28th June The big day!

Scooters last journey!

Yesterday we left Poolewe with the scooter loaded on the trailer and headed east to Nairn ready for the big day!

The weather was great and we had a pleasant journey stopping off for one last picture of the scooter at the beautiful viewpoint overlooking the Corrieshalloch Gorge ( http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ullapool/corrieshalloch/index.html) near the Braemore Junction.

When we arrived at Nairn we went into the office and had a cup of coffee and a nice chat with Ivor & Nola. Last time we came they were very busy so we didn’t have time. It was nice to catch up and exchange recent stories, both good and bad. We then parked up and got the scooter off ready for our ride into Inverness the following morning.

We were both feeling nervous by this time as it is a big leap from a 125cc scooter to a 650cc motorbike!

The big day finally arrived and we took our little Flo for her last ride to Mitchell’s Motorcycles (http://www.mitchellsmc.co.uk/) in Delmore, Inverness.

on our arrival we went in to see Kevin the director of the company and spent the next hour trying on our new clothing. Protective trousers, jackets, gloves, boots and a new helmet each. We also bought a two way communication system so Angela can tell me to slow down (if necessary!).

The bike comes with lots of luggage (panniers) but we also bought a tank bag so we can carry even more kit for when we go off camping/touring.

Once we had found the right gear for us we then went into the office to fill in all of the paperwork and then finally pay for everything………not a cheap hobby this!

I have to say that we look the business in all our gear, the only thing is that it takes about half an hour to get ready to go out for a ride now. At least we are now protected.

If anyone is in the area of Inverness and was looking for a new/second hand bike or any accessories I would certainly recommend Kevin and his team. All the staff were extremely pleasant and helpful. Even Lucy, the ten year old spaniel was friendly towards us, and since we saw her the first time she was sporting a new haircut as she was recently clipped and looked lovely! 10 out of 10.

Well here she is……..Suzy Blue!

New bike and outfits!

The handover!



We were finally ready for the off back to Nairn and by now we were really nervous. Kevin went over the bike controls with us, explained the relevant checks and gave us some last advice and tips. Mainly take it easy and the speed will come. Also we were told to watch out for the wind as we were bigger and taller than when we were on the scooter.

The ride back to Nairn went well and even my gear changing was better than on the test ride. No head butt’s from Angela. I was surprised at how well the bike performed and found it lighter than I had expected. Bearing in mind we filled all of the panniers up with our old jackets, shoes, helmets and gadgets. We also had 3/4’s of a tank of fuel.

Strapped in!

I had to adapt the trailer slightly to get the new bike on as it is longer than the scooter. It was at this point I realised that when wearing protective clothing on a sunny day when not riding it gets very hot.

Anyway we eventually loaded the bike up and strapped it down ready for the off in the morning back to Poolewe.

I used ratchet straps on the scooter but was told by Kevin that they can damage the bike if over tightened so went for a different type (yellow ones in picture). The ratchet in the picture on the handlebars is only done up lightly.

It is quite worrying and requires a lot of trust in these little straps when transporting the bike on the trailer. Especially when on uneven or potholed roads. That said we arrived safe and sound in Poolewe and finally got her off and back on terra firma!

She then began to turn heads from the campers onsite. Someone commented on how big our bike had grown since they last saw us!

We are now looking forward to taking her out for a ride on one of the many roads that surround us up here in the NW Highlands.

Since getting the bike I have found a great website dedicated for this type bike and there are many bikers with lots of help and advice. I have been on and asked a few questions already and had a great response. Some have ridden up here and have recommended routes to take. One which we will do soon is to Applecross over the “Pass of the Cattle” a mountain road but not for the faint hearted……..we will have a practice before taking this route.

This evening we were invited round to Jim & Margaret’s for an evening of Tapas. Ivor & Nola were there and we had a great evening sat outside drinking wine, eating and having a good old chin wag. (Thanks Jim/Margaret).

This was a perfect end to a perfect day!

We said our goodnights and went back to our van ready for the off in the morning.

About Dean

Angela and I decided that there was more to life than working hard to keep up the payments on the mortgage, to pay the gas, electric, phone bills etc. etc. SO............ In 2008 we sold our house, I initially took a year off (Unpaid) and Angela handed in her notice! We bought a motorhome and set off for a year of travelling! This was the best thing we had done in our lives (Apart from getting married) and we have no regrets. During the year I managed to secure a redundancy package which felt very strange. Almost sad as I had worked for the same company for 19 years (BT). It was always our plan to have a whole year off before thinking about the 'W' word. We began applying to the Camping and Caravanning Club (CCC) for the position of Holiday site assistants in August 2009. After the interview, work experience and induction we were finally given a contract at the CCC site in Inverewe (Scotland). Our plan is to work through the summer in the UK then head to Europe to overwinter before coming back to work the following summer season. Hopefully these few words and our blog will inspire others to get off the hamsters wheel and see that there is more to live than having a house and material things. A cliche I know but this is not a rehearsal, life is too short!!! Since our first contract in Scotland we have worked a winter contract in Oxford (never again!) not Oxford but a winter contract. Hereford for two years, living in a yurt for one! And Cornwall. In between our working we have also travelled a bit. Hopefully this website will give you an insight into our alternative lifestyle. Get out there and live the dream!
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