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Author Archives: Don

A Lap from the Gods on the X-ADV750

Any day is a motorcyling day but Sundays always have that extra buzz. Yesterday was no exception. I set out mid-morning and as the polis would say ‘I proceeded in a westerly direction’ by St Fillans and the north bank of Loch Earn. With wet roads and temperatures between three and six degrees – felt like minus 3 – 6 but nae mind as the watery sun was reflecting off a few of the snow capped mountains to brighten up the day..

When I reached Lochearnhead – north looked the most favourable so off I popped up Glen Ogle where the snow-melt waters were rushing down the hillsides in foaming white torrents. One in particular dropping hundreds of feet down the hillside and through the arches of the old railway viaduct was really spectacular.

A glimpse of Ben Lawers poking into the clouds caught my eye from the top of Glen Ogle so there was nothing else for it other than to swing right at Lix-toll and head due east for Loch Tayside and Aberfeldy. But first there was the Falls of Dochert thundering under the bridge by the hotel of the same name on the outskirts of Killin. I have never seen the waters looking so dangerous and I actually had thoughts about the wisdom of crossing the bridge with the river in the state it was.

Through Killin and down the side of Loch Tay with glimpses of a snow covered Ben Lawers in the clouds above and to the left were next on the menu. This section was made more interesting when a hot-hatch appeared from somewhere behind with the driver seeming intent on taking my rear number plate home with him. No worries – the Big Scoot has an equally big twin motor from the Honda NC750 and can show a clean pair of heels when it needs to.

Kenmore was next with hardly a soul in sight and by the time I reached Aberfeldy I was ready for food. There wasn’t much choice of cafe’s so I plumped for one in the main square. The complicated menu didn’t endear itself to me and the prices at £4.50 for a bacon roll seemed over the top but I WAS hungry and ready to order. That was when a group of young wimmen all screeching in what seemed to be more than animated conversation at the top of their voices wedged themselves in the open doorway and didn’t look like moving. The polis who come down down on motor-cyclists with noisy after-market exhausts would have had a field day with that lot with their noise meters going off the scale!

Time to beat a hasty retreat! I grabbed my heavy jaikit n crash helmet n squeezed past the still shrieking females out into the street while I still had my hearing. With clobber on I selected ‘Home’ setting and high-tailed it out of town on the road south by the Birks of Aberfeldy. Maybe I should have put my earplugs in and shovelled something hot into my tank for the weather turned nasty after that = but at least there was a mainly black strip of tarmac between the roadside snowbanks, Onwards and upwards into more weather – then down through the Sma’ Glen to Gilmerton where I hung a right for Crieff. It seemed like no time at all and I was home in Comrie – roughly on the hundred mile mark for my first cup of tea and sarnie of the day,

Okay – so there’s no photos due to the battery in my phone playing up but it does take me back to the days when I actually wrote about something instead of taking the easy way out and succumbing to the senseless modern saying – ‘One photograph is worth a thousand words’,

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2020 in Comrie, Honda X-ADV 750, Motorcycling

 

Dookin with Loki

I remember how timid I was first time I ventured into the cold waters of the River Eden in the Borders as a kid – my skinny white knees knocking as I felt for sharp stones cutting into my tender feet while the freezing waters crept up my thighs – so I can well imagine what Loki must have been going through yesterday as he braved the River Earn’s snow melt.

He’s a blue-blooded Flat Coat Retriever with a pedigree as long as your arm for goodness sake – so get in there!

Bred from Newfoundland river dogs and our own Labradors —

he even has webs between his toes and I’m sure he will swim like a fish at some point in the future —

 

Come on in Dad – it’s your turn now – the water’s lovely!

 

Loki get’s wet!

Or does he?

 

We must size it up first —

Nope – that pool looks too deep.

Loki! You look like a beached whale – but at least you got your knees wet.

 

Walking with Loki

Loki has turned into a lovely house dog since he moved into town – not something I could have imagined myself saying even six months ago.

But take him outdoors and he is as daring as ever.

Thankfully he is still quite careful around deep running water —

Which is just as well as some of it can be treacherous —

But he did find a natural bridge for me to cross —

In fact I had a choice of two —

But I preferred the third choice and took the easy way out —

even if my camera hand did appear to be shaking in that last shot.

But it’s all in a day’s work for our boy.

 

A Lap of Loch Earn on the X-ADV750

It’s been a pretty full on day but I did manage to swing the leg over the Big Scoot in the late afternoon. With light fading pictures weren’t going to be that great but I did think that top of a snow-covered Ben Vorlich glistening in the setting sun would have come out better than it did.

Ben Vorlich – at over 3000ft qualifies as a Monroe and I have been to the top quite a few times in all weathers in the past – little wonder my knees are worn out. The walk in starts more or less from where the Scoot is parked and gets steeper by the time you hit the snowline but it is still regarded as one of the easier Monroes to climb.

