It was Friday lunchtime when they began to arrive in numbers, Julie and I had been here since yesterday as were “The Crabbes x2” They had just taken themselves off to Edinburgh on the train for the day. Barry and Tina came up the drive with the usual suspect in tow, Geoff and Christine..Mark an Chrissie followed by Tony and Heather, all on dry looking 1800’s. They had a good rain free run up, unlike us who yesterday had one or two rain showers and a burst of hailstones even! Most of the Wanderers were here in the Arcasaid Hotel, the poorer folk had booked into servants rooms up a side street nearby. Our hotel was ok..ish, it seems the wonders of advertising works well! For me it Scotland’s version of FAWLTY TOWERS, it was a holiday rest home for the nearly dead! For sure it was not really suitable for an Appy Wanderers weekend but we will make the best of whets available here in Pitlochry and not just the hotel

Wee Gary Cairns

Wee Garry Cairns

The 3 star ARCASAID hotel was actually two separate buildings, it looked like one building had been purchased at a later date and linked by a white wood and glass corridor, on the inside it really did remind me of FAWLTY TOWERS except the moose head was missing from the reception wall. Everything looked old and fragile yet clean, it varied greatly in colour and décor, and the carpet knocked Julie for six with its blue and yellow flowered dots and threadbare edges (£96 per night?) Our splendid abode in the Lodge next door (annexe) had toilet and shower inside the MDF boxed bathroom and the sink on the outside..Next to the telly? (£96 per night?) In the main building Brian and Janet had no shower and were given a bottle of plonk to keep them quiet by Mr Grumpy (£96 per night?) In their defence it does say some have showers and some have baths but they never mentioned mould in Barry’s room (£96 per night?) The décor is wild and NOT Best Western regimental beige and pale blues that’s for sure, but then I do like different! The bar was hidden amongst the floral wallpaper; it was just a hatch next to the foyer with two sofas. It didn’t looked used much, well come on now how often have you seen dead folk drinking? It did not suite me at all, I decided I would entertain myself elsewhere in the coming evenings, besides I didn’t want to be responsible for scaring away the ancient purple rinse ladies or the ex majors and well healed but delicate chaps. The only alert being in the building was “Rascal” He was a beautiful black Labrador, he kept popping his head over the hatch to say hello. His owner was a proper English Grumpy Git of dour disposition (The missing moose head?) He gave our Herr Flick from Austria a run for his money as worst host so far in APPY WANDERERS history. Clare the lady of the house on the other hand was a voluptuous curvaceous breath of fresh air and worthy of conversation over a pint or three. She was bubbly, happy and interesting. (£95 per night!) Breakfast was 100% perfect, the two Polish serving wenches were good, especially young Anna, she made me smile she was a definite bonus to the hotel this year, she was funny, helpful and got on with everyone and had a good command of English, the poor lass struggled with Yorkshire though, she didn’t know what a bloody bucket was and had I to repeat it in a London accent! “I want a backet innit” I said. “Oh you want backet?” she replied. I give her top marks though because she managed to bring me extra bacon every morning. The other lass was OK too until you upset her then she had a notion of throwing toast at big Derek. You should have seen his face! (£95…Priceless!)
The garden was wonderful and time had been spent on it. It was the best thing about the hotel the shrubs had been ravaged this year apparently but what was left was stunning, I was impressed so much that I asked Julie to take note and will purchase some presently for my own garden. I have to say though that the hotel was over priced and not worthy of a return visit…that of course is just mine and Julies thoughts
“So, why Pitlochry?” You ask? Well I’ve come through here a couple of times on my travels and know some great little roads. Last year with Julie I stopped here for a week at the nearby Faskally holiday home site on a Steve Saunders weekend, it is ideally situated for “ride outs” and provides plenty of scope in every direction, also Pitlochry has enough bars and eateries to entertain for several days. Pitlochry too and has lots to offer on its doorstep if the weather turned really ugly, It was a Bank Holiday after all! The stats for the town say this… Pitlochry is a burgh in the area of Perth and Kinross lying on the River Tummel Its population according to the 2001 census was 2,564. It is largely a Victorian town, whose success as a tourist resort was due to Queen Victoria visiting the area in 1842, and the arrival of the railway in 1863. It remains a popular tourist resort today and is particularly known as a centre for hill walking surrounded by mountains such as Ben Vrackie. The town has retained many stone-built Victorian buildings….and on it goes but you get the drift eh?
