Category Archives: out and about

Crystal Waters Running Deep

With another dry spell coming to an end Loki and I took a turn round by Toberonochy moorings for a look-see. Nothing new apart from a stack of lobster or perhaps langoistine kreels judging by their lighter weight than usual.

We have seen the old wooden hull on the far shore so often but it was only when we walked round the black gravel beach that we realised the hulk had a name.

Crystal Waters —

Running not very deep on this occasion —

Well – you have been warned —

The for’ard winches haven’t seen oil or grease for many years —

and to venture below decks isn’t for the faint-hearted

and this is as close as I’m gonna get unless I’m going ‘down the hatch’ —

Clear Waters right enough – but hardly enough to float her.

It’s not for the first time I’ve said in these posts – ‘if only boats could talk’ for I’m sure they would have many an interesting tale to tell. I believe this one earned it’s corn on the North Sea before being stripped of her gear and towed round the north of Scotland where she has been put into retirement.

Or – like Loki is she just patiently waiting? I for one have a kernel of an idea involving the old hull that I would love to see turned into a mighty oak and be of use to us all. Such a shame that I have been telling myself for the past twelve or thirteen years that I am retired now —

What do you think Loki?

OK Loki – that look say’s it all – I promise I will stay retired.

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Posted by on October 22, 2019 in out and about


Mitsubishi L200 Pickup – an oilburner for a logburner

It’s leaning towards the end of October – time to wind the clocks back so let’s wind ’em all the way back to 2005 when I lived in my ancient converted bakery/millhouse on the Welsh border.

As ever with these old cottages ‘improvements’ never stop and any man worth his salt in the DIY biznez would have a pickup truck and a chainsaw.

There’s not much room in that little house once you allow for the walls being a metre thick but having built up that door and installed patio doors in place of the window I managed to squeeze my new logburner into the corner where the door had been. Got that?

I certainly did and earned myself a short stay in hospital when my ambition was to prove more than my body could take. Sandstone blocks are heavy things and it didn’t help that when I broke the wall out under the window I found a sandstone lined culvert which had been the outfall for the watercourse used to drive the original millwheel.

Surprise – surprise! Dry now – it had run all the way under the house from front to back till it would merge with the stream at the bottom of the garden which eventually joined the River Severn a couple of miles or so downstream..

No worries – bodies repair themselves and with the hard work done it was off over the border into Wales to where the ash trees were going cheap – if you cut and hauled them home by yersel.

That was when my L200 came into it’s own.

She was a proper workhorse —

She carted everything from bikes to building materials and logs to name but a few.

and no – I didn’t cut my leg off – at least not on that occasion. The 17 stitches I have in my right thigh muscle are from a mishap while building a coffee table for my first house down in Nottingham in the late sixties.

Decking laid —

tool shed and logshed built —

The tough L200 earned it’s place in my heart —

as I became proficient with the chainsaw and the logpile grew.

Even Midge was impressed no end —

especially when winter arrived.


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Posted by on October 19, 2019 in out and about


Honda CRF250 Rally Plays Chicken!

Weighing up my options —

‘Looks like a job for a boat —‘


Tuk Tuk – c’mon out chook!

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Posted by on October 18, 2019 in out and about


Honda X-ADV 750 – Shafted!

There are several things about my 2019 ADV 750 that suggest it might have been designed by the son of the creator of my 1995 ST1100 Pan European. Most noticeably is the weight of the ADV which at about 240 kgs isn’t so far behind the heavyweight Pan. At least my old Pan has shaft-drive and if a bike should have had a modern shaft it’s the new for 2017 X-ADV 750.

But to quote Shakespeare’s MacBeth when debating how to murder King Duncan and was handed a dagger – ‘What is this I see before me?’

It’s a bloody chain! Tucked so far out of sight that she is a devil to lubricate! Mr. Honda with a little bit of will and ingenuity you could have taken the virtually maintenance free shaft drive from your VRF800 and fitted it here – you know it would have made sense.

Furthermore – is it only your arch-competitors at BMW and KTM who have realised that heavyweight bikes are a thing of the past. Just look at the wheel spindle and nuts on this miniscule but heavy rear wheel you have put into the ADV 750.

There’s a 22mm head on the wheel spindle and a 27mm nut holding it tight in there. I’ve seen lighter fittings holding the wheels on a farm tractor. It’s little wonder that the Tool Kit supplied with the bike doesn’t contain spanners to fit – they would have filled the helmet sized underseat storage compartment on their own!

I could go on – I mean just look at the size of that additional caliper operated by the a cable Hand Brake on the rear disc in addition to the main stopper! Not only is it heavy but it’s slung underneath where it will catch all the dirt and debris as well as being the first thing to clout rocks if the X-ADV is used off-road as your sales literature suggest it can be.

