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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Update on my trip to Ullapool the long way round.

My original plan had been to leave early Saturday to catch the 5.00pm boat from Aberdeen to Shetland but I left it too late booking the tickets and there was no space until the Sunday sailing. This worked out well as I ended up needing to be in Birmingham on the Thursday and Friday and didn't get home until late. That meant a more leisurely start time on Saturday and packing at a less frenetic rate.

I left in the end at about 11am after waiting about for it to stop raining drinking coffee. In the end I left in light drizzle which stopped about 10miles up the M6. All the coffee meant a stop at each service station so slow progress. I took the A7 to Edinburgh then over the Forth Road Bridge and up the M9 for a short while. I had a vague plan to reach Braemar and stay in a hostel there but decided to turn off the main roads and mooch about a bit. I decided it was too nice to miss in the area just around Perth so looked in my Hostel book to phone a hostel or two. No answers so eventually called at Wester Caputh Steading, about 5 miles East of Dunkeld on the Tay Valley.

Yes they had a bed, but there were two big parties booked in of 7 & 6. That's fine I will either fit in or just go to bed. What they didn't say was both parties were all women. One mountain bikers, the other just getting away from families for a weekend. I have never felt so awkward or out of place and with little prospect of the conversation turning "juicy" I left them to their make up and youth cream conversation and went to bed early ish.

Sunday was a run through the Cairngorms - Glenshee, Braemar, towards the Lecht (but not quite up it). The scenery is stunning, the roads superb, and the weather was unseasonably warm - hot even. The jacket and cuffs were undone and wished I had summer gloves. Someone said Aberdeen reached 25c that day. Aberdeen - nice place but so many traffic lights and I seemed to catch them all on red. I was just getting hotter and hotter. Anyway I found the ferry terminal, checked in and was straight on. I got into the "sleeping pod" lounge and more or less stripped off - to the amusement of a couple of ladies in there. I sat in my pants and t shirt to cool down for 10 mins before dressing again and wandering round the ship. I had taken a sea sickness tab which made me very sleepy and I just about managed to sleep all night in my pod. Sorry no pics for these two days - my phone was buried deep in my pockets and I couldn't be bothered to get it out.

Off the ferry at 7.30 am into mist and drizzle. After a quick lap of Lerwick but with nothing open I headed out to find my overnight accommodation - Nesbister Bod. (pic taken today when it was sunny).



I explored the west of the Ireland for a bit but with all the mist and rain there was bugger all to see when back to Lerwick to find a massive cruise ship in the harbour and the place heaving with Americans, Japanese or Chinese and Germans. Gave the place a buzz. Also found a nice cafe that does good strong coffee - Peeries.

I went back to the Bod early afternoon to avoid the rain and made two trips across a field, the beach, and the shingle spit. The bod is very basic - rough stone walls, rustic DIY or reclaimed furniture, outside tap and chemical loo, no electricity, just one window downstairs, but it did have a fire with a large supply of peat. It also has a large population of beetles, massive wood lice, and various other unidentified
Crawlies. All unfeasibly large too. When I eventually got the fire going - petrol is every bikers friend - this brought in even more creepy crawlies attracted by the warmth. Anyway I had a good tea of burgers, pepper sauce and rice all Washed down with a lot of whisky and eaten and drunk by candlelight.

More later.....

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1380127696.635520.jpg




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Grumpy auld man!
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Great stuff Austin, will catch up at the weekend. :wink:



Andy.
 

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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #4
The morning was dry and bright and I discovered I had burned nearly half a bag of peat - the wind create a tremendous draw on the stove and it burned fierce and hot, but very quickly.

Today I was heading for the main destination of the trip - the most northern road in the UK. This is on the island of Unst and involves crossing to the island of Yell first then to Unst. Most of the main roads on the mainland are wide and well made but there are still A class roads that would only merit country lane status in most of the UK. The oil industry is well evident and I followed the signs to Sull Voe - a massive oil refinery or someting with scary signs (pics on next post).

I got to the ferry terminal for Yell bang on time and literally rode straight on we were off. 10 minutes and £10 return later and we are on Yell. The effects of the oil industry far less evident than on the mainland with smaller roads, fewer houses and very limited facilities. I headed north across the island looking for a cafe or pub. None, until I got the next ferry terminal where a couple from Wolverhampton ran a real greasy spoon transport style caff. You could cut the smoke from the chip fat with a knife. I had homemade soup made from a packet and a h sandwich made with mothers pride, margarine and watery pink ham. Not recommended but I did get my phone recharged so I could take some pics.

Ferry to Unst also 10mins and no charge (well I wasn't asked anyway). Unst was nicer than Yell and clearly more of a destination being the most northerly inhabited island in the uk.

The end of the public road is a bit uninspiring really - a cottage and a turning area. There were two groups of twitchers there looking for an off-course Baltimore Oriel. They hadn't seen it but point out Snow Buntings (rare ish uk visitors), Skuas, Boxies, Terns and all sorts. The Snow Buntings were best.