So last Autumn I suggested to Barry we do this as an APPY WANDERERS long weekend. Depending on the weather we could do either long ride outs north west to the craggy Highlands or hilly heath lands to the east, if we had poor weather we could instead do shorter trips to nearby castles stately homes and distilleries.

Wee Mark of Lancashire

But for now I escorted the early arrivals up into the high street in search of a snack and found a great little butchers shop for a bacon sarni or two, a large bright bar across the way welcomed us for a few hours. The weather was now bright but showery most of the afternoon, more Wanderers began to arrive at the hotel and phoned Barry who then relayed our location, soon Tony and Hazel joined us as we meandered towards the famous Salmon ladder.
The info pamphlet says….The ladder was constructed as a result of a 1943 Act of Parliament which laid a duty of care on the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to preserve fish stocks in the waterways encompassing its power schemes. It was completed in 1951 alongside the dam for the hydro-electric power station as part of the Tummel Hydro-Electric Power Scheme and was installed in 1952. It was the first of its type in Scotland. The fish ladder consists of 34 separate pools, each slightly higher than the last and covering a distance of about 350 yards. Each pool has a tunnel opening below the water level to allow the fish to pass to the next pool; a continuous flow of water maintains the water level in the pools. There are three larger pools which allow the fish to rest during their ascent, and one of these has an underwater viewing area with a glass wall and CCTV cameras to allow the public to observe the fish making their climb during the breeding season. We stood here with Tony and Hazel and saw a couple of huge salmon resting, I thought they actually jumped from pool to pool, but this shows exactly what does happen. The ladder is equipped with a fish counter which allows the number of fish making the journey each year to be recorded. In 2006, 7,238 fish were recorded travelling up the ladder. The dam across the River Tummel at Pitlochry (that led to the formation of Loch Faskally) was constructed between 1947 and 1950 as part of the Board’s Tummel Hydro-Electric Power Scheme. Without the fish ladder it would have been an impassable obstacle for the migrating salmon. Naturally this is a great attraction to the public I for one have never seen anything like it and was fascinated to see the huge salmon just a few inches from my face behind the glass.
It was a very peasant afternoon stroll which ended at a pub (naturally) On the walk back we passed a small restaurant bar by the bridge called “Drummonds” We filed in and were soon ordering coffee, tea, cakes and an odd pint, The owner and his staff were great, after the first meal that evening he offered us a deal for every night of our stay, we thought about it and said OK. He even reserved half his tables for the APPY WANDERERS and so every night 27 people filed in around seven in the evening for dinner, drinks and a night of singing care of the karaoke, not my scene at all but the “Ayes” had the vote, A silver lining of this was that I discovered via Bart was a brilliant alcoholic ginger beer and so settled to watch the tomfoolery….night


09.30hrs on Saturday morning after the weather updates and breakfast we began to gather outside, we decided on route No1.We would head north to Inverness via Aviemore then turning south to run down the length of Loch Ness. Between us Barry and I had dialled in about six routes in all directions on the Sat Nav.
We had six Scottish natives with us for the local knowledge as back up to Sat Nav, so on this ride thank you very much Bart and Suzie, she on her howling Honda Goldie Valkyrie and Bart on the 1979 GL1000KZ, it had not a spot of rust about it, just great splodges of engine oil, a tad of grease here and there, a faint whiff of glycol and swarfiga and of course the odd pocket of water which evaporated when the engine got to boiling point! Also you could see some glass shards of a Jim Beam whisky bottle used to launch the beast when Bart first stole it, to top it off the whole thing shimmered in a haze of WD.40, if you got close to it, it smelled of burning rubber and teenage biking memories….Aaha! now that’s the bisto moment!
