Category Archives: out and about

The Battle of Sheriffmuir 1715

This yin wisnae fitba’ — it was juist anither grudge match between the Stewarts and a’ the rest that knew which side there bread wis buttered on —

The Stewarts under that big local saftie – the Earl o’ Marr and his fellow Toffs – had 12000 poorly trained and ill equipped fairmers – chancers and chanty wrastlers who were only there for the beer in his line-up while George1st – the first king of the new Britain put the Sassenach loving Duke of Argyle on the field with only 6000 trained and well sorted sojers at his disposal —

After a few hours spent throwing insults and bashing the living daylights out of one another the score read – Earl of Marr’s lot 250 dead – with the Duke of Argyle’s losses coming in nearer 750 —

The result was adjudged a draw — although it has gone down in history as one of Scotland’s great losses against the English – and that will be why that wee Yorkshire lass wi’ the Honda is the boss o’ me — go figure???

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Posted by on August 30, 2021 in out and about


Yamaha XT600E in Church Stretton

Some of my happiest biking days were spent ‘Green Laning’ on this bike – seen here parked outside my mate Brian Marshall’s bike shop in darkest Shropshire —

Brian had been Rights of Way Sec for the local branch of the TRF so there weren’t many Trails north -south – east or west that he didn’t know about and with over 100 miles under our wheels on any Sunday we certainly rode most of them back there in the late nineties —

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Posted by on August 30, 2021 in out and about


Suzuki 1200 Bandit in Brittany

It was late 1990’s and by the look of that sheepskin I was pleased to buy from a roadside shop I was suffering with a tender derriere way back then —

There were to be many bikes and many many thousands of miles to be covered before I finally succumbed to the surgeons knife – and a lot of good that did me — it was about as much use as the sheepskin — and a lot messier lol!

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Posted by on August 29, 2021 in out and about


Butterflies and Big Boy’s Toys on the Road to Bridge of Balgie

Believe it or not but they are hauling timber from one side of Ben Lawers to the other on the single track road that has become a ‘must do’ for motorcyclists —

You wouldn’t want to argue ‘rights of way’ with this Tonka Toy if you were to meet him up there —

At a rough guess I would say there’s 60 to 70 tonnes gross moving along here and although the road looks good past the Lawers Dam I can assure you the strip down to the Bridge of Balgie side of the hill is no better than it was when I first rode it on my 350 Velo over sixty years ago —

There was an impressive flow of water going under the bridge and that big pool below looks ready to take a fly —

Not so much water farther up on the hillside – but enough to provide a picturesque picnic spot for Helen and I —

There was a time when ‘skinny dipping’ might have been on the agenda – but that was then —

and this is now – anyway – there were far more attractive things up there —

with the many butterflies on the thistles above Loch Tay —

putting on a show on our way home —

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Posted by on August 27, 2021 in out and about


Heather Bells are Blooming on Ben Lawers

One of yesterday’s pics didn’t feature in my blog – so here it is in all it’s glory —

Makes me want to go back up there again today —

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Posted by on August 27, 2021 in out and about


Emergency Helicopter to the Washing Green

Was enjoying my macaroni and chips at Shutter’s in Killin earlier today when the fire engine came flying out of the Station across the road with all sirens howling and disappeared up the road at a rate of knots! Just had time to finish my roadside meal when the chopper appeared overhead and landed amongst the washing behind the restaurant —

Never did find out what it was all about for with food in the belly and sunshine overhead I was soon heading by Loch Tay for Ben Lawers and Glen Lyon —-

I never tire of the Big Scoot —

from hyway to byway —

it does it all —

and I don’t seem to mind that the first question I get from woolly headed fellow bikers is —

‘Why is there such a big space between the rear wheel and the underside of the seat?’ —

Who cares? For I don’t – she handles better than most bikes and it’s not sumthin that crosses my mind when I’m out there enjoying the ride —

I’m more concerned about what we are going to do when the water runs out – as it has done up here in the Dam on Ben Lawers —

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Posted by on August 26, 2021 in out and about


Scotland’s First Powered Flight

We had one in 1961 when I T-boned an errant Fiat 500 with my 650 BSA and flew for several yards in a Superman position before piling headfirst into a steel roadsign – leaving my spine hanging by a thread twixt 3rd and 4th vertebrae.

For the real thing we have to go all the way back to 1909 when pioneers in aviation Frank and Howard Barnwell built and flew their first plane in the shadow of the Wallace Monument at Causewayhead, Stirling.

The Yanks had the Wright Brothers while we had the Barnwell Boys who started the Grampian Engineering Company in Causewayhead in 1906 and the patterns for the wings and fuselage of their first plane were still in the machine shop loft when I joined the company fresh from the farms in 1960.

So the Wallace Monument is not the only memorial in Causwayehead – there is also one for Harold Barnwell even if he did only fly 80yds before nose-diving into a farmer’s field. I might well have beaten him for height and distance flown if it wasn’t for that steel road sign I headbutted on my way home from work at the Grampian that day —

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Posted by on August 25, 2021 in out and about


Puff Ball Wizard by Dalmally

Having set off in hanging misty conditions it was 40 odd miles before the sun started to burn through over a coffee at the Green Welly —

By the time I reached Dalmally where I made a detour onto the backroads all that remained —

were a few puff balls of cloud —

over the mountains behind Ben Cruachan —

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Posted by on August 25, 2021 in out and about


New Bridgestone for the X-ADV 750

I seem to wear the sides off my front Bridgestone in approx 3500 miles while the rear will last around 5000 —

As I understand it the Dot on the tyre wall should be fitted at the valve and that was where it was on the original tyres which needed a minimum of balance weights. Bikers come from all over to have their tyres fitted by my local tyre guy who – it would appear – doesn’t ‘do’ dots – pops the tyre on any old how and uses lots of weights to balance the thing.

I may be an old fusspot but I think I would prefer the dot fitted by the valve if it means a minimum of balance weights are needed —

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Posted by on August 22, 2021 in out and about


Chasing Blue Skies by Ben Cruachan

Playing the old game again – following the blue sky breaks in the cloud and dodging the fierce rain showers —

That will be a glimpse of Loch Awe – which will do for starters —

With Ben Cruachan just emerging from it’s cloud cover —

and Castle Sumthin at the eastern end of the loch —

A final view of Ben Cruachan as I head for home – apart from a few miles down the side of Loch Earn I managed to stay dry throughout —

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Posted by on August 10, 2021 in out and about