Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

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slparry
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Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby slparry » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:03 pm

Took a few days off to visit Islay but in a roundabout way :) Which meant lots of ferries, which made it all feel more of an adventure somehow :)

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First off from home up the A5 via Betws y Coed to Holyhead for the 8:55 am ferry for Dublin.

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Travelling on the Irish side through a seeming waterfall of a shower that forced us into a McDonalds until it ended, before carrying on to the lovely Ballymascanlon Hotel, where we made use of the swimming pool before hitting the bar and the restaurant. It's a gorgeous hotel, not the cheapest but very classy.

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Next morning onwards to Belfast for the next ferry over to Cairnryan, Scotland

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Very pleasant facilities on both the Stena crossings, with free cinema and reasonable food.

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From Cairnryan we rode north up the lovely coast road to Ardrossan. The road is covered in average speed cameras but being fair it's an NSL road and quite twisty so were happy enough to take in the views.

Arrived in Ardrossan and bought the CalMac "Hopscotch" tickets which are a cheaper way of making multiple crossings, we chose their option 16 which allowed crossing to Arran>Mull of Kintyre>Islay>Mull of Kintyre.

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It started light drizzling while we waited the few minutes for the ferry, I was a little concerned that it also started to get a bit choppy but thankfully didn't get too bad.

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Well strapped down :D

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a good crossing with some lovely views of Arran as we approached

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Once disembarked it was a ride through the pleasant town of Brodick to the road that crosses the island called "the String" ....

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Arran is described as Scotland in miniature as it has a little of all of the scenery.

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The stop for the night on Arran was the Lagg Hotel, very pretty little place, bumpy rutted old road on the last couple of miles to get to it, very pleasant place next to a tumbling peaty burn.

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After a great nights sleep, aided by a couple of Arran malts :) it's back around the west coast road to Lochranza for the ferry over to the Mull of Kintyre. Again lovely views, we arrive early so sit and have a coffee outside the little shack nearby. Even had a friendly robin pop onto the table to take a look at us :)

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Lochranza is a very pretty little place

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we didn't have to wait too long for the ferry and boarded with some German bikers on a Suzuki Bandit, Yamaha Diversion and a Ducati Monster

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The crossing was like a millpond, once on the other side at Cloanig it's a short 15 mile hop to the next one at Kennacraig for Port Askaig, Islay. However, the road linking the two is a single track road so we had to trundle along at the pace of the camper van in front.

Once at Kennacraig we were a bit concerned as it was the only one we couldn't book as it was full, but the lady who sold me the tickets at Ardrossan promised that there was a very good chance they'd be able to squeeze us on. Sure to her words the staff at Kennacraig found us a slot for the two bikes when the ferry came in.

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It's quite a long crossing and the weather started closing in which meant we'd arrive at Port Askaig on Islay in the rain and drizzle.

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First order on arrival was to ride past our hotel for the night and go the two miles up the road to the Lagavulin distillery, passing Laphroaig as we did so.

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We arrived 2 minutes after the last tour had started but they let us join it, and didn't charge us either :)

The 4 stills at Lagavulin

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At the end of the tour there was a free glass and a small measure of Lagavulin, despite riding I did have the one small one :D Chose the "Distillers Edition" 16 year old, which is only available from the distillery and is finished in sherry casks which adds a bit of sweetness to the smokiness of the standard 16. It was so good I decided to treat myself to a bottle :)

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From there it was the two miles back to the lovely Islay Hotel, Port Ellen. Highly recommended.


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Dinner that night was gorgeous starting with fresh oysters

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Followed by a whole lobster with garlic butter


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washed down with a nice chilled Pinot Grigio

I loved that they had an entire menu of rare Islay Malts so bypassed pud for a special treat, a triple matured Lagavulin that's no longer produced ... at an eye watering £28 a measure (hey I'm on holiday) :D .... gorgeous simply gorgeous


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A quick walk down to see where the ferry is for the next morning (about 100 yards away)


After a great nights kip, and a lovely breakfast of local produce with Stornaway black pudding and haggis we almost felt guilty starting the engines for 100 yards :D

On the crossing back we could see a few of the distilleries from the sea.

