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Category Archives: Honda CRF250 Rally

The Road to The Isles

It’s fully 16 months now since Helen and I moved to the Isle of Luing in the Inner Hebrides where the weather can be wild and windy one minute and quite benign the next —

The roads are fewer, rougher and tighter than those to be found in the rest of Scotland so it’s very much a case of horses for courses —

Helen and I have had to adapt in many ways but overall it has been well worth the effort —

Shopping – gardening – cooking and baking can be more of a challenge but the occasional success has it’s own rewards —

and with our second Christmas together on the island fast approaching we are looking forward to 2018 with confidence —

The photo was taken just a few minutes before Boss-cat dug his claws into my forearm to get my straying attention! He is a farm cat after all and is as much at home in the tumbledown steading catching vermin or out on the hillside with the deer and the ever-present threat of attack from above as he is on my lap in front of the log fire of an evening —

I blame Netflix where ‘Medici’ has taken us into devious Italian banking circles and ‘murrder’ awaits round every street corner – ‘old hat’ to some perhaps but brand new to ourselves here on Luing πŸ™‚

 

Ben Cruachan by CRF250 Rally

Temperatures around freezing don’t stop play when the sun is shining so once again our resident roe deer buck was left in charge of the old farmyard and out came the CRF250 Rally to make the most of the day —

With brilliant sunshine forecast for the day-Β  a snow-capped Ben Cruachan north of Loch Awe caught the eye from a high point twixt Clachan on the Isle of Seil and Kilninver on the road to Oban —

Possibly 25 miles as the crow flies but a chilly 40 plus by road – I will chicken out and settle for a distant pic and leave that trip for the V-strom with it’s heated grips on another day πŸ™‚

Β 

 

CRF250 Rally Does the Cliff Walk

Sunday was one of those days when I thought I might dig over part of our vegetable patch only to find it water-logged from all the ‘weather’ we have had in recent months so I left it in the capable care of our resident roe deer buck —

and headed out on the 250 Rally with the intention of riding some of the farm tracks on the island —

The tracks were OK but when they ran out I found the grass covered sections to be just as water-logged as my garden —

Rather than cut them up I pulled out and cantered over on the tarry stuff to Blackmill Bay —

where I took a few ‘artistic’ shots of the remains of the old jetty —

that – as this old post card shows – had once been the main lifeline to and from the island —

But a red-blooded guy with a itchy throttle hand can only take so much of this before his mind starts to wander and thoughts turn elsewhere —

to the stony path running part-way up the cliff between the two slate quarries in the north-west of the island —

Stormy seas have washed out parts of the old track but there was enough left for me to get a pic or two —

and set the scene —

before heading back to meet up at the Atlantic Island Centre in Cullipool where my son Jim was celebrating his birthday with friends and family —

Not a bad day all round πŸ™‚

 

CRF Rally etched with Crinan Canal and High Couture

Etched? I have to call it something and I’ve forgotten what my ‘puter called this proccess —

I’m not sure about the result – but – Helen likes it and that’s a plus. Her V-strom is black for starters so I don’t suppose I can improve it in photo-shop —

mmm’m – not bad.

Saturday had us Christmas shopping in Lochgilphead – a few nice little shops there and you either find something – or you don’t. I found everything I needed in 30 mins flat but it took Helen slightly longer —

No worries – we still had time for a walk by Crinan Canal – I can see us taking the bicycles down there and cycling the whole seven miles of it sometime soon —

And – what about the high couture? The one that got away – the hat that didn’t make our wedding back in June —

I still can’t believe this lovely lady married me —

and introduced me to a life of peace – contentment – and occasional sunshine πŸ™‚

 

Sunshine and Showers with CRF250 Rally

More or less what we can expect early in November – it’s a case of wrapping up warrm and getting out there —

Today it was over the hills and faraway on my lonesome with the Honda 250 Rally —

With a smidgeon over one thousand miles on the clock she is running as sweet as a sweet thing should —

Not a single complaint from the bike or from me for that matter —

Her knobbly Bridgestones hook up well wet or dry —

On road or off —

Here in the Western Hielands the weather and visibility – or lack of – can change by the minute —

Just horse on and the blue skies will come again πŸ™‚

 

CRF 250 Rally beats the Oban logjam

With the traffic in Oban at a standstill due to road re-surfacing where all the industrial estates – super-markets and schools collide we can’t blame the motor-homers this time. In my eyes it’s the Council Planners to blame – or to be correct – the complete lack of planning.

