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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:48 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
Posts: 6948
Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
I had a few days off this week and so on Wednesday, with no real plan on where I would end up, I loaded the Long Haul Trucker with everything and headed west. I had front and rear panniers on with tent and mat in a drybag on top of the rear rack and small stuff in my handlebar bag. While there was a good few kilos of gear to say the least, I took my light weight boots and a few changes of clothes as the forecast was for rain everyday, mainly just heavy showers sporadically each day so more was loaded than needed, along with my stove, and coffee stuff.
Original plan was to meet up with Brian for a few days but knew the weather may scupper that and that I would just play it by ear. I only had these few days so I couldn't wait as I would be back at work next week so thought at least if I go with no real plan I can always ride home if it gets too bad.
Wednesday was decent weather, cloudy with just the odd bit of rain which was a surprise as we had a bit of flooding in Thurso the day before and the forecast was for more heavy rain. So it was a pleasant surprise to be rolling along in nice, sometimes sunny weather to Bettyhill. This stop brought with it the first decision, keep heading west or turn south to maybe better weather. The Thursday was supposed to be heavy rain most of the day across the north and west coast. It looked good so far so decided to head west to Tongue and re evaluate there.
I always like riding this road west as it is so scenic and looks different depending on the weather and today didn't disappoint. Really lovely and while there is a lot of climbing, it's always manageable even on the Trucker which was pretty heavily loaded this time. I had only just put my front rack back on for this trip and now with my trangia and one boot in the left side and my kitchen box and other boot in the right side pannier it took a slight bit of readjusting to get used to it.
Arrived in Tongue in sunshine and sat outside the post office with a nice coffee and rang Brian to see where he was up to with getting away etc.
I could see to the west it was pretty dark so rather than push on to Loch Eribell and pitch the tent, and most likely get a soaking, I would stay the night in the youth hostel at Tongue and then in the morning if it was no good I could head south. While it was still early I was more than happy to stop as I had done a few kilometres with a heavy load and I was in no rush to get anywhere.
The youth hostel was a lovely place to stay and can recommend it highly. Though I woke in the early hours to rain lashing down and a wild wind battering the place. I got up early and readied to leave, this was delayed for quite a while, along with another cyclist and most everyone else there as the rain was still coming down in sheets, the wind was high and you couldn't even see the other side of the causeway the cloud was so low. Spoke with Brian and we checked the next couple of days forecast and the west coast south to Ullapool looked like a complete washout. I decided to head south on NCR 1 that I had been on from home and head back up out of Tongue and south to Lairg and then quick plan to head to Aviemore the following day (Friday) and then return to Brians at Dingwall and Heather would pick me up when she was returning from Inverness on Saturday.
The breeze stopped once off the coast and the cloud stayed low for quite a while, obscuring some of the best views, but it was still a nice ride. The rain was only light and then it sort of stopped altogether after a short while. I seemed to dodge a lot of showers judging by the wet roads and by watching them pass up ahead. This is wide open country up here and the ability to see for many miles all around means there is no hiding from anything, this even extended to the midges, even stopping for a minute to take a quick photo was a pain, literally. Worst I have seen for a very long time, so while I took a good few photos as usual, it was always quickly which helped keep a quick schedule. There is a few long climbs on this road especially around Altnaharra but I always managed to just slowly work my way up them. I was well pleased with this considering I had a decent load this time. The sun was out for long periods and the road was pretty much dry in most places by the afternoon and so I found myself rolling into Lairg feeling quite fresh and happy. Stopped for a decent lunch at the Pier Café and spoke with Brian, said I feel fresh and would head towards his place if he didn't mind me crashing at his and we could head to Aviemore in the morning. Wasn't sure how long it would take as I was still a fair way from him but would head through Bonar Bridge and then over the Struie rather than Tain way. Brian said he would ride out and meet me near Alness somewhere on the road. I must have just put the phone away and ridden across the road when the heavens opened, and I really mean opened. I don't think I have got that wet that instantly for a very long time. Within a minute, it seemed, my trousers were soaked, the insoles of my shoes were filled with water, it was everywhere. I tried to go as quickly as I could to Bonar bridge and the rain stayed torrential until the other side of Bonar Bridge. The road was quickly flooded about 2 or in some places about 3 feet onto the road and so I had to ride right out near the centre of the lane. dangerous stuff but so was trying to ride in the at least couple of inches deep flowing water down the side. To be fair all the cars and truck drivers that passed me were very courteous and I am sure could see why I was riding so far out, they gave me plenty of room and waited to pass. I always waved saying thank you. Bright yellow jacket and flashing red tail light help for sure.
After I crossed to the other side of the valley after Bonar Bridge it eased to just frequent showers, though thankfully nowhere near as heavy.
Then I started to climb the Struie. Well, by this stage I had about 110klms in my legs and while that may seem much it had involved a lot of loaded climbing so this climb was a truly tough climb and it was steep and it was long, very long :) After I very slowly rolled over the top I was riding along a flat section and I found myself going up the gears and soon thought I am knackered and must find that mars bar in the handlebar bag. Thankfully I soon caught sight of Brian heading towards me and after stopping and having a mars bar each we were rejuvenated and back into gear. Though I told Brian I have got to stop at Evanton or somewhere and get something to eat to refuel me for the rest of the ride.
While I really enjoyed my days on my own it was good to have Brians company while riding this last stretch. After stopping and having a milkshake and eating a couple of pastries it was off on the final 5 or so miles to Brians.
Unfortunately Friday dawned with pouring rain that didn't stop for most of the day and so plans for camping at Aviemore were shelved and the way it just kept coming in all day, it was definitely the right decision.
So in the end I only got a couple of days hard riding in but I can fully say I packed a lot into them and have come home happy with the miles I did. More than happy with my Long Haul Trucker as usual, but because it really is my jack of all things as a fortnight ago it was doing the Rough Stuff Audax with no complaints and this week it's touring with a big load in the rain, again, no problem. Great bike.
Also while I did have a lot of rain I must say that my Ortliebs as usual never let a drop of water in, everything in every bag was completely dry. Good stuff.
Thanks to Brian and Sheena for putting up with me and also for the great company.
Three and a half days away with a bit of adventure.