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While crossing over we rode towards Loch Lomond and decided to ride home down the tedious M6 which was 355 miles with only fuel stops.

Because of the ferries and islands the whole trip was quite low mileage, of 688 miles .... of which most was the 355 miles home, far less than our normal 1300+ miles when up in the Highlands.

The RT averaged 58 MPG
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Galactic Greyhound
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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby Galactic Greyhound » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:48 pm

Great write-up and pics Steve!

I felt like I was with you on the Scottish section which I know well.

You lived well in Port Ellen!

The Lagavulin is an acquired taste with its heavy smokiness and that triple matured I have never experienced but sounds a real treat.

I was once in digs in Port Ellen and, after dinner, was asked if I would like "a wee coffee in the lounge?"

A couple of glasses were laid out and a small coffee jar was produced.
The clear 'coffee' was poured into the glasses - "that's an Ardbeg" says my host - "straight from the still"!

It was a 'guid night' from what I remember! :drunken:
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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby george baker » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:55 pm

Hi Steve,
tasts like a good trip

George
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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby slparry » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:56 pm

Great write-up and pics Steve!

I felt like I was with you on the Scottish section which I know well.

You lived well in Port Ellen!

The Lagavulin is an acquired taste with its heavy smokiness and that triple matured I have never experienced but sounds a real treat.

I was once in digs in Port Ellen and, after dinner, was asked if I would like "a wee coffee in the lounge?"

A couple of glasses were laid out and a small coffee jar was produced.
The clear 'coffee' was poured into the glasses - "that's an Ardbeg" says my host - "straight from the still"!

It was a 'guid night' from what I remember! :drunken:
Straight from the still ..... jeepers you're lucky you didn't go blind :D
--
Steve Parry ..... now in a new job from Feb 16 .. sales exec at Chester Motorrad :)
The fleet is presently ...
'86 R80RS
'03 R1100S Boxercup Replika
'07 K1200GT SE
'14 F800GS
'14 R1200RT LE

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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby Ruralman » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:14 pm

Hi Steve,
Sounds like a great trip, maybe you could send it to Bryce for the E-Zine.
Regards
Keith


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slparry
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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby slparry » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:05 pm

Hi Steve,
Sounds like a great trip, maybe you could send it to Bryce for the E-Zine.
Regards
Keith


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Not sure how, but feel free to forward it on my behalf :)
--
Steve Parry ..... now in a new job from Feb 16 .. sales exec at Chester Motorrad :)
The fleet is presently ...
'86 R80RS
'03 R1100S Boxercup Replika
'07 K1200GT SE
'14 F800GS
'14 R1200RT LE

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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby boxerman » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:34 pm

"that's an Ardbeg" says my host - "straight from the still"!
But that'd have zero character if it hasn't touched the oak. It might have a slight whisky flavour but surely it's little more than 70% (ish) ethanol.
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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby King Herald » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:42 am

That looks like a great trip to make. I wish I could get the logistics into place to do something like that myself, circumstances prevent it right now though, unfortunately.

I rode to Barmouth on Saturday....250 miles..... :oops:
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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby slparry » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:57 am

That looks like a great trip to make. I wish I could get the logistics into place to do something like that myself, circumstances prevent it right now though, unfortunately.

I rode to Barmouth on Saturday....250 miles..... :oops:
I was in Barmouth too yesterday, took my sister out on the RT, first time she'd been on a bike in years. It was stunning weather there!
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Steve Parry ..... now in a new job from Feb 16 .. sales exec at Chester Motorrad :)
The fleet is presently ...
'86 R80RS
'03 R1100S Boxercup Replika
'07 K1200GT SE
'14 F800GS
'14 R1200RT LE

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Re: Ireland, Islands and Highlands 2017

Postby Ruralman » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:23 pm

Hi Steve,
Sounds like a great trip, maybe you could send it to Bryce for the E-Zine.
Regards
Keith


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Not sure how, but feel free to forward it on my behalf :)
Thanks I'll forward it to Bryce.
Regards
Keith


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Keith Hillier
Club Chairman
chairman@bmridersclub.com
----------------------------------
2006 R1200GSA
2004 K1200rs

'Live to ride - ride to live'
\:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/


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