Dukes pass revisited

As regular readers will know, I and Bean Counter rode to the Dukes pass in Scotland last year. As I enjoyed the scenery so much I was determined to go back and take some one along that would appreciate not only the scenery but the ride up there and the Achray forest trail. With this in mind Ted magnum and me decided we would ride up to Scotland along with BC and leave her there in the company of my brother and his wife while we played on our motorbikes.

A few days before we set off I noticed several cracks in my rear disk. They were not there when I went to Cropton and no one could tell me what caused them. The general consensus was that my brakes were over heating and the heat had caused the disk to crack. Other suggestions were that the huge chain I lock Rhonda up with and normally passes through the rear wheel had damaged the disk and others said that the amount of times I dropped my bike on Hamburger hill at Cropton as I now call it would have had some effect. Either way it would have to be replaced which this meant not only money for a new disk but some new tools to get the damn thing off. Several days later and one before my MOT expired it was replaced and I was set to go.

The ride up to Edinburgh was nothing to write home about, miles of scene less motorway and stiff backside when we landed. In truth we had a schedule that would have been impossible but we decided to try it anyway. We knew of some people leaving Edinburgh on the Friday morning to go camping some four hours north of the capital. We had figured if we got there early enough we could leave Edinburgh early on the Saturday morning catch up with them and then after a few hours set off for the Dukes Pass. This was a lot easier said than done and so we decided that a four ride north coupled with a four hour ride west to the Pass and then another 2 hour ride east back to Edinburgh was more of an endurance test than a pleasurable ride out.

So on the Saturday morning after an amazing evening meal prepared by big brother TM and I mounted up rode off west to the Brig of Turk. When we got there the famous Tea Shoppe was closed. I had always wanted a photo of that place with a cuppa in one hand and my keys in the other. It was not to be. With a rapidly descending mist we roared off around the pass stopping to take photos of the scenery and then hit the trail. This was just how I expected it to be and the pair of us were on our pegs for most of the way round. Again it was not the Patagonian highway or the road of bones but to me it was as enjoyable. I think TM appreciated it; he certainly admired the many views.

From the pass we decided to go and see the Falkirk wheel as neither of us had seen it before and we had no idea when we would be in that area again. I had heard of the wheel but never seen it. It is absolutely huge and carries barges from the lower loch gates some 80 foot into the air onto another waterway. After an hour or so admiring this feat of engineering we headed back to Edinburgh and as TM had never been across the Forth road bridge we rode over that and back again. Then it was time to ride back to Edinburgh. Not once did my new satnav let me down. I have even got used to the various bings, bongs and other warning sounds that it emits as we near speed cameras and enter speed limits. I even like the soothing voice of the little lady who lives in the satnav and tells me which lane to get into.

After another superb evening of being looked after and entertained by my brother and his wife it was time to go home. The good times always seem to come to an end too soon but we loaded up and headed off back southwest and to Liverpool. The weather was not as kind to us as it was on our way up and so we took the scenic route to Carlisle to join the soulless M6. With the weather being bad me and BC donned out matching wet weather gear and with the pair of us looking like Howard and Hilda from ever decreasing circles we certainly drew some strange glances from passing motorists and even other motorcyclists.

The enjoyable weekend had been and gone and with TM going to South Africa in September it may be some time before the pair of us get to ride out together again. The cost of the weekend was 4 tanks of fuel and approximately 30 pounds on entertainment. Great value for the memories it has left me with.


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