Mr Honda I would like to think when you upgrade the X-ADV 750 in two or five years time that you take a tip from your European competitors. Apply a bit of modern thought and expertise to weight-saving to complement the looks of this lil beauty and you will have a winner.

Unfortunately the world will probably have turned to Electric bikes for the road by then and Honda will still be pouring their R&D budget into shaving a few grammes off the top of the range Fireblade in an attempt to win the Suzuka 8 Hours.

There’s no question that the ADV 750 is a rorty lil roadster with sound effects to match. Top speed is listed at 110mph and as I’m still Running In you will understand when I say we haven’t been there – yet.

Let’s just say that I have reason to believe that 110mph is a fairly conservative estimate and as speeds increase and having no fuel tank between my knees I have a fair idea what it would feel like to Do-the-Ton on a bar stool while hanging on to the bar rail.

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Posted by on October 17, 2019 in out and about


By Yeti for Fir and Fungi

An unusual way to spend a birthday perhaps but a good excuse to be out there in the wild. Our Yeti has five years and 52000 miles under her wheels and all she has needed apart from regular oil/filter changes and tyres has been a coil pack replaced around the 50000 mile mark.

Here by loch and glen is the Birthday Girl herself and already she has found enough colourfull fungi by the roadside to fill her lenses.

For me it’s any excuse to get off the tarmac and head into the forests to forage for more exotica.

A Yeti in a fir tree and a little bonus pops out to play.

Okay – okay – I know – ‘get your mind back on the job’ – there’s fungi by the bucket load up here.

And it can stay there too – the only fungi I feel is safe to eat these days is the stuff that comes in a pack from the supermarket and even with it I have my doubts about the compost it’s grown in.

But I do like my Skoda Yeti – they don’t make them any more so it won’t be easy to replace her when she wears out. Hopefully that day is still sumway off.

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Posted by on October 16, 2019 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Wildlife


Toberonochy sur Mer

Toberonochy sur Mer – taking liberties with the name I know but we are still in the European Union at least till the end of the month so let’s givit a shout.

There are two villages on the Isle of Luing – Cullipool on the west coast which – like ourselves here at Bardrishaig – is exposed to all the ‘weather’ you could imagine and Toberonochy on the east which provides a sheltered anchorage.

I had planned to make the most of a sunny afternoon and take a few photos of picturesque Toberonochy which – along with a few other useful things – houses our small cinema in it’s village hall – but – as the bold Rabbie was fond of saying – ‘the best laid plans of mice and men gan aft aglae’ – or sum such like.

On this occasion it was the battery in my phone that gave up the ghost after two pics! We may just have had the last sunny day of the year but with a lump of the Isle of Shuna in the background at least the ADV750 got into shot.


Ducati’s in my Life

The first Ducati in my life wasn’t exactly mine – it belonged to my brother Jim who surprised us all by bringing one of these lil beauties home in 1959.

A 200cc Ducati – this one is the Elite but the one Jim had was more akin to the Scrambler.

To be honest my mates and I weren’t exactly impressed. Being steeped as we were in heavyweight British ‘exotica’ such as BSA Rocket Goldstars – Velocettes and Triumph Bonnevilles the tiny Ducati just didn’t cut the mustard in our gang back then.

I had to wait until the late eighties before I had my own Duke – the GT860 bevel drive camshaft model. I wasn’t particularly impressed with it either due to a noisy top-end and soon sold it on. Just in time because I understand it rattled itself to near death in the new owner’s hands pretty soon after he got it home to Arbroath.

Here she is on the roadside by Loch Lubnaig – part of a collection of roads I considered to be my own private race track.

After that ‘near miss’ I managed to steer clear of Ducatis until 1995 when I rashly bought one of these.

Mine was the last of the Corse 888 family and was the full Monty race version! Bored out to the maximum at 926cc – she came with about six sets of bodywork – two race motors and a shed full of lightweight wheels. In fact it was the full package as raced by the late David Jeffries in MCN British Superbikes in 1994.

Things didn’t entirely go to plan after I bought her but such is racing. No worries – I did get one race out of her and that was the Daytona 200 with a young up-and-coming Neil Hodgson aboard. Neil managed a 5th in the Twins race and a creditable 12th in the Daytona 200 itself which was won by Carl Fogarty’s arch-enemy – Scott Russel who managed to kick Neil into the kitty-litter. Youtube is still showing the ’95 Daytona 200 and of course Neil can be seen struggling to get my Duke back on track at the first corner after coming down off the scary 50 degree concrete banking .

I managed to come out of that little flirtation with a beautiful Ducati unscathed too as IRTA – the MotoGP organisers of the day paid all my expenses and I was doubly fortunate that Scania Trucks paid me top dollar when they bought my 888 for one of their sponsored riders. Didn’t do Neil any harm either as he went on to earn a full Works ride with Ducati and actually won the World Superbike Championship a few years later.