It’s October – most of the tourists have been and gone. The few that are left are in the main heading for the islands via the ferry port in the town centre. Traffic is at a standstill this week – and next probably as there is not a lot of action taking place on the roadworks despite the number of colourful hard hats in attendance. There have been times when stationary traffic has snaked all the way from Dunbeg – a northern outpost of the town to Soroba in the south. Disruption to local schools and businesses must be immense.

Local geography means there’s no chance of a bypass anytime soon but what happened to night time working? The roads are virtually clear from 19.00hrs through to 07.00hrs the next day.

No worries – particularly when you have a slim-line Honda CRF 250 at your disposal – perhaps we should all have one —

She slips quietly through the stationary traffic as if it wasn’t there and takes to the little-used backroads when neccessary leaving the motorists to their over-heating grid-lock —

Mind you – I did think I’d blown it when I discovered two sections of my backroad detour under water at the bottom end of Loch Nell but if the wee CRF doesn’t have enough ground clearance with her 21ins front and 18ins rear wheel then little else does. I doubt if it was much more than hub deep and no doubt the lower engine cases were needing a wash anyhow.

The 16 miles from town centre bike park to ferry usually takes about 20-25 mins and today was no exception – despite the stationary traffic in town and added mileage on my revised route so a 15.00 hrs kick-off had me at the 3.30 ferry with ease —

Even the Skipper was impressed – but not for long —

it takes a lot more than that to impress a ‘ferry dug’ πŸ™‚

 

 
 

CRF250 Rally finds a Shieling in the Glen

It was another of those rare ‘rogue’ nice days with some welcome sunshine as we head into October – a day to be out on the hills with the little Honda —

I’ve had it in mind to try a certain long trail to the east of here for some time and I wasn’t going to get a better day for it this side of Christmas.

The first few miles were steep and rough in places with an occasional river crossing to ford but once through a hidden pass that didn’t look entirely natural the trail improved and there were signs of a previous habitation in the wide valley I had ridden into.

So-o – with apologies to Stealers Wheel —

‘rusting roof sheets to the left of me’ —

‘crumbling stonework to my right’ —

‘here I am’ —

‘parked in the middle of you’ —

There’s little doubt that this remote glen supported at least two families not so long ago but there’s not a soul to be seen up here now – just a few flighty blackface sheep with a hint of the wild goat in them plus a half dozen or so hardy cattle.

In fact – apart from the low density sheep and cattle grazing the bare hills and an odd buzzard in the sky above the only other sign of life was a big red fox scuttling out of my was as I entered the woodland above the loch.

The well surfaced track I’m following was probably built when the area was tunnelled and dammed in a previous bout of hydro-electric frenzy —

Thankfully there’s little sign of traffic on it today and not a lot of water in the dam either despite this past summer being one of the wettest on record —

It wasn’t as easy finding my way out of the hills as it was getting into them but the wee Rally bike and I emerged from the hills and forests unscathed and enjoyed a good gallop home – on dry roads for a change. I had thought her over-geared in 6th when I first got her but now with 900 miles on the clock her 250 eager cc’s spin up quite readily and with 10mph to every 1000 revs she might even reach the mystical ‘ton’ one day – downhill with a following gale πŸ™‚

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Honda CRF250 Rally, Isle of Luing, Motorcycling

 

Honda CRF Rally does the Five Lochs

With first service due at 700 miles the little trailie was on an early ferry yesterday morning bound for our local Honda dealer where she got a clean bill of health in the time it took me to catch up with the News and have a cappuccina with the missus in the sun at a waterfront table out front of Kronks.

Then – after a good coffee – a good chat – with good weather and a good bike under me I headed for the hills —

First a visit to Taynuilt to check something out then I crossed the A85 to follow the beautiful valley cut by the River Nant as it runs north to disperse on it’s flood plain by the banks of Loch Etive. I could have followed that river into the hills forever as it rushed over waterfalls and rocks down to the sea. It was so beautiful but all too soon the ‘B’ road swung up and over a hilltop giving me a view of Ben Cruachan for my first shot. The small lochan almost lost in scrub – heather and reeds in the mid-distance is Loch Tromlee. It didn’t look like much from the roadside but there is an island on the loch with the remains of a castle so it must have mean’t something to someone in a former lifetime.