Everyone topped up with fuel and gathered at the garage, slowly we left as one, fourteen bikes, one being a fast red 1800 trike with Jane and Stephen from Dumfries they generally stayed behind Barry on the lead bike, we rode up the high street joining the A9 at the other end, picking up speed and headed towards Inverness way up north. Most had wet gear of some kind on as it looked possible it might rain? Up past Blair Atholl castle and along the flat Glen Garry we rode, this road is quite fast so a respectable speed was maintained into the Cairngorms. Dalwhinnie was pointed out by the native in front with a huge thumbs up, I nodded in agreement we had been down that wonderful road before! It was a wicked twisting road that ran towards Kinlochlaggen.
We were an hour or so on this road when Aviemore came onto the horizon, and the first tea stop of the day, a suitable car park with café and bidet was found and wet gear was discarded as the morning began to warm up. The thirty minute stop soon passed and we moved out, I had pulled across the road to assist the move out of the car park, a car approached and slowed as I waved and smiled a thank you but then he slowly squeezed past me into the group as it pulled out onto the main road. Doh! Not being a policeman there is not a lot I can do but ask for motorists patience and understanding, normally it works just fine…but not today! He ended up trapped between us for miles. He didn’t show us any patience or courtesy; did he really expect any in return? Not law braking, just exercising our right of taxpaying road users too. Once we rejoined the A9 he left us as the road turned to dual carriage way status.
Soon the bridge over the Moray Firth came into view and we knew we were at Inverness and 86 miles we had done so far. It was surprisingly quiet as we passed through the outskirts, the few cars and trucks gave us plenty of room and we circumnavigated the four large roundabouts with ease, settling on the A82 for the southern leg, to the left was the Caledonian Canal, this in turn became the River Ness which of course turned into Loch Ness. “Hoots Mon be on the lookout for the wee timorous beastie” imitating Private Frazer from Dads Army of “We’re all doomed, DOOMED I tell ye” Some kept an eye out for the monster; some wag suggested the monster was amongst us already!

The drizzle returned as the tree lined road twisted and followed the loch edge, a great ride if one was solo I’m sure, but with a group it’s another story and of course this was a sightseeing ride out and not a race! Once or twice we slowed more than usual because of traffic and the twisting road. We were soon at the lunch stop and caused the usual stir as hordes of coach parties came over to photograph, East European, American and some Scandinavian was heard, a lot of Asian visitors came over for a look too. We must have been in between the camera clicking Japanese tour groups because they were nowhere to be seen today. A Slovenian woman asked where I was from, I replied “a far far away land called England and pointed southwards then at the Union Jacks that adorned my bike? Maybe she was just practicing her English, which was far better than my Slovenian I have to say! With that I smiled and walked away before getting bogged down with questions. I was amused at the Lock Nessie museum, don’t people know that its all a fairy tale, a myth even? I think if there is something there it’s been put there by man or it’s a species trapped from the prehistoric ages and became land locked, slowly adapting over time from sea water to freshwater which the loch is now. It’s also approx 25 miles in length and 52 feet above sea level. The deepest part is about 760feet; just remember that the Post Office Tower in London is nearly 100 feet smaller. It’s also the second deepest in Scotland to Loch Morar and hold more water that all the lakes in England and Wales combined. Perhaps the Loch is the real monster and not the monster itself?