Out of shot to the west is Stuc a Croin another Monroe and I’ve bagged them both in a day with my daughter and my elder brother along for company. In the patchy snow near the summit of Stuc a Croin is where I saw my first ptarmigan. Slightly bigger than a grouse the ptarmigan changes the colour of it’s plumage to merge with snow or vegetation as the seasons progress and must be one of the hardiest birds in the country to survive on the mountain tops in winter. I had a photograph of it somewhere but that was a long time ago and there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

Still on the subject of wildlife I keep bumping into wild goats on the south side of the River Earn and Loch Earn. I had never heard of them being there and can only imagine they are part of an Estate herd that have been allowed to run feral. There is a big Billy Goat with enormous horns and the sight of him makes me wish I still carried a decent camera. M-mmm — just a thought — I have a birthday coming up this month – who knows – I might be lucky.

 

A Ride in the Sunshine on the X-ADV750

Still building confidence with the Honda X-ADV750 – what is the clutch lever on a normal bike actually operates the rear brake on this odd fella.

After a lifetime of doing it one way – my head – limbs n digits have to reaquaint themselves with something different. Doing a ‘U’ turn from a standing start from where she is parked in the pic with the wheels sliding on assorted gravel proved tricky but do-able.

Knockhill Race Circuit was my destination as I haven’t been there for years. I was very impressed with the changes they have made around there since my last visit and a pair of Honda race cars doing laps added a soundtrack on an otherwise quiet day.

With the mountains behind Crieff white with snow and the road surface barely above freezing despite the brilliant sunshine – the Big Scoot and I were in Touring mode as we picked our way over the hills and through the valleys.

Tractors have come on a pace since I last drove one. I started on a petrol start – then switch to cheaper paraffin once she had warmed up – Fordson tractor towing a single or double furrow plow at the age of sixteen. This fella has a reversible five furrow job behind his 4 wheel drive beauty.

I reckon this must be Kinkell Bridge – north of Auchterarder —

I once did a series on old bridges down in Wales – couldn’t get enough of them and there were never two the same. This time it appears to be deserted churches that catch my eye. The ruins of this one are spread far and wide with this being the only section with a roof —

Looks like Burke & Hare have been busy around here —

They have made room for a few more bodies though —

I think I would rather have a solid stone roof over my head than draughty ornate windows in my tomb —

A great day out on the X-ADV and all being well —

the first of many.

 

 

 
 

Trubblemouse on her Honda CB125F

Came across this pic earlier – it’s my missus givinitsum on her first bike – the tidy Honda CB125F—

At eight n half stone soaking wet the little bike would hardly know Helen was aboard.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2020 in out and about

 

First ride of the Year for X-ADV750

First ride this year for the Big Scoot and I’m pleased to say everything went well. The weather threw everything it could at us – rain – hail n sleet plus the usual shit n snotters that come with flooded roads. Yep she just lapped everything up and if she’d had a full tank of juice I’m pretty sure we would still be out there yet.

No worries – she has earned her ‘Streetfighter’ badge this morning and I’m looking forward to Wednesday when we have been promised some better weather.- yes the old bones prefer a bit of sunshine instead of this crap that we are getting at the mo’.

 
 

CRF 250 Rally Still Rolling

The robust Rally seems non-the-worse for it’s tumble during a snow storm on top of Glen Ogle a couple of weeks back – pity we can’t say the same for it’s rider.

No worries – so long as I don’t have to raise my arms above my aching shoulders I can still make something of the odd bit of sunshine with the Rally —

The X-ADV750 is also back on the road complete with the new sidestand which arrived by post this morning and was fitted in a jiff —

Lying under the bike between snow showers out on the patio behind the house – lining the new leg up and bolting it tight proved to be easier than I expected. The tiny spigot that locates in a hole in the leg pivot boss to operate the engine cut-out switch isn’t the easiest thing in the world to match up – but where there’s a will there’s a way.

The original sidestand became banana shaped a little too easy for my liking so that’s something I will need to keep an eye on in the future. Hopefully we will get a few decent days soon and perhaps have the opportunity to ‘gel’ with the big Scoot for it has been a bit of a hit and miss of a relationship since it first arrived back in September 2019.

 

 

 

Over the Fence

We have the roofless Blackford church with the snow dappled Ochil Hills to the south —

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and just up the lane towards Gleneagles Hotel and golfcourses a pair of roe deer are quietly grazing —

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Not much has changed since I lived here in my mid-teens over sixty years ago – unless we count in the water bottling plant down in the village of Blackford – just over the brow of the hill from the church. I remember when it started production all those years ago and thinking ‘bottled water’ – ‘it will never catch on.’

Highland Spring – drawn from the Ochil Hills – it was 1990 before the venture showed a profit but with oil money from the Emirates behind it there was no shortage of ‘start-up cash’ in hand.

I see in today’s press the owners of Highland Spring would like to expand again but are at loggerheads with the local Community Council who are not in favour of the plans which have been put forward. From where I sit I can see both sides of the coin and sympathise with both. Perhaps they should ask me to toss it for them – heads Water wins – tails they lose. It would save a lot of argument and nastiness all-round.

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2020 in out and about, Wildlife