June 05, 2012 GMT
The Thundersprint and Loch Ness - A ride in the freezer.

Have been on a journey to the Arctic Circle. It had been temporarily moved right down to Stoke-on-Trent, and my first destination was Northwich. Which is sufficiently further north to almost qualify as the North Pole. I took clothes for May.....

I put my little Yamaha on display at the Thundersprint Saturday Bike Show, here.

I had always fancied visiting the annual Thundersprint. And as it was on the way to a Horizons Unlimited camping weekend on Loch Ness the following weekend, then this was the year to do it.

I was surprised at the amount of interest the bike attracted, which made for a nice day.

I laid out a map with the bike show entry page, plus some photos, next to the front wheel.

The sun shone, but it stayed resolutely cold. I wondered about Loch Ness.

Sunday was the Sprint day. Sun still shining, cold colder.

The pedestrian town centre of Northwich became reminiscent, on a small scale, of the Isle of Man TT.

Bikes wedged in everywhere, a good many boxed in for the duration.
I wondered about Loch Ness again, but set off north the next day.

Under black clouds well past the North Pole, somewhere around Carlisle, the wind roared right in my face. Climbing up a motorway hill I was slowed right down to 4th gear and I wondered about Loch Ness yet again.
The next exit, I decided, would be enough. I'd do a U-turn, head south, be home and warm by the following day.

Well, it was one of those interminably long bits of motorway, no exit until the next country. It was enough time and distance for the wind to drop and the sun to shine for a while, lifting spirits. Which brought me, a few days later and after my arrival at the Loch Ness campsite, to:

The top of the Bealach na Ba pass (Pass of the Cattle), up above Applecross and overlooking the Isle of Skye.

But it was still COLD. Enough snow to put your front wheel on.

HM The Bike seemed to be drawn to the snow.

This was the Saturday ride-out from the campsite at Loch Ness, arranged by local members of Horizons Unlimited.

Now I'm going to borrow a Youtube video, posted by another group.
This is the ride down from the summit, to the hamlet of Applecross. On a sunnier day!

And then we were at the water's edge. Isles of Raasay and Skye beyond.

It might have been cold (it was!) but at least all the views were clear, everywhere.

The next day it was south, at last. Just as far as Dundee for a long-awaited visit to Ian, one of the friends that Caroline and I went to Ukraine and Russia with in 1996.

Excuse for a Ukraine photo.

Lost in Kiev. Ian of Dundee looks at the camera while fellow rider, also Ian, tries to get directions from locals. Caroline remains sitting on the pillion of our Ducati, observing the goings-on. Ian's and Ian's bikes were both Harleys.
A few minutes later a police car turned up (they always do), looked at the address that we had on paper written in Cyrillic, and escorted us right through the city to the front door.

Back to my Scottish trip, it was a little warmer in Dundee. After a great visit and a substantial Scottish breakfast prepared by Ian, things very slowly thawed on the journey southwards to home. Thanks Ian!
During those 2 weeks Scotland had its coldest May day ever. And shortly after my arrival home, its warmest May day ever!
Wonderful British weather, as anyone following the Diamond Jubilee will see.

Just for the hell of it, I'll post this again - The English Weather. It's about a million miles from one end of this blog to the other now, so there may be people out there who haven't seen it......

Coming up in the blog:
There's been progress in the garage here. My hooligan rocket-ship racing Aprilia (RSV Mille) is running at last after 3 years of disuse, and should feature in a future posting. Have checked I can still sit on it and reach both handlebars and footrests at the same time.
All set for the annual MOT test. But obviously we need dry weather for that! Hah! It's bucketing down and probably won't stop now til after Wimbledon.
Watch this space.

Posted by Ken Thomas at June 05, 2012 03:45 PM GMT

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