RSS

Category Archives: Motorcycling

Caroline Caps Ben Cruachan

It was grim and more than a little blustery around here yesterday when a storm called Caroline blundered through —

but we held our ground and even found a gorgeous freshwater pool formed by rainwater dripping down from the cliffs above —

In fact beauty in abundance one minute —

and glowering storm clouds next —

Today was much the same leading to snow – especially on top of Ben Cruachan —

where Helen caught this shot of the snow-capped mountain from the roadside while on her ‘Santa’ run to Oban this morning 🙂

 
 

Yamaha FJ1100 in my Shed

A few years back I had a big workshop with not-a-lot happening in it. Modern bikes are pretty reliable and unless you are using them for something they weren’t mean’t to do they don’t take much spannering. Yes winter boredom had set in and I fancied a project.

A ‘friend’ spoke of an 1984 Yamaha FJ1100 ‘going cheap’ that would make a good project – especially with my long interest in the Yam XJR1300 which uses the same motor. I found my FJ in the middle of a D&G forest and of course paid too much for the bike which had been shut in the guy’s logshed for a number of years. She started up with the aid of a set of jump leads as the battery was duff and on the whole she didn’t look too bad.

Forget about the registration number – it’s on my car now —

Previous owner and his dog are not impressed by my first offer —

but she ended up in my workshop and it bit-by-bit she came to pieces —

despite a few pauses to read the newspaper which always looks more interesting second time round —

Wiring? it’s all there —

Sixteen inch rims on the FJ —

with big fat tyres to compensate —

She originally came out as top of the range sportsbike —

then Kawasaki spoiled her fun with a neatly packaged (for the day) Z thou —

A good condition Z thou will cost a small fortune nowadays —

and while prices may be creeping up for an old FJ1100 —

spares parts are still cheap —

 

and available —

 

if you know where to look —

 

but they still have a long way to go —

to catch up with the Z1000 —

The FJ with it’s strong wrap-around front end —

handled well for it’s time —

A dirty beggar right enough when the plastics came off but cleaned up well —

she will make a nice bike when completed —

Just can’t make up my mind whether to go for the ‘Luing Scrambler’ look – build her back as standard – or – flog her as ‘an unfinished project’.

Labouring in a cold workshop doesn’t have the same appeal as it once did 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, Yamaha FJ1100

 

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 🙂

 

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-  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 🙂

 

 

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 🙂

 

‘No Snow on the Isle of Luing’ – says the MSX125 Gorm

Across the Sound of Luing our neighbouring Isle of Scarba has it’s cap of snow —

and our ‘big’ neighbour across the Sound of Lorn – the mountainous Isle of Mull has more than it’s fair share of the white stuff —

but here on the Isle of Luing it’s like a summer’s day —

if you give or take the occasional flurry of hail – sleet or snot —

So good in fact that I brought out the ‘surfer dude’ bike – the MSX125 Gorm and went looking for long distance Atlantic Breakers – only to find them a trifle benign —

No worries – as our near neighbours say over there on the Slate Isle of Easdale – ‘the nearest landmass when we look seaward is Brazil’ – that’s a smidgen under six thousand miles for an albatross so no doubt we will have many a ‘good blow’ before winter is out 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, out and about

 

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 🙂

 

650 V-strom finds the Wild Rowan Cafe

The Wild Rowan Cafe wasn’t exactly lost but nestling on the quieter shores of Loch Awe it’s a bit of a hidden gem. I usually head that way with the agile CRF250 Rally but having extolled the merits of the wee cafe once too often we were two-up on the V-strom today.

No use pointing that-a-way girl – we’ve just come from there —

Thursday was supposed to be a day of work but by lunchtime we had both accomplished most of our allotted tasks and with the prospect of a dry afternoon ahead we were soon booted and suited then skipped over to South Cuan where we caught the last ferry before lunch to Seil and the mainland —

Now we have the direction of travel sorted we leave Loch an Losgainn Mor to it’s own devices and head due east by Loch Avich before dropping down from the hills to the shores of Loch Awe. Greasy single track roads through the mixed forests needed a little respect as they are used by forestry extraction teams and civil engineering outfits who are busy rebuilding bridges and constructing a community funded hydro-electric scheme on the River Avich.

No matter what your business is in this remote area – all roads lead to the Wild Rowan Cafe – shop cum Post Office in the tin-roofed loch-side village of Dalavich —

It’s a veritable Tardis —

Two-chinned givit needs to leave the cakes alone —

Even if he does claim to have been buying some locally knitted Beanies —

There’s one each —

plus a couple for H’s two grandaughters in Japan —

Very fetching Helen 🙂

 

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 🙂

 

Beaver Moon brings out the V-strom

The Beaver Moon — she was a beauty —

Following a wild and windy Saturday with more than our share of rainbows —

That old moon may have come shining through our back door a bit rough around the edges but she cleared the clouds away by morning giving us the first decent view we’ve had of Scarba all week —

With the final cut of grass done for the year – I hope – there was nothing else for it but to bring the V-strom out and make a leisurely start to the day as the first ferry on a Sunday goes at a tardy 11.00hrs.

By that time temperatures had risen to around nine degrees in the sunlight dropping to six-ish in the shade. No doubt there had been groundfrost earlier and a two-car prang we came across on our ride could have only been caused by black ice – or a sleeping driver.

Snow glistening on the distant Ben Cruachan for the first time this year formed a pleasing picture —

While our route would go that direction we were well below the snow-line and pulled over for a shot or two down Loch Awe —

A lovely young Oriental lady popped out of her van and insisted she take a ‘Mr & Mrs’ photo too —

A nice blast over the hill to the Green Welly found the ‘Biker’s Cafe’ closed for the winter and queues of tourists from the visiting coaches hogging the main restaurant leaving nothing else for it but coffee’s to go from the machine in the fuel station kiosk —

Can’t quite make out what ‘Sir’ is saying but it will most likely be sumthin or nuthin —

No worries – he recovered in time for a pleasant blast over Rannoch Moor to Glen Coe where the mountains were at their most photogenic.

You will just have to take my word on that because winter ferry times on the Lord’s Day don’t allow enough for a long ride leaving us little time to stop for pics as the day drew to a close 🙂