Jamie

Nice roads to take your time on
ImageDSCN4138 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4142 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4143 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4146 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4149 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4151 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4154 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4161 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4162 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4164 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

Next morning not so bright
ImageDSCN4171 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4173 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4176 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4180 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4191 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

ImageDSCN4196 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

Looking back towards Bonar Bridge from Halfway up the Struie
ImageDSCN4202 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr

The main man himself, Brian Epicylo
ImageDSCN4208 by Jamie Dyer, on Flickr


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:10 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:58 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: Highlands, Scotland
Jamie wasn't joking when he said it was lashing down. It was hard to get enough light for a decent photo. But at least it wasn't cold.

Not many photos because decent light was scarce, but the sun did pop out intermittently.

We met near the top of the Struie. I wasn't looking forward to riding back up it so I was happy to avoid that.

Imager


Jamie looking too knackered to enjoy the descent into Dingwall. Little did he know I had a further treat in store - or maybe he had his suspicions. :)


Image

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:40 am 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 21463
Location: Northest North Yorkshire. whippet real good...
Let's see your kit and camp. Very interested to compare.

viewtopic.php?f=21&t=326338&start=180


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:16 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
Posts: 6948
Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
I was looking at yours last night mate :) Looked very nice indeed and I think you utilized your camping stuff a lot more than I did :)
We had our Kindles in common though :)
It was good to get out, even if it was a bit shorter than planned and it was only a couple on the bike, it's still better than not going at all.

Jamie


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:40 am 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 21463
Location: Northest North Yorkshire. whippet real good...
Any pics of your set up? I love my kindle. What tent etc? Intrigued to learn the contents of your bags.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:52 am 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:03 pm
Posts: 6948
Location: held captive by baby haggis in a cave in Scotland
I'm just the mule, I don't ask what's in the bags ;)

Ohhh you mean THOSE bags.
My tent is just a 1 man Vango, pretty basic as it doesn't see much use at all, it's usually my two man Wolfskin tundra but it's a bit heavy.

Jamie


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:37 pm 
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
GOLD | PoTM | Rider | rBOTM
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:26 pm
Posts: 21463
Location: Northest North Yorkshire. whippet real good...
Can Brian teleport?

Today's ride:


Attachments:
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3D4430F3-94F9-4688-A69E-A947D9EF6FFB-9389-000040FABDE661E6.jpeg [ 232.38 KiB | Viewed 401 times ]
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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:27 pm 
Classified Mod
Classified Mod

Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:34 pm
Posts: 14427
Location: Fife in Scotland
Of course he can how else could he deliver all the children's presents at Christmas in one night :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:19 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider
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Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:56 pm
Posts: 2947
Location: A Fifer furth o' the Kingdom
RobMac wrote:
Of course he can how else could he deliver all the children's presents at Christmas in one night :shock:


Image


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:34 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 10:05 pm
Posts: 9342
Location: Scotland
The History Man wrote:
Can Brian teleport?

Today's ride:


Can't be Brian, that bike has a derailleur!


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