Thursday, May 08, 2008

Day 6 - Skye and it's ups and downs

Total mileage so far: 1383 miles. Today was much shorter than recent days with just 181 miles to cover and we started off by touring northern Skye and back down to the mainland. Skye also has some very pretty scenery and some wonderful mountain passes but I think these were overshadowed by the very poor quality of some of the roads.

All through the trip we've both commented how good the roads are in Scotland however, whoever looks after the road budget in Skye needs to spend some serious money to bring the roads up to scratch. There's pot holes, tarmac thrown down with little care for smoothing it out but the worse culprit is the "road dressing"

If you've been fortunate never to come across road dressing, think yourself lucky. Basically, they spread a thin  layer of bitumen or something on the surface and throw great lorry loads of gravel on top along with a 20mph sign. This gravel chips the car paintwork and is generally left for the flow of traffic to clear. However, on two wheels it's like riding on ice and is truly horrific to ride on.

But that's only half the problem. This surface starts to come away very quickly leaving a pitted and scarred road surface that is horrible to ride on with every lump and bump being felt as well of piles of loose gravel all over the roads that slide all over the place when hit with a bike wheel.. I would say 80% of the roads in Skye were this poor, scarred surface.

Skye is pretty similar to some of the scenery in the peak district with imposing hills and crags all around.

Once off of Skye we then came down to Fort William with the very impressive Ben Nevis as the backdrop, complete with snowy peaks still. Fort William is obviously very popular as I think we've seen more traffic here than anywhere else so far.

Highlight of the day, was on one of the smooth tarmac roads on Skye where we ran up and over the mountain and back down the other side. Fantastic on a motorbike!

Tomorrow we're pushing on to Ayr.

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