Friday, June 17, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: Scotland Day 6 - Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Ness

After spending the night at a B&B in Fort William, I rode out after a nice Scottish breakfast (same as Irish Breakfast but without the black and white pudding) to the Glenfinnan Viaduct to catch the Jacobite Train as it traversed the viaduct between 10:45 and 11:00 AM.

Rode out of Fort William and easily found the turn for the A830 road, and less than 30 minutes later I was at the visitor center.  Saw where most of the other tourists had gone up a small hill near the visitor center; and so I joined them there, staking out a good spot for myself.

 Loch Shiel at Glenfinnan, Scotland
 The tower in the foreground is the Glenfinnan Monument

Cloudy skies prevented much sunlight from painting
the green hills through which the viaduct runs...

While we waited, we were attacked by clouds of "no see ums", little tiny gnats that bit any exposed skin.  Got so bad, that I put my motorcycle helmet back on so that it covered my head!

Around 10:50 or so, we saw the train arrive from the eastern side of the viaduct, here's a video of it:



After the train, I rode back towards Fort William but turned north using the A82 road towards Inverness.  Shortly after I started, I came across the Commando Monument so a stop was in order.

 Commando Monument

 Loch Lochy

This morning's riding was much more enjoyable than yesterday's as I was more used to and comfortable with the motorcycle, a BMW F800R.  The dry roads were a joy to ride without the worry of traction loss on yesterday's wet roads.  

I must say, riding the roads past the several Lochs on the way to Inverness, that it was a curvilicious experience!  The Beemer's torquey engine and effortless steering made all the curves encountered quite enjoyable.

Note: Loch Ness is apparently best appreciated not only on a better weather day (which this day wasn't) and from one of the many cruise boats that sail the loch.  Trees and vegetation obscure views of the loch except for a very few parking spots where one can pose one's motorcycle:



Soon after the last picture, it started to rain lightly.  It would do so the rest of the day.  I would arrive in Inverness around 2:30 PM and I rode through the town and onto the A90 which I would take all the way back to Edinburgh, via Perth.   

The afternoon was spent in a high speed slog on the A90 expressway, in rain, dark grey clouds cutting visibility to less than a mile so no scenery to enjoy.

Once I got close to Edinburgh, I established commo via cellphone with my loving wife Martha.  She guided me through the sometimes confusing streets to get me to a parking garage at the Omni Center mall located close to our hotel.  I parked the motorcycle there and will be returning it in the mornings since the rental shop closed at 5:00PM and I didn't get back till like 6:30 PM I think.

Way tired from all the riding.  The ergonomics of the F800R aren't quite good for me.  There was pain in the wrists and arms, and the legs would get tight from the high "sit up and beg" position.

We went out to dinner and I had Haggis, it's pretty good!  They don't use the "offal" portions of the sheep anymore, just regular mutton and grains and spices.  Figure with this being our last night in Scotland, might as well try it you know?

Almost 460 miles or so ridden with the rental motorcycle.  Scotland really is a great country to ride in, the roads are curvy and not too narrow, and the sights in the Highlands can be spectacular.  I have to wonder what they look like on a clear sunny day....

Note: got 52MPG!

9 comments:

Ry Austin said...

Dom, I think that few machines are more fascinating and beautiful than steam locomotives. Cool video.

And Haggis!... You tried it--even after you implied that you wouldn't. Well done, man!

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Ry Austin, glad you liked the video...if I ever go back I spotted a couple of better angles to shoot from. As to Haggis, couldn't very well leave Scotland without trying it. :)

SonjaM said...

We weren't too impressed with Loch Ness either. It seemed like a mere tourist trap to us. Due to the weather on our trip in 2013 we didn't stick around to wait for the train to Hogwarts. Nicely captured by the way.

Brave move on the haggis. So, you didn't fall for the story of haggis being a hairy marmot like animal with shorter legs on one side to be able to stand and walk sideways on the hills? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_haggis

Charlie6 said...

Thanks SonjaM, never heard that Haggis was a beast.... :)

RichardM said...

That was a great video. I love the mechanical sounds from a steam train. Kinda like a Ural, lots of mechanical sounds...

I've heard that haggis tasted much better than it sounds. I think that most of the descriptions were hype...

Charlie6 said...

Oh and yeah, unless you're going to take one of the cruises on the loch I cannot recommend Loch Ness as a ride destination

Charlie6 said...

Haggis has apparently been either greatly maligned or it's been greatly improved because the EU won't allow the original ingredients to be used.

motoventures said...

Fantastic! The train video was really neat...what a beautiful machine.

Charlie6 said...

Glad you liked the video and post motoventures .