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The longest day

Published: 27 June 2007

Updated: 19 November 2014

I'm writing this after being on my GSX-R1000 K6 for just short of two days, with a mate on his 2006 ZX-10R. We went to Scotland for the longest day, despite the crappy weather forecast.

We started from Chester-le-Street (that's Co. Durham if you don't watch cricket!) at 7.30am on Thursday June 21, and heading up the A68 through Jedburgh to Edinburgh without a stop. We refuelled at Forth road bridge services, and then headed for Creiff via Knockhill. That's when the roads started to put big smiles on over our faces.

From there we headed along the A80-something towards Fortwilliam, where, as ever, God decided we needed a wash! It pi**ed down all the way to Inverness. There we had to stop to: a, try to dry out and b, check what might be best route to avoid the rain. After much delibiration (a quick look at the map), we decided to continue north-west to Ullapool. What a fantastic road! And it had dried up, too!

Just before we got into Ullapool we came across a nutcase in an Audi S6 who decided he wanted a race. Ha ha! We played for a minute before using the legs of the GSX-R and we were gone. What a rush! Then, before I knew it we were in Ullapool (big sigh of relief that we made it in one peice). We stoped to let my brain catch up.

Then we started to look for somewhere to stay. Unbeknown to us there was a local wedding on the next day. I think we got the last hotel room in the town!

The next day the weather looked like it was getting lighter so we filled our tanks to the brim, not knowing if there was any more petrol further north, and off we set, keeping one eye on the amount of miles we had done (you dont what to run out of fuel where your mobile doesn't work).

Well what can i say? The scenery was breathtaking and the roads really fast and flowing; no bumps or crumbling sufaces, just the odd patch of gravel to keep you awake. We hardly saw a car, there were no coppers but, sadly, we didn't see one other bike. I Mean, what's going on? There's daylight for hours more and not one biker taking advantage!.

Anyway, we got back to Ullapool just after 10.30pm with reserve lights on and, most importantly, in time for a couple of well deserved beers. In the morning, after a canny breakfast and checking the weather, we decided to keep heading right to the top of Scotland on the roads we had tried the evening before. These roads are just unbelievable, and the weather was sunny and warm (couldn't believe we were in Scotland).

After getting to Durness we headed east along the top to Tongue, where at 12.30 we decided to head south and just keep going, not being able to afford the amount fuel it was going to take to get home and another B&B. So off we set down to Inverness, taking in more fantastic roads across to Loch Ness. Deciding not to look at the views I put my head down to see what the GSX-R had to offer. The answer was simple black line-leaving power (Pirelli Diablos getting it hard) and handling to just dive into corners.

After that we got to Fort William again and, guess what, it was raining again. Bugger. With more fuel and a waterproof top on off we set off. We passed some poor lad at the side of the road with a GPZ900 in a ditch, with police and medics there (hope he was OK - the bike looked mullered).

Anyway, the journey went on through Glencoe and the heavens opened with rain so heavy it hurt. I also has a front wheel twitch that would tighten to bravest of biker's buttholes. Then, further down, things when to pot. We took a wrong turn, headed to Creiff instead of straight down. Never mind - it was a nice road and it was dry. From there my fuel light came on again... at 9pm... in Scotland! All the small petrol statoins shut at 8ish, so I was lucky to make it to the A9 and find one.

After that the weather was a bit hit and miss, which slowed the pace down somewhat. We missed the Forth road bridge turning and went the long way round (felt like Ewan bloody McGregor). Eventualy we got to Jedburgh at 2am, topping up fuel and with the good old Redbull we set off, making it back at 3:30am, knackered but still wanting more.

What a trip. We are going to do it again as soon as I can afford a new rear tyre. But if not this year then definitely on the longest day next year.

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