Drumnadrochit and its Loch Ness Visitors Centre bid us farewell and we pulled out of the busy car park and pressed on further southwards, over the loch under the low cloud you could see Urquhart Castle, shame about the gloomy outlook it would have made a good photo. It was still a fairly slow ride, when the road straightens out more and the trees disappeared we were able to overtake and go to a more pleasant pace. Fort Augustus was next, we had to stop as the bridge was open to let a passing boat move from the loch into the Caledonian Canal. Lights changed to green and away we went again to Invergarry at Loch Oich, we rode down Loch Lochy ten miles or so further on we slowed to pass the Commando Memorial, it is around these parts that the daring young lions of the 1940’s invented a new kind or warfare and so the memorial is mainly to those, though a lot of thoughts these days are to the present lions out there in the far distant deserts. We turned left at Spean Bridge onto the A86 as the sun came out in ever increasing segments, the rain spluttered here and there and the wind kept it a tad chilly.
I remembered this road well from just last year because it ran the length of yet more waters, this time Lochs Spean and Laggan. I called Barry at the front to tell him of a white sandy beach at the head of |Loch Laggan and worth a stop. We were able to get the engines up to speed along here as I kept getting the sweet whiff of WD.40, burnt rubber and oil from Black Bart just ahead, It was like being in my yoof again “blatting” along on my blue Suzi 550GS wiv me mates!! This was Glen Spean now though and not Sherburn Café, a twat in a black CV was being impatient behind me, he pulled out to have a go at a pass but then saw the long line of wings and thought better of it, we trolled along at 65 and he sat back powerless. A long lay bye was empty up above, Barry called it and we pulled over, I signalled really early for matey boy behind, who dropped a gear and shot past us no doubt calling us fatherless SOB’s as he did so.. bless!
We stayed a while looking in the loch, we’d past the white sands a minute earlier and now looked up the loch and the soaked clouds that hung there. Some of the ladies did some soaking of their own down in the woods! The first team photo was taken here when the relieved ladies got back and re adjusted themselves. There was a memorial here to a young soldier of the Royal Canadian Engineers who died in 1941 whilst attempting to raise the alarm of danger to his fellow engineers whilst constructing a Hydro electric tunnel. One other soldier died too but he saved others with his effort. He was awarded the George Cross for his bravery. After photos and a last look up the loch we made ready to move off again for the last leg eastwards, the drizzle had gone leaving dampness in the air and plenty of grey clouds above.
The road turned really interesting now as we skirted around Black Craig off to our left at a respectful 563 metres high, the road rose and dipped as we entered the western edge of The Cairngorms National Park, it was a ten mile roller coaster as heather mixed with the thick peat, long twisty furrows made us take more care as the few vehicles seem to appear at the last moment. If you looked far ahead you’d see the 14 bikes moving along as if cresting continuous grey waves. We turned south now and passed the distillery at Dalwhinnie joining the A9 at the point where Bart had signalled with a “thumbs up” at the beginning of the day, we now rode quickly down in the Perth direction to Pitlochry about 35 miles away. The late afternoon light made the mountains looks sharper in the distance, Glen Garry edged away to Fay Forest Park and the deep green of the firs gave way to different shades from other kind of trees. Blair Castle looked splendid just a mile off to the left in the folds of Glen Banvie. We slowed as we turned off the A9 and cruised down the high street of Pitlochry and back to the hotel.
We washed and changed before going down to Drummonds for dinner, if he hadn’t offered to look after us I think we would have probably split into smaller groups and eaten our way up and down the eateries in the high street so this was a turn up for the books really. The music box was dragged out after dinner and the brave and daft amongst us murdered several timeless classics. One of the locals got up and did a great M People song giving courage to other to have a go. The food was faultless and very tasty every time. Not a bad meal was had ever. I might not use the same hotel next time but Drummonds would definatly see me again. We retired before midnight leaving the noisy ones to trip the midnight oil. I know I don’t do much, but its my responsibility sitting at the back of the gang on the road but it does leave me tired and we would be doing it all again in the morning!
