Scotland Motorcycle Tour - Day 7 - Isle of Skye to Poolewe
From: Stein, Isle of Skye
Via: Plockton and Applecross
To: Poolewe Distance: 165 miles
Another great breakfast at the Stein Inn. Our packing this morning was more of a challenge with three bottles of whisky and some pottery and other nic-nacs accrued on the trip so far.
Today is all about smooth riding, as my back tyre is down to the wear bars and due to every bike place between Skye and Glasgow being booked up, I need to make it last for the next 600 or more miles.
We were soon off Skye riding in welcome sunshine Our first stop of the day is the lovely little loch side village of Plockton. It's worth a stop with its picturesque little cove / harbour. We bought some local ice-cream at the village shop and sat on the front soaking in the sunshine and taking in the view.
From Plockton we backtracked a couple of miles to work our way around to the opposite side of the loch before turning onto the A890. This is a lovely stretch of road that I remember riding on a previous motorcycle rally and have long wanted to revisit.
There is very little traffic on this road, it snakes around the hills and follows a little railway line north towards Ullapool. With the lochs, pine trees and rusty rail line next to the road it feels somewhat like I imagine a Canadian country road to be like. We followed the road for a while and then turned on to the A896 towards Applecross.
The signs for the Applecross road warned that it is impassible in winter and that it is not for inexperienced drivers. We set off and sure enough the road immediately degraded, becoming single track with passing places, climbing steeply up the mountain side.
There were great views to be had along the way both up the pass and down to the loch below. We stopped regularly to take photos and admire the view. The final stretch up to the top of the pass had several very tight switchbacks making the going a little tricky for big touring bikes.
We parked up at the top to take some photos, but didn't hang around as it was a lot colder up at 2053 feet above sea level. Soon we were descending down the other side to the small village of Applecross. Back at sea level it was nice to be in the warm again.
Next up was a visit to the walled garden where we had lunch at the Potting Shed at the Applecross Walled Garden. After some lovely dressed crab and a burger we had a walk around the charming little garden. It's not so well known as the Inn at Applecross, but it's a lovely quiet corner to relax especially when you've been sat on a noisy engine all day.
After lunch it was back on the bikes to follow the tiny coast road for the next two hours. We hugged the coast all the way North towards Gairloch with a sprint through the mountains on the single track A896 following a fast local, driving a Scottish Power van who clearly was on the way home for his tea.
Our days riding has taken us from from the wide open roads of Skye to nadgery lanes past Plockton, to mountain passes and then a deserted coast road that first followed the sea and then hugged the very rugged edge of lochs and mountains of the west coast.
It's been a good days ride, with lots to see and do and we are glad of a beer this evening at the Poolewe Hotel. Tomorrow we keep heading north and should reach the very top of Scotland.