HARROGATE to: SKIPTON
JUST WANTING A QUICK BLAST ON A FINE ROAD,GOD CREATED THIS FOR A CBR,LEAVING HARROGATE TOWARDS SKIPTON AFTER 1ST ROUNDABOUT PUB ON CORNER (TRAVELLERS)NICE STRAIGHT BEWARE RIGHT HAND TURN APPROX.3/4 MILE SIGNPOSTED HAMPSTHWAITE,SWEEPING LEFT HANDER OVER BROWE THEN HOLD ON TO YOUR NUTS FOR A REEL THROTTLE OPENER,BEWARE CROSSROADS,SWEEPING BENDS BOTH LEFTIES AND RIGHTIES,NICE PACE TILL MENWITH HILL AGAIN BEWARE X ROADS,THEN OPEN HER UP DOWN HILL AND UP RIGHT HAND TURN APPROX. 3/4 MILE THEN RIGHT HANDER KNOCK DOWN SPEED SLIGHTLY FOR DECENT INTO LEFT HANDER THEN YOUR AT THE INTERESTING BIT ,ROCKY DROP TO RIGHT SO BE CAREFUL NICE TWISTY PEG GRINDING ROAD LEADING TO HIGHEST POINT OF TRIP.BEWARE THE POLICE OFTEN START CLOCKING YOU AT THIS POINT BUT THEY ARE EASILY VISIBLE.SLIGHT STRAIGHT BEFORE RIGHT HANDER THEN 45 LEFT OVER BRIDGE THEN CHOCKS AWAY,NICE MILE AND A HALF OF THROTTLE OPENING THEN SLIGHT RIGHT HANDER.DUAL CARRIAGEWAY PLENTY OF CHIN DOWN ,COPPERS SOMETIMES HAVE UN MARKED BMW,RED,N REG 318i ON LEFT HIDDEN NEXT GATE ENTRANCE TO FIELD.PLANE SAILLING TO SKIPTON 20 MINUTES DOOR TO DOOR MAX.
Ross-on-Wye to: Ledbury / Malvern
Loads of gradient, quick flicks, hairpins, S's, etc. and room to overtake. Great test of man & machine, space available to really open out the motor and cook the brakes. No police, occasional old fart doing 35mph - takes a bit of learning. Loads of quick bikes use this road in the summer - many clock 130mph + on the straight past Much Marcle. Well worth a visit - start slow and build up to a frenzy!
Glencoe to: Glencoe
Throughout its length from Glasgow to Inverness the A82 is a joy. An A-road metelled for bikers - it doesn't so much change direction as gracefully sweep with a confident camber and no road furniture. It's almost as if you'd laid the tarmac yourself.
The bonnie bonnie banks of loch Lomond set the tone for the whole route as the road clings to the magnificent landscape. On through the splendour of Glencoe and past loch Ness (an opportunity to spot some of the more elusive wildlife such as Nessiteras rhombopterix) on to Forts William & Augustus - no boring straight Roman road here. Here you can see so far ahead it's unreal. There's nothing, absolutely nothing coming. Just breeze by and smile. During the summer the A82 is littered with Germans and the Scot's old ally the French. They come here in droves - well, cars and bikes. Perhaps they are overawed by the Alps and come here for scenery that's a bit less severe. Even with holiday traffic there's that sense of freedom, a feeling that simply glides you along this ride to remember.
The highpoint of the A82 is the stretch Bridge of Orchy, over Rannoch Moor through Glencoe to Ballachulish. Reverse the trip to double your pleasure. From the Bridge of Orchy the snaking black ribbon climbs rapidly as the Moor opens out before you. 1000 metre peaks fence in the vast, intimidating bog. Don't hang about as it could be Scotland's own Area 51. Lean and flow quicksilver across the elevated expanse of peat and rock. The Three Sisters wait to swallow you into fast approaching valley. As the sides begin to loom now you ease off. The roadside crash barriers give away the vital sign. Find your religon and pray to the great god Michelin as the clear opening bends invite you and your bike to shine. You're bathed in stunning landscape with heather, bracken and conifers partially clothing the huge great lumps of towering rock. Fresh mountain air and that immense feeling that the bike is part of the road. That big grin creeps over your face and sets hard.
This is perfect for that long get-away-from-it-all weekend. A chance to clear the lungs and recharge the head. Whether you're a bumbag or tank bag or full panier kit biker there's no problem finding a place to kip & scoff as the area is dotted with B&Bs, guest houses, hotels and hostels and of course - campsites. Grab petrol at any one of a number of modern or quaint stations. This is where they make Scotch Mist so check with Bill Giles first. The Ballachulish Hotel and The Kingshouse Hotel afford more comfort than most around here - and the Youth Hostel in Glencoe is spot on. The Clachaig Inn serves good food and decent ales - but won't serve Campbells!
In Glencoe stands a stone cross to commemorate the MacDonald's massacre by the Campbells. Down the road in South Ballachulish is a monument to James Stewart who was wrongly hanged for his alleged part in the massacre. If the tales of blood, guts and betrayal in the Visitor Centre don't put you off your food then head for the Fish & Chip caravan or local Spar. The Thunderace's brakes are tested just once as a deer bounded into the road - at least the flat cap in the Volvo is half predictable. After all this is sheep and deer country. It's also skiing country - either the dry or the snowy variety - we could try anything once. Whisky distilleries are scattered here and there to tempt you once the bike is tucked up safely.
Once you head has cleared the A82 has tributaries that each in turn lead to something special. And for my next trip... Wonder up to Ben Nevis or nip over the Corran Ferry to Strontian & Ardnamuchan? Twist down the A828 to Oban and perhaps a ferry to Ireland? Whistle up the A87 over the sea to Skye or catch the A830 to Mallaig? The strange roundabout at Ballachulish could prompt a few circles whilst you decide which way to go. Sod it! Let's go back up the glen just one more time.
Hertford to: Welwyn Garden City
Well what can you say from the minute you get onto the A414 at the Dusty Miller (Harlow end) and crank it open for a dream 5 miles of fast sweeping duel all the way to the roundabout at Stansted Abbotts, you're in a heap of trouble! cos they have just stuck up x2 50 mph speed cameras within 300 yards of each other cos all the berks in cars kept hitting each other and killing themselves at the cross the road junction to Hunsdon. When you continue along the A414 to Hertford you will be amazed at the sheer exhilaration of a full open throttle just past the newish Lancaster Merc dealer, down the hill to the next roundabout, along the straight to the next, hop across and then a sweeping right and left to the next roundabout, across, under the bridge, across the next roundabout, quick acceleration to 40mph as pold will be filming you at the junction, carry on past them a two fingered wave will do and then thrash it to the next roundabout, hop across and then climb up through the gears to full thrash for 3 miles and then smile. If you managed this then your a genious as Hertford is full of little shits being dropped off by mothers and therefore you have no chance. But try a late or early one and you will ENJOY!
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