South to Applecross and over Bealach na Bà
Applecross is a favourite run down the west coast highlands of Scotland. Its a very popular place due to the Bealach na Bà (Pass of the Cattle) which is one of the highest open roads in Scotland. Im afraid the photos were taken using the old GoPro so not the best quality.
I mounted the TomTom Rider to my KTM 990SM handlebars with the Pro attachment and headed out from a wet Ullapool the ride down to Aultbea was nice, not much traffic, Aultbea offers some great views and some tight bends and some of them can easily catch you out. Aultbea has a Nato Jetta which is designated a "Z-berth" to allow NATO's nuclear submarines to return for servicing without warning.
I will always remember the first time i rode down the A896 and the best description i can give is awe-inspiring, if you are planning coming up to Scotland this road should definitely be on your list. Its that popular that the only problem is the height of summer everyone wants to be there, campervans, caravans, cyclists and so on. I have travelled this road on my Kawasaki ZX10R and the KTM was a much nicer experience the light weight KTM with low down torque feels like it was made for single track roads.
The one thing i would say is a lot of these campervans are hired and some are massive and I am sure in a lot of the times the driver will only be used to driving a fiesta. Check the size of this beast.
Bealach na Bà
Arriving at the start of the Bealach na Bà i found that there was a cycling event going on and the road was closed to the public, was told it would only be closed for about an hour as most cyclists have made up over and only a few stragglers left.
One of the things i love a about biking is meeting other bikers, 3 bikers pulled up on two Bkings and a TDM and we started chatting and to my shock one of the guys explained that he has no front brake, well intermittently the brake lever goes all the way in with no brake. He change the master cylinder, the hoses pretty much replaced all the brake system and still gets this problem, i could honestly not think of much worse than to press the brake to find nothing there, especially over the Bealach Na Bà.
Nearly at the top now, what a view looking back down, you can see why its so popular.
Always appreciate people who move over for you and i hate it myself if you do the same and don't get a wave or flash of lights.
- Steven Gourlay