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West Side Dead End


Bill Davies

The Scottish Trikers decided to have a July fling this year so a plan was hatched to do some of the Dead Ends. This involves in finding the extreme ends of country roads and going for it. Our usual meeting place was adopted for the start - The Green Welly - in Tyndrum, Argyll and the target area was the Ardnamurchan peninsula. The group consisted of Four Pembletons, Tom, Colin, Mike and Sam, the other four were Bert - Lomax, Ian - Barlow Special, Brian - BRA, and me in the Crozier 3.

The group photo!

The meet was at 10.30 to allow individuals to get to the start and my run up from Ayr was fine till I reached the head of Loch Lomond where the light rain started and intensified till it was pouring by the time I got to the GW. Parked up beside three of the team and we went in for coffee and cake, some had a Bacon roll. The others arrived on mass and declined a cuppa, so we prepared for the off, Tom leading the run over the Black mount towards Glen Coe and then down to Ballahullish. With the weather still tipping down we made haste and stopped in North Ballahullish, the last petrol for our plan. We waited here for Colin who had vanned the trike up complete with new engine after our Hebridean trip ... still to be run in. The run from Tyndrum was heavy rain with other vehicles throwing up spray etc. All fuelled up we set of round the corner to Corran for our ferry to the other side of Loch Linnhe, about ¼ mile with a strong current, if the tide is changing, the boat sails side ways across the narrows. Once on the other side we stopped at the hotel to feed the troops before the run.

Fed we donned our wet weather gear for the road, the rain was still pouring down, after some 2miles Ian spluttered to a halt, sprayed the plugs with WD40 and then restarted for another two miles. This time some deeper diagnostics by Bert determined that the condenser was faulty, he produced a spare and it was wired direct to the coil and earthed and the engine restarted and ran for the entire run. Now we had to start to catch up with Tom and three others, fortunately they had stopped so we passed them and awaited at the junction to the B8043, as we saw them approach we set off down a twisty narrow single track with passing points, the road runs along the coast to North Corry where at a junction Tom was able to return to the front. The run round to Lochaline saw the roads starting to dry out as had been forecast and the day was getting warmer. Lochaline had a Sand Mine where the sand was shipped south for optical glass manufacture. We skirted the village and started our first dead end to Drimnin again another narrow track with many twists and turns, across the water we could see the Isle of Mull bathed in sun. We parked up at the water front for a call of nature and a photo shoot, a chat with a local white settler before we retraced our route back to Lochaline.

The group photo!

We were in a convoy of 9 vehicles and making good progress when the a***hole at the front decided to stop to let a parked vehicle through, on went the anchors on what was thankfully a wide section of road, Tom and Colin took the inside with Sam a close third followed by Brian, Mike took the right and Bert went with him but ran out of road and kissed the rear of Mike’s car. Ian and I were far enough back to witness the event, with the rear of mikes car lifted right off the ground. The a***hole took off at speed and was not seen again, we meanwhile set about assessing the damage and making good repairs to allow the run to continue. The damage was not serious the rear of Mike’s car had absorbed the shunt and we were able to pull the body out from the rear wheel and remount the spare, Bert had broken his indicator and twisted his headlight bracket, a lesson learned we set off again at a more stately pace for at least a mile before continuing the charge, albeit with a greater space between the cars. Further along the road we came on a Volvo in the ditch, two wheels down awaiting a rescue wagon ... it was a hire car ... ouch.

The group  again

The weather was now very pleasant and we able to reduce the amount of clothing as the afternoon heated up, we continued through Strontian and on to salen (Strontian is another mining area where the rare metal strontium was mined). At Salen we turned onto the B8007 heading for Ardnamurchan point, a single track road along the shore of Loch Sunart, stopping to admire the view as we progressed, at Kilchoan we stopped for the night at the village campsite, having set up camp there was not much enthusiasm for driving back to the pub for dinner so we dinned on emergency rations and whisky. Well we were out for the night!!!

The night was balmy and there was little evidence of our friendly Scottish Midge, in the morning we struck camp and prepared to move off. Meanwhile an artist had arrived and after a couple of photos he proceeded to sketch and then paint with water colours Bert’s car with Tom’s in the background. As I was last in I had to leave first so proceeded to the turn and marked the corner, and it wasn’t long before Tom arrived with the others and we set off for Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, the most Westerly point on mainland UK. The site is very remote and looks out towards the Western Isles where we had our last trip in June. With a clear sky and still sea we were able to see to a distant horizon and noted the yachts etc sailing slowly on a still sea. The light house is now superseded by Sat Nav but the engine room is still there and a display of lighthouse equipment, also the Fog Horn, about the size of the rear of a Pembleton fed by an 8inch air main ... now that’s an air horn to get the cars moving.

Refreshed and educated we turned around and retraced our steps back to Salen stopping off in Glenborrodale for tea and cake etc. At salen we turned left and headed for Acharacle, turning down another dead end to Ardtoe, just enough room to turn 8 cars, they wanted 50p to park!!! Back to the main road and the next turn out to Tioram Castle, an old Keep of the MacDonald Clans overlooking the sea on top of a rocky knole. The castle is deteriorating and has been closed to prevent entry. The Castle was burned under orders of the King for being involved in the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie and was not restored. In the car park Colin decided to alter the rear suspension and caught a hole pulling the spring down beyond where it should be ... not to be out done he tried to reverse and correct the adjustment, but was unsuccessful so had to continue in a more sedate manner ... as if he could. We tried to get lunch in Dalnabreck however the hotel was closed and we continued to the Glenuig Hotel, a stylish eating place with prices too high and portions of the inverse type ... you left felling you had been robbed and in need of lunch, albeit the food was very nice.

The ferry

We carried on to Lochailort to re-join the main road back from Mallaig, passing Glenfinnan, famous for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape to France and Harry Potter’s flying Ford Anglia at the Viaduct. At the turn at Drimsallie Colin opted to remain on the main road and Brian went for company, the rest of us turned and headed along the south shore of Loch Eil following an empty timber lorry we made good pace along to Corran to catch the ferry back, just 2miles short of the ferry Sam stopped and we carried on while in the queue I said to Tom he was missing and he went back to help decant a gallon of petrol from a can and bleed the fuel lines. We had to wait for the second ferry to cross and Tom and Sam were last on, squeezed into a small gap at the stern. Once ashore we proceeded to North Ballahullish for fuel before entering Glen Coe and our run back to the Green Welly. Colin had stopped to load the trike into the van and joined us for farewells, tea and cake.

We went our separate ways and I got home around 9.00pm having slowed down as the right mudguard had developed a shake at anything over 40mph and there was heavy traffic at the south of Loch Lomond (Glasgow Fair people out for the day)

A good run over two days in good weather except for the two hours on Monday and apart from our two stoppages all went well, and Colin was able to run in his new engine albeit he now has to strengthen the chassis hangers before Holland. We had managed to squeeze in four Dead Ends and a fair few miles on single track roads, with light traffic.

Here’s to the next outing, who’s up for it, Ian is planning a weekend at the Club House, then we have the closing camp. Never a dull moment. Need to go into the garage and fix the mudguard, it’s picked a vibration at 55mph on the right side, the left is solid, and is shaking about.

Keep the wheels turning Bill D

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