Sunday promised to be a much brighter day according to the weather man so I met with Barry to talk quickly about which route would suite today, we cobbled a route with some extra suggestions by myself and Bart, between us we presented a ride to be proud of! It would be Route No 4 (and a bit!) After some toast slinging and heaps of extra bacon we gathered outside, everyone had got fuel the night before so were all up for it. Barry pointed north I pointed south instead. Getting his bearings he nodded in agreement and pointed south. Me thinks there are still a few miles left with Barry’s left and rights without telling you lot about his bloody north and south’s as well!
South it was then to the A827 riding 25 miles along flat plains split with a twisting river, there were plenty of prancing horses in the fields as their owners were just turning them out, they jogged about a bit before getting stuck into the lush wet grass. We passed through Aberfeldy and detoured around the centre before heading along the forest edge towards Kenmore, did anyone see that small wooden lodge on the left set back in the trees with the red painted logs holding the roof up? It was pointless saying at the time as you had all gone by it! We crossed the bridge at Loch Tay and rose high to its right getting a wiggle on, dry roads and open views allowed a faster run this morning, the few cars on the road let us by without fuss. Picturesque Killen with stone bridge and rocky falls came next as we joined the A85 to ride on towards Crianlarich and Tyndrum. A wide valley began to show itself ahead as we left the wooden National Park of Loch Lomond. The railway to Inverness was down to our right, it hung onto the lower reaches of Ben Dorain sitting pretty at 1074 metres. I knew of a fuel stop somewhere this side of Fort William it had a café and was a favourite bike stop. At breakfast Bart and Suzie said“It must be the Green Wellie your thinking of” Ninety minutes later on the road Tony Walton piped up “sign for Green Wellie on the left” It was a big white building with GREEN WELLIE in big green letters with a garage, it could be seen in ample time and was indeed full of bikes of all kind. We peeled off and parked up where we could amongst all the other bikes. The A82 is a real bikers road that runs all the way through Glen Coe to Fort William about 50 or so miles to the north and on further to Inverness.
It was a good idea now to let folk go on, on their own for a while to Fort William. Barry said just follow the A82 and stop at the café on the left just before the metal bridge at Ballachulish. I could see glints in eyes and silent smiles as one after another they set off, some sedate some not quite! Barry zoomed off, followed by Geoff and Mark as the first group, the rest followed suite at a brisk pace, everyone grinning as they gunned their engines and raced away free of the “group chain” I smiled and waved as they went past. We waited a few more minutes as Julie had another smoke then set off after them. The Bridge at Orchy was being rebuilt in stone so had long lazy traffic lights, we could see a couple of wings ahead just pulling away on green. We seemed to wait ages. They had been held for a while. How frustrating that must have been, having just slipped their collars!
We settled down behind Derek and Heather for a more majestic cruise, taking in the clean air and fantastic views, I could see Heather clicking away with her camera. Black Mount and Rannoch Moor came into view, the contours fell flat for a while as the hill and mountains ran to the distance to cover the far edges, for the nearer miles lay the soaked moor with its two Lochs and dozens of smaller pockets of water, an odd tree here and there added to the near back drop. I pulled over and we just sat a while looking, eventually taking a few photographs before moving on. The mountains moved closer now with the scenery turning more rugged, the greens and purples of heathers and grass gave way to greys and browns of rock and stone. Wow! you just couldn’t help but crane your neck to look up high to the left and right. Thankfully there were quite a few pull over places, lots of cars and vans littered the road side as people head for the hills, if you looked keenly you could pick up the distant coloured dots of kagooled people getting back to nature. The road picked its way around huge rock escarpments before opening up again to show the massive Loch Linnhe, which just looked like the sea, you could just pick out the mountain ranges of The Isle of Mull, even the heavy clouds did not spoil it, in fact they were behaving today, to taunt us blue sky made an entrance now and again. This was a great ride today, no rain a dry road and the best views in the whole of the United Kingdom, I love Scotland it’s just so spacious, beautiful and empty of us people. When I am reincarnated I want to come back as a midge..not just any old midge but a Scottish highland Midge!