There is also an abandoned radar station on Unst with a track up to it that is a bit further north. So I headed that way ignoring the ominous sounding official secrets act signs up to the station. Fab views and a few minutes of latitude further north. Then another gravel track to an even further north spot almost overlooking the uninhabited isle of Muckle Flugga - the most northerly you can go and still be in the UK. So that was it 60degrees and some minutes and really was the end of the road, well for the uk anyway.

Uneventful journey back to try and light the dammed fire -with no wind there was no draw and damp peat and cardboard soaked in petrol still didn't want to go. I resorted to picking through the seaweed outside to find a few scraps of driftwood that eventually got it going.

Wednesday today and I toured the south end of the mainland until time for the ferry. St Ninians island and beach/spit thing the best of the day.

All pics next post as I can't seem to mix text and pics.


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Deer Dodger
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Good grief Austin, you're certainly travelling to extremities:D

I had the unpleasurable experience of working on Shetland for over a year, hated it.
Built a runway for Shell Uk at Scatsta Airport which meant we had free trips with the bears back and forth from Scatsta to Dyce. Then a spell at a new build at Shetland Catch and a re furb at the old MET office above Lerwick.

Certainly is a strange place, long straight roads and a swimming pool in most villages courtesy of Mr Shell.
Went to Unst and Yell once to price a couple of jobs, thank fek we never got them, god forsaken sh1t of a place. Ok if you're passing through, but working there can be a bit of a bummer.:D

Nice people, talk funny though.;)
Only place ever where I had a pint at the bar and a haircut at the same time at 10am on a Sun morning :thumbup:

Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip, catch you later :thumb:
 

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Top marks for UK exploration Austin. And nice photos. What is a top tier major accident site then?

I remember finding a steel radioactive waste container on the beach at Craigavad as a kid, pushing it around with my foot for a few minutes and attempting a barrel walk... didn't recognise the hazard symbols then (although I'm now the RPS at work). Came back later to find the beach cordoned off and police everywhere!
 

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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #8
I can't say I would want to live and work up here; good to visit though and always been on my list of places to go. It really is a different world up here - and johns right every little village seems to have leisure centre. I think Yell has about 600 people live on it and two leisure centres. Weird. No shops and only one pub as far as I could tell.

Hazardous site = major oil refinery or something. I think it's where all the north sea oil comes ashore for refining or pumping elsewhere. It's a huge place and explains why the roads to it from Sumburgh (airport) and Lerwick are wide, new and mostly straight. There's some big fancy houses on mainland too.


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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #9
Tour of Orkney today in glorious weather if a little on the cool side....

Skara Brae Neolithic village. Not really worth paying £7.10 to get in but hey-ho that's the way tourists get tr


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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #10
Tour of Orkney today in glorious weather if a little on the cool side....

Skara Brae Neolithic village. Its Not really worth paying £7.10 to get in but hey-ho that's the way tourists get treated. It's 5,000 years old.

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Stromness harbour is v pretty

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Highland park distillery. Just a couple of samples ;)

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I also went to Orkney brewery but had my thumb over the lens so no photo

Ring of Brodgar
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More standing stones. They are all over the place
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Some very scary steep cliffs
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I was stood right on the edge of this a few seconds earlier
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Orkney is nice. I am staying in the Hamnavoe Hostel in Stromness. The owner is a biker -FJ1300 but he will get over it. It's the nicest cleanest best equipped hostel I have ever stayed in. £18 a night with harbour views for free.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1380214850.411086.jpg




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Sent from my iPhone with a smile :)
 

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Deer Dodger
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Now that's better, Orkney is a lovely place. Worked near a place called " [email protected] ", honestly. Was there for about a month on water treatment works.
Did you go to Scapa Flow ?? Really sombre place, and the old boats sunk as a blockade during the war still evident from the roadside ( still didn't stop herr whatshisname shimmying in between them to carry out the sinking.) :(

Nice one Austin :thumb:
 

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fab report and photos. Would love to do this trip....maybe next year.....:thumbup:
 

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2 bikes = twice as happy
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Discussion Starter #13
Yes went to Twatt looking for the place name road sign but not there - taken as mementoes I reckon. Rode round Scapa Flow but didn't see the ships. The visitor centre is on Hoy but not enough time to go over.

Now in Ullapool after a cracking ride down the centre of the highlands. It's warm, still, dry and the site is slowly filling up with ABR'ers. It's going to be a good weekend.

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1380293510.124777.jpg
Old Man of Hoy from the boat at first light this morning. It's probably a rubbish pic even on a full screen -it is on the phone's screen.


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nice report, has always appealed to visit but mainland europe is so much easier to get to.... :)
not if you live in Aberdeenshire:)
 

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Cracking ride report Austin, you certainly get to the most remote places! Looking forward to the rest.
 

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RetroPhrenologist
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In case you're feeling cheated about the Orkney sign Austin...

DSC00534 - Copy.JPG

:happy8:
 
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