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Warthog
07-06-07, 22:19
We're off to Bonny Scotland in July for a 10 day trip. This includes the ride there and the ride back. We live in Berkshire.

Don't really have a plan. A couple of nice roads courtesy of Whatton, but apart from that we are playing it by ear and camping wherever possible. However, I had a thought this evening. This being a rare event, I paid particular attention to it. It goes like this:

Is bombing up to the highlands by GS, doing a few roads and then parking up the bike in order to get to either the Orkneys or Hebrides, followed by another long ride home, too much for a 10 day trip.

We don't want to rush everywhere, and a trip to either of the Islands would merit a stay of at least a couple of nights to enjoy the scenery as we are both fans of nature watching and photographing.

Is this feasible, or would we be ruining a trip just to set foot on islands we would not be on long enough to enjoy?

NB please don't mention midges... I know....

Schtum
07-06-07, 22:40
No need to park up the bike. We do have ferries you know. For example, the shortest crossing to the Inner Hebrides from Lochaline in Morvern to Fishnish on the Isle of Mull is only going to take about 1/2 an hour. The crossing to Orkney is a bit longer but perfectly do-able. However, a GS is a bit slow for Orkney roads. There are these Churchill Barrages between the islands, you see. Good for 130 mph +.....:augie

Go to the Isle of Mull would be my advice. It's much more picturesque than Skye and has lots of wildlife watching opportunities including Sea Eagles, sea otters, seals, whales and dolphins. Hi Johnny......:)

G.C.
07-06-07, 23:36
=Warthog;1018348].

Is this feasible,

Some attempt it in a weekend, 10 days should give you a proper taste :thumb2
As Schtum says, Mull is fantastic, anywhere up the west coast is really.
I think you have a good plan, play it by ear, stop when you feel like it, book into an hotel when you cant stand the mid..... oops soory neary mentioned them;)
Never mind the GPS, just point the pointy end North and West, take spare batteries and storage cards for the camera. We want to see the best ones.
Have a great time:thumb2

Stujw70
08-06-07, 07:01
Perfectly doable in 10days

Last year i followed the west coast up from Dunoon with a few of the islands thrown in for luck and across the top all in a week, and no particular rush or plans. Then took a ferry across to Scapa flow for a weeks diving and riding.

Round trip totalled a little over 2000 miles. Camped and stayed in SYHA when the weather got crap. But as usual excellent roads with great scenery.

The ferries are excellent value, check out the website http://www.calmac.co.uk/islands.html for costs and ideas.

Heading off again tomorrow taking in Mull, Sky and the western isles and giving myself 7-8 days to do it.

Coolcarbon
08-06-07, 07:05
It's only a couple of hours to Orkney on This (http://www.pentlandferries.co.uk/timetables.html)

But what you thinking of using to get about if you don't take the Bike?

All of the western Isles are worth a Visit....you can get Combination Tickets that give an overall discount if you want to visit a series of Islands here (http://www.calmac.co.uk/hopscotch-rover.html)

If you like the Whisky, get onto Islay, there are several distilleries to check oot...here (http://www.scotlandwhisky.com/distilleries/islay/)

Arran is worth looking at too, there's a wee crossing from Claonaig... see here (http://www.calmac.co.uk/arran)

10 days.....just enough to give you a wee taste....Oh, and dont forget to visit this Place (http://www.ben-nevis-inn.co.uk/) Great wee spot. Landlord can be a pain at times though, leading you down dirt tracks on the odd mystery tour and the like.....:D

Warthog
08-06-07, 07:23
However, a GS is a bit slow for Orkney roads. There are these Churchill Barrages between the islands, you see. Good for 130 mph +.....:augie





Great advice everyone: KEEP IT COMING!!

