Brentwood to: Saffron Walden
Fantatsic roads, first section of 128 dubious but not terrible, as soon as you get on the B184 you're in heaven. Very fast road, kneedown opportunities everywhere. No cops or cameras (might have to keep an eye out for the plod on Sundays tho) - beware a couple of 30/40 zones... take 128 out the back of Brentwood, head for Ongar, eventually get to roundabout, turn right, get to bigger r'bout by BP garage, straight over, nail throttle for about 5 miles, eventually turn right onto A1060 for ~1.5km, left at roundabout in Leaden Roding, out other side, nail throttle, eventually end up in Great Dunmow. follow M11 signs, get to roundabout #1, left, next r'bout, follow b184 signs. You emerge near J9 of M11. Either go back down M11 or turn round and go back down the twisties again! Very popular with guys on TL1000s or FireBlades.....feel a bit outclassed on my VFR400 MattB
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.
Thirsk to: Thirsk
Leave Thirsk on A168 to Northallerton. Watch this stretch as it's close to Kirby Wiske where the Police headquarters are.....abundance of Hedge Twitchers in Volvo's..etc, etc. Go straight thru Northallerton high street over level crossing and turn left at the mini roundabout onto the B6271. Enjoy sweeping bends as you pass thru Yafforth, Great Langton and Ellerton on way to Richmond. Go thru Richmond on the A6108 towards Leyburn. Some sharp bends here, but good scenery again. Thru Leyburn and stay on the A6108 thru Middleham, East Witton, Masham and into Ripon. Exercise some caution on this Leyburn/Ripon stretch as they regularly dowse the road in that bloody awful and downright dangerous gravel covering on tar....Loose chippings on some corners. Upon reaching Ripon, turn left on A61 to Thirsk for a quick blat home.
Nr Staines to: Nr Staines Lap
Get on the A30 at the M25 heading for Egham. The dual carriageway follows the M25 for a bit. You'll see signs saying 50 MPH right hander. Slow down to about 90 ish, BEWARE the corner is completely blind so take care during busy periods. The corner goes though about 270 degrees down hill. Come down to a roundabout mind the bumps on the middle of the road. Take a right at the roundabout. Up the hill and back down again to a roundabout do a u-turn and the lap begins again. Have fun.
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