Our last day on Skye, I first nipped out for my coffee fix then returned to pack everything again and meet everyone outside for our ride to today’s destination. I was tired. Exhausted. And felt really bad for Paul. I have been coughing all night long and his bedroom was on the other side of a paper thin wall. I was trying to suppress the cough by putting a pillow over my head, holding my breath and thinking of other things but each time a violent cough literally lifted me out of the bed.
Facing Paul in the kitchen I felt like a naughty teenager that got caught sneaking in late by the parents! Head down and walking in with a big apology made me feel even worse. Paul is a superstar and even though I could tell he didn’t sleep much he didn’t try to make me feel any worse.
Once we were all gathered and waited for Jules, who was faffing as usual, we set off and followed the road south to Skye bridge. The views from the bridge were mesmerising but sadly nowhere to stop for the photos. I think the others were probably quite happy about that given that none of us had breakfast yet.
We stopped in Kyle of Lochalsh for fuel and food at a cafe. Our destination was Lochcarron Hotel at Loch Carron. Everyone was keen to go to Applecross and as we were practically passing the hotel we decided to stop and drop our bags off there until we can check in later.
After the bag drop we carried to Kinlochewe where we were all gobsmacked at the view that opened up about 2 miles before arriving to Kinlochewe. Everyone was snapping away and couldn’t get enough of the view.
At Kinlochewe service station we stopped for refreshments, proper biker stuff, scones and coffee. As I was scoffing mine I heard someone say ‘I follow you on twitter’ to Roey. I looked over and it was a great pleasure to meet Karl, whom I have been tweeting with for a while. That’s why I love the social media most, you get to meet good people all over the world. We had a quick chat as he and his mates just came back from Bealach-na-ba mountain road which was where we were heading to. He also warned us about the hotel we were staying in that night, describing it as a shithole. Not knowing his standards (sorry Karl!) I decided to reserve judgement until later.
Pic stolen from Karl’s twitter account.
I must admit I was feeling a bit nervous at the start of the Bealach-na-ba road. I didn’t know what to expect from a Scottish “pass” – I ride over Llanberis Pass and Hellfire Pass in Wales often, have ridden a couple of Alpine passes and I know how challenging they can be.
The road started quite wide with gentle bends and all was well. I kept up the speed and when we eventually came to the switchbacks I was sensible enough to not follow the bike in front as closely as I normally do. This gave me the opportunity and time to assess the corner, adjust my speed and copy the lines of the person in front of me. I didn’t have to worry at all, there are only a few switchbacks so it wasn’t even tiring. We decided to carry on at the top, didn’t even stop and just went to Applecross directly.
There we stopped for a drink and a chat about the ride. Noone really wanted a drink or food so we rode on a short detour to Toscaig which is the most southern settlement on the Applecross peninsular.
From there we basically followed the same route back to Applecross and back over the Bealach-na-ba road. Paul was last in the group, right behind me. As we passed the summit of Bealach-na-ba everyone carried on. I pulled over, looked at Paul and shrugged. We both understood – we’re stopping for photos. We did a u-turn and parked up on the summit. Well I did, right in front of four two seater cars that were clearly positioned for the photos. I rode Bella between the two cards and parked right in their line of view. When I turned around I suddenly realised what I’ve done and apologised to the guys. Luckilly they’ve done all their photos and were about to leave. Phew!
Paul and I rode back to the hotel where the others were waiting for us. Given the glowing reviews from Karl, we asked the hotel to let us see the rooms before we committed to staying there although we weren’t really sure where else we would stay instead.
We decided that the bedding was clean despite the rooms decor was decades old, had an actual single bed in and the bathrooms were in dire need of an upgrade.
Surprisingly, though, the menu choice was excellent, the food was delicious and the wine selection was impressive. This was the best part of the hotel so rather than calling it an early night everyone was happy to stay up, chatting and drinking. Even more so after Gavin, our barman offered his entertainment to us which had us in fits of laughter. Here is a snipped of what we have been delighted with for hours!
The day was 22nd September 2019 and we’ve covered 142 miles.