Our solitary ride didn’t last and we caught up with the Wanderers just before said bridge, well most of the Wanderers that is, because Ron Kent was missing. I was sure I hadn’t passed him, we slowed to looked in the café car park just a mile back, I saw a bike but was sure it was a Harley. I dropped Julie off and quickly rode back, I cruised into the car park and confirmed it was a Harley, then returned on the back roads at the hamlet but he was nowhere to be seen. I rode back to the gang and reported in. We were baffled; he had definantly left the Green Wellie I counted everyone off. He had Barry phone number and not rung so he hadn’t broken down..I would have seen him surely? We were still contemplating what to do next when he arrived at speed and pulled in behind us smiling. “Where the f**k have you been then Ron?” I enquired, he said he went towards OBAN after leaving the GREEN WELLIE went very fast a few miles down the road and thought it be a good idea to stop and get ready with his camera for those behind him. “I waited for AGES and began to wander where everyone was and thought perhaps I might have actually gone the wrong way” Ron had invoked “Sods Law” and took the wrong road just a hundred metres or so round the bend from the GREEN WELLIE. T’was the only deviation in 33.8 miles and Ron took it! “You fekkin plonker! didn’t you hear Barry say where to go and where we would meet?” I said, we both laughed “…Wweeeellll…I guess I didn’t really hear him did I?” Laughing I turned to Barry up the front and repeated it, he laughed too. At least he wouldn’t have got lost even though he’s a soft southern poofter from Maidstone, he has a mother in Law who lives in Perth, besides Barry gave everyone his mobile phone number.
We set off for the short ride over the bridge and the fifteen mile ride to Fort William up alongside the clear blue waters of Loch Linnhe, the cool breeze blew in off the water into our faces as we turned into the car park to settle alongside the wall in the bikes bays. We split off here to explore and have lunch Barry, Tina, Julie and I ended up with several Wanderers in a bar that did food, afterwards we basked in the sunshine and meandered along the parade of shops. I was looking at nothing in particular when something caught my eye. It was a Bullshit Meter with klaxon and loud warning. Giggling I reached up for it and pressed the button. I was laughing out loud now as Tina and Tony came to investigate. “I’ve just got to buy this and Tina, don’t say a word to him!” HIM being outside wandering why we were a long time in this shop! We came out and rejoined him as if we’d just had the usual browse and carried on back to the bikes and made ready to move on, a garage was our next stop.
Everyone pulled over just half a mile up the road into the garage; I didn’t bother and pulled over safe just around the bend. I waited a bit then started laughing, controlling myself I called Barry up on the CB, “Yes Dave we are nearly ready now, so we will make sure it’s clear before we move off” With that I pressed the Klaxon…In an American voice it wailed “Warning warning you are so full of BULL SHIT” and again and again, this time an air raid warning sounds followed by “He’s got weapons of mass BULLSHIT”…and finally “Though shalt not bullshit a BULLSHITTER” I was giggling away to myself until Julie told me to put it away. Finally they came around the bend and I tagged onto the end as we rode twenty minutes to the Commando Memorial just across Spean Bridge our furthest destination today.
Several Wanderers made their way over to me as I pulled over as last man in saying how Barry had reacted to my little prank. He was playing merry hell at the idiot with that thing and pointed accusing fingers at poor Mark then C.C who for once was innocent ( a rare thing) the things our Barry was going to do to somebody! Tina bless her kept shtumm as did Tony Walton who struggled to keep his shoulders steady. I decided to strike again whilst the iron was hot! Geoff took the camera I said OK I’ll get Barry and I to pose for a photo and pres it again, this time I’ll get it out of my pocket, take plenty of photos Geoff! Barry was chomping on a fag as I posed with him and pressed away at the klaxon! You must look at the photos to see it all unfold. He tried to ignore the invisible twat at first then he realised it was coming from my pocket; I couldn’t keep my face straight and was giggling like a child. He couldn’t believe it was me, his buddy of all people. I couldn’t speak as I laughed for Britain, everyone else was now laughing loudly as well. Barry came down from 20,000 feet and began to laugh too. “I was ready to bloody bray that bloody C.C, him and that bloody daft klaxons he keeps playing I was sure it was him” Perhaps now C.C will throw away his stupid farm yard klaxon, knowing how it infuriated and embarrassed everyone…as if he didn’t know already!