As they say in all the best storybooks – ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’.

A-ahhh – almost forgot – there was another Ducati in my life – the white 848\

Here I am trying it for size at the old Grobnik GP circuit near Rijeka – Croatia around 2008 – but that’s another story all of it’s own.

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Posted by on October 14, 2019 in Isle of Luing, Motorcycling, out and about


Loki in the eye of the storm

Does he look bothered?

Not a bit of it – he’s fast asleep with his eyes open as usual. C’mon Loki – I know it’s blowing a hoolie but let’s nip down to the coast between showers and check out the surf.

Not bad – from up here anyway.

Let’s get a bit closer —

Considering the wind is gusting to 50mph the sea doesn’t look bad at all. Time for a wee ramble before those wild showers come back.


OK – I’m sorry – you were just guarding my walking stick.

‘C’mon Dad – try to keep up!’

‘There’s a storm blowing in from Colonsay and that guy over on Easdale told us before we moved here that the gales howl non-stop all the way from Brazil!’

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Posted by on October 11, 2019 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks


Auld age disnae come itsel

My old mother was right when she said ‘auld age disnae come itsel Donald’.

I haven’t even been able to access my own Blog for some time now as Google used to remember my password for me. Then – in an attempt to copy the Chinese I banned Google from the Home Farm. Seems I made a big mistake. The all-seeing eye of Big Brother has it’s uses after all.

No worries – I’m back in biznez and hopefully I’m ready to carry on where I left off.

My CRF250 Rally is still around and just get’s better n better. Changing the gearing by fitting a couple of teeth more on the rear sprocket has had the desired effect and keeps her minimal power output in the meat of the rev band.

Fitting a complete Arrow alloy – peashooter type exhaust has also helped by reducing weight and finding some extra ponies.

Oh – and the new Wilber rear shock has levelled her up a bit and set the handling alight as she is no longer draggin her ass on the road.

Sadly the V-strom has gone and so have the two Honda Grom’s. Four hundred miles between the wee Honda’s over four years bears testament to the two wee bikes not fitting the bill although they did nothing wrong really.

So-o – what replaced them? Sumthin different of course. In fact very different. A state-of-the art Honda X-ADV750! Here she is lighting up a dull day with no other visiting bikes at the Green Welly unless we count a big Goldwing complete with sidecar and trailer beautifully ridden by two equally large ladies from Belgium.

My X-ADV750 is on the right – Mr Honda’s motorcycling answer to the SUV range currently gaining popularity in the car industry. A motorcycle in scooter clothing – she has a 750cc twin cylinder motor driving through a 6 speed gearbox and twin clutch system which enables automatic selection of the gears. Riding position is feet-forward – a must for me as it means I can delay the inevitable for a few more years.

Yes – old age hasn’t come itself and I have been putting off a date with the scalpel and power saw as various surgeons have been itching to cut out my right knee joint and fit me with some sort of mechanical contrivance in it’s place for the past four years.

I still haven’t fully recovered from my last encounter with the surgeon’s wayward blade of five/six years ago and doubtless never will. If riding feet-forward scoot-style gives me several more years in the saddle without resorting to the knife then it’s no real hardship.

Now then – where did I jot down that password .. lol


Tales from the XJR1300

Having Javier and Bainzie pop in to the site put me back to my XJR1300 years which lasted from 2000- 2010 plus a few dabbles in the years that followed.

The annual club meet for coffee at the Broadway Hotel in the Cotswolds was always guaranteed to bring out some heavy metal —

and sumwun had to keep them all in line —

Especially when you had tearaways like Bainzie there – 4th from left in the shades – he was the best tailgunner in the biznez when the pace got hot and a few fell by the wayside —

Did I see Tony here on the left – just checking his bollocks as usual – last time we ran together was from Matlock and we didn’t get far on that occasion before a bunch of us were spread up the road! A Suzuki riding Loonie from Manchester coming fast on our side of the road round a blind bend wiped us out. It took two armed polis – two ambulances and a whole lot more to clean up that mess.

What else have we got?

Mad Mick on the right and Ollie with their Yellow Perils at Ravenglass in the Lakes – the faster red bike is mine. Poor Ollie there in the centre had recently returned from a trackday on a circuit in the south of France. Having discovered the freedom of the race track the XJR was in the proccess of being exchanged for a go-faster Ducati. He lost his life when hit by a car just a couple of days after this photo was taken — a sad loss.

H-mmm – that memory detuned me a bit – I will dig a few more pics out when I have time because every ride didn’t end badly – even if an over-exhuberant Lampy did make a habit of killing lamposts and bursting holes through stone walls —


Posted by on March 24, 2019 in out and about