Scotland Motorcycle Tour - Day 5 - Campbeltown to Isle of Skye
Via: Oban, Fort William, Shiel Bridge To: Stein, Isle of Skye Distance: 265 miles
We enjoyed a good breakfast in the rather nice Royal Hotel and set off around 9. The weather reports are looking better all the time. After a little rain through the night the roads are a little damp in places but clearing, and we are just happy to be riding in the dry.
We hit rush hour in Campbeltown, with at least two cars in front of us on the main road out of town. As we came down the small road on the east of the peninsular yesterday, we're taking the main road, the A83 up the west side today. There are great views on the road and we soon stopped at Westport beach where we took a few photos.
We followed the road for 50 miles or so to Lochgilphead where we turned off the road onto the A186 towards Oban. There were some nice bendy roads on the way between Kilmartin (famed for its standing stones) and Oban, but we're very careful as they were a bit damp.
Pulling into Oban, the sun came out as we parked the bikes. So, we had a wander round the harbour, then popped into the Oban distillery. Unfortunately it turned out that the tours were already all booked up for the day (that's zero tours out of the three distilleries we've gone to so far), but at least they had a small exhibition which quite nicely explained the distilling process. They also had a well stocked shop where we bought a bottle of Oban. That's three bottles in the panniers now.
We had lunch on the harbour side and then left at around 1 pm. Today's one of our longest off motorway days so we have to make up some miles and don't have too much time to linger. Oban is the 'Gateway to the Isles', with Skye our destination for the day.
We soon turned off the A82 onto the A87. The A87 road is open, much more mountainous and rugged. It's a real bikers road and so I left Alisa behind for a while and went off to play in the twisties. Every so often I'd wait at lights or in a lay-by for Alisa to catch up before heading off again. I realised later when we reached our destination that I had totally blitzed the back tyre :-/ I reckon I took 3 mm of rubber off in an hour or so!
We stopped at the Kintail Lodge Hotel at Shiel Bridge for a much needed snack of Cullen Skink and tea break. At this point we had covered 186 miles and it was getting late in the afternoon. We were both a little tired, but in good spirits due to the sunshine, great roads and some lovely food. We have about 2 hours and 70 miles to go today.
Soon after Shiel Bridge we came across the obligatory photo stop of Eilean Donan Castle which is so popular it has it's own car park and gift shop, which somewhat spoil the experience.
Then it was onto the Isle of Skye via the Skye Bridge. Skye's wide open roads carried us swiftly up to the North of the island to the the last few miles of single track with passing places, and finally our hotel, the Stein Inn at Stein. A lovely little pub / bed and breakfast on the waterfront with stunning views out to the islands.
We checked in, ate dinner in their lovely restaurant and then enjoyed a beer and a whisky outside while we watched one of the sunset's that Skye is famous for. Finally the tiredness and the midges took their toll and we bedded down for a well earned early night.