As far as the above remark is concerned, this will not be an issue as I have a Silver GS with a black ADV tank (now that s what I called tuned!!):

probably the fastest GS in the world....:augie

Gav
08-06-07, 11:58
Sounds good and realistic too. I agree with previous comments. Why park up the bike? Take it on the ferry- it shouldn't cost that much in the scale of things and the bike would be a great way to see one of the islands. If you head to Oban, you've got some nice roads on the way there and it opens up several oportunities. Get Cal-Mac to send you a brochure. That'll whet your appetite.

It's only about an hour to Craignure on Mull on the big ferry. If you head north, the ferry to Orkney only takes about an hour or so as well.

I understand you maybe wanting to have a day or so off the bike but I think taking it with you would make things more flexible.

Cheers:thumb

Gav

Schtum
08-06-07, 12:05
As far as the above remark is concerned, this will not be an issue as I have a Silver GS with a black ADV tank (now that s what I called tuned!!):

Yeah, yeah.....the last time we were on Orkney, I swapped my VFR with a mate for his R6. First time on an R6....zip up the road and by the time I looked down at the clocks I'm seeing 130.

Seriously....if you're interested in wildlife watching, go to Mull. If you want organised wildlife tours they're avaiable.... http://www.mullwildlife.co.uk/

I can also point you at a couple of B&B's in Tobermory, if necessary.

BGF
08-06-07, 12:49
It's only a couple of hours to Orkney on This (http://www.pentlandferries.co.uk/timetables.html)
The Pentland ferry (Gills Bay to St Mary's Hope) is a grotty old crate, the Northlink one (Stromness to Scrabster (Thurso)) is much, much nicer ... and about £5 dearer per single trip.
I went up to Orkney last autumn with a pal. We left Dundee early on the friday morning and caught the Pentland ferry about 1:30pm. We had a look around the Italian Chapel, Stenness Stones, Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae on saturday. Caught the Northlink ferry on sunday morning then Durness, Ullapool and home to Dundee :thumb

scotboxer
08-06-07, 13:12
Maes Howe.http://members.aol.com/scothist/images/maes3a.gifSkara Brae is fine but MH is more sheltered and has a real atmosphere which is complemented by the superb tour guide from Historic Scotland.

BGF
08-06-07, 13:19
Maes Howe.http://members.aol.com/scothist/images/maes3a.gifSkara Brae is fine but MH is more sheltered and has a real atmosphere which is complemented by the superb tour guide from Historic Scotland.
We went to Maes Howe but it was guided tours only and the next one was about an hour wait. We weren't sure how long it'd take to see the other places so skipped it ... but it's an excuse to go back :thumb

Schtum
08-06-07, 13:24
Tomb of the Eagles is a bit more homespun.....

http://www.tomboftheeagles.co.uk/

Stujw70
08-06-07, 13:56
Tomb of the Eagles is a bit more homespun.....

http://www.tomboftheeagles.co.uk/

Quite nice this one, Ronnie the farmer that discovered the tomb must be 80+ years old. He still spends his days waiting with his dogs in his old army ambulance to give you a tour of the excavated homestead. If you can understand him, he has a wonderful quite old orcadian accent :thumb2

Shrimpo
08-06-07, 15:00
Depending on how the day is looking and if you have booked ahead or not, if you can catch the later ferries in Summer and catch the setting sun it can be one of the more spectacular ferry journeys. This is true for Mull at any rate. The ferries to Orkney and Tiree I've only caught in the middle of the day and they were both "only" beautiful.

If you head to Mull, Iona is well worth a visit and then the road on the West of Mull back up to Tobermory IMHO.

As usual the standard warnings apply to the non-indigenous. Double check your Sunday timetables. I still catch myself out every now and then in the Highlands and Islands.

