Most people associate Scotland with rolling hills, kilts and the Loch Ness monster. When I think of Scotland, I fondly remember a beautiful, black, perfectly engineered Kawasaki Ninja ZZR 1400. Yes it’s a mouthful and no I don’t ride. I’m one of those people that love motorcycles but I have yet to learn to ride. Lazy? Maybe. So I do the next best thing and take the backseat and hold on for dear life.
I arrived in Edinburgh on a lovely Scottish morning (also known as cold with a bit of sun). I chose Scotland mainly because I did not need a visa. I am always insanely jealous of people that can take off on a whim and just go almost anywhere. I unfortunately have a limited amount of countries that I can visit visa free.
So my adventure began. My fiancé asked repeatedly if I wanted to rent a car, that it might be easier. I insisted we take the bike. I did not pay much thought into the actual feasibility of riding 400, yes 400 miles, across Scotland on a hunk of metal open to the elements. We started off with me wearing basically everything I had brought with me which, by the way, was only the amount that can fit into two bike panniers, so quality was chosen over quantity.
Inverness was our first stop. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend Rocpool Hotel. We had planned on going to a two day concert that my other half had planned. I realised then that our taste in music was completely different. Me, from the Caribbean, and him, from Ireland, made for interesting choices in music.
Inverness is such a beautiful town with a river quietly passing through.We spent two days exploring and were off again. I had learnt by this time that we could go quite far without ever having to stop, so to make the ride a bit more entertaining , I plugged my iPod in and listened to Bob Marley, Britney Spears, Kasabian and a melody of very different music.
We were on our way to Loch Lomond when the rain started. One very fond memory I had was being completely drenched and cold with “Thunder” by Kasabian playing in my ear. I could not help but smile. We stopped at Urquhart Castle on the North side of Loch Ness and took it all in. The Castle ruins are stunning against the lake and yes, I did look for ‘Nessie’. No luck though.
Our journey that day is probably the one I have the strongest memories of. The Great Glen boasts stunning scenery that Scotland is famous for. You can spend hours just staring off into the distance getting lost. Still drenched, cold and my hair almost turned into dreadlocks because of my lack of thought for not braiding it, we continued our journey and arrived in Loch Lomond late evening. The hotel was nothing fancy but by that time a sleeping bag would have sufficed. I remember taking a shower that evening with such clarity even though it was four years ago. The water was hot and there was ample conditioner to start the de-tangling. Never before have I had a better shower–even though it was the size of a cubicle. My aching cold bones that threatened arthritis slowly came back to life and I felt human again. I was surprised I could actually stand up straight and I was not locked in the seating position!
The next day we changed hotels. To this day, the Lodge on Loch Lomond is one of my favourite places to stay. Our room had stunning views of the lake and even had it’s own sauna. A funny memory is being in the sauna with my fiancé; him sweating buckets and me barely breaking a trickle. Being a Caribbean girl I was used to the heat and thought it mildly ridiculous to actually want to sweat on purpose!!
Three nights in spectacular Loch Lomond and we were on our final leg of our journey. By this time my backside was used to the seat and I could make small adjustments to be comfortable. We drove through Glasgow back to Edinburgh where we spent one more night then I was off again for Qatar to work for 6 weeks.
My Scottish experience was so incredibly memorable; mostly because it was different. Sometimes uncomfortable but absolutely worth it. I appreciated the stunning beauty a lot more I think because I had the wind in my hair, my arms around my love and good ole Bob Marely in my ear!!