The bronze Commando Memorial is a Category A listed monument dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II, it overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot established in 1942 at Achnacarry Castle. Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother it has become one of Scotland’s best-known monuments. We calmed ourselves and had a group photograph at the base of the memorial before zipping up again and riding off back the way we came. The cloud cover on the mountain had scuppered the proposed day at the top care of the chair lift. Julie and I have done this already a couple of years ago and say it is worth the effort if any of you guys get the chance to come this way again.
Back down the way we came it was then, some Wanderers elected to sped off on their own to the GREEN WELLIE, miles away. It was a nice solo run for those who wanted to. We on the other hand pulled away from the car park behind the majority who had elected to stay as a group. Just before Glen Coe I passed everyone to get a good spot somewhere in Glen Coe. I settled in wait with my camera, I saw the four Goldwing lights around the far corner and knew the Wanderers were coming, I managed to get some good traveling shots in spite of the sun (or me) being in the wrong place, the back drop was fantastic and made up for my position. We climbed back on our wing and set off after the guys, the clouds had gone now as the clear light of late afternoon arrived, the browns and greens of the glen began to stand out. At the lone piper spot we pulled over and listened to him for a while and had some photos taken after dropping a pound or two into his hat of course!
We said our goodbyes as Barry took the lead but first he went up the road a while to return quickly performing a swift fly-bye on the clear road, for me and the camera, we set off down and out of the upper reaches of the glen. I think we reached the GREEN WELLIE quicker than the upward leg, coffee, tea, biscuits and petrol was purchased. Thirty minutes later care of two nice police motorbike cops who kindly blocked the road we set off on our homeward journey, Just a few miles along though we noticed Black Bart had a flapping pannier, the leather straps seemed to have worked loose, I could see two jiggling plastic water bottles (missiles) that were about to launch themselves in our direction I spurted abreast of him and Julie pointed downwards, Bart looked nodded and pulled over. I shouted Barry on the CB and said we’d catch up presently, we pulled over too and waited a minute or two. Sure that the leather throw-over’s were more secure we set off in hot pursuit, Suzie had slowed down a few miles further on, she wasn’t on CB so didn’t know where we had got to. She wound on the throttle as we arrived and all three of us rode like teenagers in pursuit of the group. Agile Suzie

Bart took the lead followed by the agile Suzie, who stuck it for a while until the burnt oil, rubber and WD 40 got the better of her, she deftly nipped past hubbi and I tucked in behind the old GL to rekindle my youth with Bart’s faint blue white trail.
We rode with haste down through Tyndrum and on ten miles before peeling left at Crainlarich onto the A85. The roads where fantastic, smooth dry and empty! Before long we rejoined the group as we halted at the traffic lights at the lovely little bridge in Killin. The road was now the A827 and ran ragged adjacent to Loch Tay. This group of Wanderers had gotten into the groove as one smooth group quite quickly, especially after the slower ride yesterday, the few spells on their own had wetted appetites and all were comfy with the faster pace. It’s really great at the back when everyone is doing it right, it looks really good, safe and impressive. We soon came to Aberfeldy with the town centre detour and back onto open roads across the flat open lands. A big contrast compared to two hours ago I must say! Again I caught a fleeting glimpse of the deep red tree trunks of the chalet set back from the road in the woods. The A9 was just ahead now as we slowed for the five mile run to the next turn off and our hotel in Pitlochry.