Oh yeah, another tip that has worked a treat for me is getting a copy of the book "Scotland the Best". I just check the route I'm following the night before (in the bar of course!) and see what's on the way. Have experienced a few gems I would have ridden past in ignorance otherwise.
:beerjug:

bigbob1
08-06-07, 19:59
Warthog
with 10 days I would be very tempted to do both Mull and Orkney esp if you like wildlife. In my last job I used to go to Mull and tried if I had time to stop for my dinner on the way back to the Ferry and watch the Sea Eagles once one landed on a pole quite close to the car and they are quite magnificent creatures. Orkney has an abundance of seabirds including Kittiwakes Puffins etc a place to go is Lord Kitchiners monument here is a link:-
http://www.orkneypics.com/webpage/page/page059.html there are loads of other things to do on Orkney someone mentioned the Tomb of the Eagles and old Ronnie has a wry dry sense of humour Mrs bigbob and I still talk about our visit back in 85 to this day. If you were ever a radio Ham or had an interest along those lines there is a rare little radio museum there as well as Scapa Flow etc and the small flying biting things don't get as much chance to take to the air in Orkney because of the wind which depending where you are last touched Norway or the Eastern Seaboard.

mikepg
08-06-07, 21:27
All superb advice! - once you get past the boring stuff (motorways), and depending on if you intend heading to the West Cost and Islands via Loch Lomand or Stirling, EVERYTHING is simply marvelous when you leave Stirling towards Crainlarich (or via Loch Lomand). One of my fav detours is the back road from Ballachulisch to Kinlochleven and then up North or down to Oban.

Mull is amazing as stated by all and as GC said - turn the GPS off - you wont need it!

If you have time, take the 'tourist route' off the Motorway through the Borders - the A7 through to Edinburgh is worth a blast and road conditions are very good.

10 days will be plenty to give you a taster - and don't worry about the midges - they aren't too bad this time of the year and if you take copious quantities of the local ale or sprits, you wont feel a thing!

Definately take your bike with you!

Hope you enjoy your trip.

davidmot
08-06-07, 22:14
We're off to Bonny Scotland in July for a 10 day trip. This includes the ride there and the ride back. We live in Berkshire.

Don't really have a plan. A couple of nice roads courtesy of Whatton, but apart from that we are playing it by ear and camping wherever possible. However, I had a thought this evening. This being a rare event, I paid particular attention to it. It goes like this:

Is bombing up to the highlands by GS, doing a few roads and then parking up the bike in order to get to either the Orkneys or Hebrides, followed by another long ride home, too much for a 10 day trip.

We don't want to rush everywhere, and a trip to either of the Islands would merit a stay of at least a couple of nights to enjoy the scenery as we are both fans of nature watching and photographing.

Is this feasible, or would we be ruining a trip just to set foot on islands we would not be on long enough to enjoy?

NB please don't mention midges... I know....
definitely go to mull,go past ballachulish and take the corran ferry,£1.50.when you get off head for lochaline,great roads and scenery,ferry to mull about £14 for a 5day return.when you get off the ferry go to top of road and turn right campsite about 300 yards down on right,great base for touring mull.after mull you have to go to ullapool,some of the best scenery in the world and great roads.N.B.take some Avon simply soft skin to ward off midgies when they get too much.have a great time

shugie
09-06-07, 18:05
Feckin midges, that skin so soft shite is no use.

Anyway, my suggestion for a route is over the border, left turn via Dumfries to the Arran ferry, across to Arran, up to Lochranza for the next ferry (well bumpy in rough weather mind), back to the mainland, head north, stopping at Crinan for a shufti at the canal, some very old stuff at Kilmartin. Up to Oban, across to Craignure, mingle with the tourists on a trip to Staffa and Fingal's cave, which is quite impressive, back to Mull, then Tobermory and the little ferry to Ardnamurchan stickly out bit. Take the road east along the loch for a serious series of bends, through some fine countryside, then up to Mallaig for the Skye Ferry (a detour for a ride up the gondola lift thingy just north of Fort Bill is worthwhile if the weather is clear). As both Skye and Mull are easily worth a few days each, you will probably not need to venture further this time.