Next port of call at the end of a mainly well-surfaced if twisty and undulating single track was Ardanaiseig Hotel —

This quiet place at the end of the road miles from anywhere and looking like it should have been in a scene from Lord of the Rings is certainly worth a visit if only to check out the 240 acres of interesting and well kept grounds planted by a former owner on the banks of Loch Awe —

I might go back one day and check it all out properly – meanwhile – twisty roads and wider vistas beckon —

This view from the approach road to the remote Ardanaiseig hotel on Loch Awe side is the only sight I’ve had of the dam in the crater of Ben Cruachan mountaintop. I do wish my poor photo showed it as I saw it with the naked eye – maybe I should get that better camera I’ve been yearning for since I started this blog all those years ago – but – it’s a poor workman who blames his tools.

Enough of the doom and gloom on the banks of Loch Awe – this one from a hilltop brings more light to the subject —

Not the one I thought it was – let’s go for another —

That’s better – the bright skies have moved east but at least the wee Honda brightens up this click down Loch Awe.

Thanks to Lachlan and his post-service power-wash she is really sparkling in this next photo taken on the hill road to Kilmelford with a not-so-gloomy Loch Avich nestling in it’s deep bowl amongst the Argyl hills behind —

One shot and one loch left – a sea loch this time – Loch Melford —

With my home on the Isle of Luing on the horizon it’s not too far as the wild goose flies but without the aid of wings the wee Honda and I have several miles of road and a ferry crossing twixt here and there and something tells me I’m cooking dinner tonight.

With first service completed and 800 miles on the clock a quick burst on my ‘private test track’ showed 80mph on the speedo and had her tracking the straights and twisties true as a die on her Bridgestone knobblies – not bad for a five grand 250cc single that runs sweet as a sweet thing come rough or smooth – long may she reign πŸ™‚

 

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in Honda CRF250 Rally, Motorcycling

 

Yellow for CRF 250 Rally

Was heading out of Oban yesterday when I spotted that despite the odd blue bit in the skies above – the electronic traffic warning sign on the roadside approaching Dunbeg giving it Large with ‘YELLOW WARNING – HEAVY RAIN DUE TODAY!’Β It made a change from the usual rubbish Β – ‘Fasten Seat Belt’ – Deer Crossing Road’ – ‘Check Your Tyre Pressures’ – ‘Did You MacClean Your Teeth Today’ – ‘Don’t Pick Your Nose and Flick’ and many more useless sound bites —

So-o – it was up through the lights onto Connel Bridge – I can remember when we shared it with trains in the pre-Beeching era. Probably makes me too old to work a computer and there could be something in that as I have to click the Scroll key every time I want a capital B or N – no doubt today’s infant would know what I’m doing wrong on my old HP laptop —

No worries – being an ancient has its blessings at times – especially lunch times and I’m on my way to a Benderloch cafe cum restaurant where they do pensioner sized portions for not-a-lot of dosh —

I can only think they have n’t paid their dues to the Man above Β —

for all the rain tagged in the YELLOW WARNING appears to have fallen on the lonely CRF in their carpark while I enjoyed my mini chicken chips and salad in the dry πŸ™‚

 
 

Honda CRF250 Rally to Aird Luing

Aird Luing – the high point on the southern end of the Isle of Luing – at a mere 65 metres it’s not particularly high but with sea in most directions the views are spectacular and the trail up and over is a class act.

Quite different from my Saturday ride on her down to the Green Welly at Tyndrum when I caned the lil beauty over the hundred miles or so there and back on the ‘big’ roads.

Having ‘obtained’ permission for this ride I didn’t want to blot my copybook by stampeding the famous Luing cattle that appeared to have laid claim to some of the track although many of the ‘flighty’ sheep scarpered no matter how quietly the jewel-like CRF 250 whispered past.

I guess it’s brightly coloured flanks were like something from outer space to a wooly-back on the bottom end of Luing.

And all too soon we were there —

having looked over to the dangerous Passage of the Grey Dogs twixt Scarba and Lunga and the wild Atlantic Ocean beyond on the way.

No danger on Luing – except from the Red mother cows –

but the wee Honda has a fine turn of speed when needed –

and took me down to Aird Luing and back without fuss or drama πŸ™‚