We washed off the bugs for the last time, Barry wanted to join us but a guest’s car was in the way, the old boy was putting stuff in the car as Barry approached“Are you moving?” Barry prompted loudly and rolled slowly a bit closer as though to say MOVE! But the old boy had our Barry sussed and stood his ground I’ve been coming hear a lot of years and I always park here, Barry was speechless, “ Alright mate calm down I was just asking” I was crouched down washing the front wheel and thought it hilarious, “Yes Barry Shut the F*** up!” I said sniggering out of sight behind my bike. The feisty old fart put Barry firmly in his place. He washed his bike in a different spot. “I bet you can’t sell HIM a bike mate!” “It doesn’t pay to be polite sometimes does it?” He said ruefully
The last night in Drummonds was really fun. The meals were great again and really tasty, the ginger beer was firmly in my favorite beer to drink collection and two bottles were consumed swiftly. That damned Karaoke was offered again and those damned Wanderers rose to the challenge, Tina clamored for the mike and sang a duet with Black Bart called Mustang Sally, we insisted she sang it in real Dublin sole pronouncing “ride sally ride” as “roide Sally roide” It was so funny to hear this tipsy woman give it her best….Unfortunately she just wouldn’t shut up and sang a love song to Barry that brought tears of laughter as she caressed the mike clenching its head ever so tightly covering it completely so not a sound could be heard! Songs were coming thick and fast now, Geoff and Tony sang the Whurzel’s “I’ve got a brand new combined harvester” very VERY well. “Bat out of Hell” got some stick from Hazel and Tony, it was fun to see everyone having a ball, the older Wanderers splinter group sat at the back giggling and laughing at the antics of the newer Wanderers down here on the floor. Photos flashed as songs were murdered and unlikely couples developed new love for each other, surely that was the beer? I’m just glad there wasn’t any bike sheds around the back!
As the party rocked long after midnight folk began to drift away, Julie and I helped the now helpless Tina on one side as Barry rolled a fag from the other side, our hotel was twice as far away as we meandered our merry way up the road. We all patted each other and wished good night, us going into the lodge (annexe) and them into the main hotel.
Breakfast was late in the morning, everyone had a fine night and a really good weekend, the two ride outs were very enjoyable. The damp of the first ride was surpassed by the second ride out by a Yorkshire mile. Steve and Jane took Brian and Janet to the Highland Games at the nearby Blair Castle yesterday and had a fine time watching men tossing telegraph poles and stuff and managed a ride of their own in the afternoon, so all tastes had been catered for I think. Ron Kent from Maidstone had found a higher plain with his bike, enjoyed and probably surprised himself too. Please try to bring the wife next time Ron! The local Scots Gary and Pat met us for the first time and enjoyed the crack. They have a nice looking bike and do a vast amount of miles in spite of having a mmm..mmm.. sorry I can’t say it! A mmmotorhome. Gary just never stopped smiling. I hope we made it a nice weekend for you both and look forward to seeing you both again sometime. Just leave the mmmotorhome at home next time guys!
We popped back to Drummonds for a cuppa and to say goodbye and thank you for a great couple of nights food and entertainment. Time was getting on, the tour was over and home was south several hours away. Suzie and Black Bart said their goodbyes, they enjoyed themselves and met new friends Suzie had the half ton makeup bag strapped on, I don’t why she brings the stuff because she doesn’t need one ounce of the stuff. Bart squeezed friend and foe alike before staining the car park one last time.
Shortly after those two we said our goodbyes and set off, nipping through the lights on my favorite color, followed by Barry, Tony the pie and Mick the cheeky rascals! I took the lead for a change down the A9. I felt out of place, what the hell was I doing all the way out here in front? I weaved a bit and saw the three bikes behind switch positions so I switched a few more times. Once on the motorway I settled the gang to a brisk pace passing most people and letting the odd speedster through, the weather was the best of the holiday, nice and hot with clear blue skies. Ah well I thought as I sweated, this will prepare me for our two week trip to Italy in a couple of weeks, Rome, Anzio, Mount Vesuvius, Monte Cassino , Pompeii and the Amalphi coast. We intend to see the bits that Charley and Ewan missed on their dash through that region on their trip through Africa.
The Scribe.