some lovely pics there too, thanks for sharing!

08/08/2019 21:56:50 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Your all a bunch of gits..

How dare you all bugger off to Scotland having fun when I can't. Have you no morals or sympathy.

Why not write about commuting through rush hour traffic keep your Scottish adventures to yourselves or at the very least say you didnt have fun and put pictures of heavy rain on here.
09/08/2019 07:14:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Just to cheer you up Pocketpete I had a suitably soggy ride to work this morning.

I mentioned to Upt' when he sent me this article - "Spork me seeing these pics just makes me ache to be back there. I'm sure I'm long overdue retirement."
09/08/2019 09:13:50 UTC
Upt'North said :-
To answer some of the questions.
The sausages were apparently M and S round ones. Very nice. Glad I didn't pay for them.
And Pete, we didn't enjoy it one bit, OK maybe one.
The quiet roads can still be found but that NC500 is a curse.
09/08/2019 10:56:39 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I just remembered I did this. Of course back then we had no fancy digital cameras or editing software so this was the best composite panorama I could manage with the trusty Pentax.

Of course Housman's hills were in Shropshire not Scotland....

Posted Image
09/08/2019 12:40:59 UTC

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