Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fort William cont'd ...

It was good that we wanted to stay so long in Fort William as we needed to solve a few major issues. The first one was that the credit card company was so kind and closed my card due to "suspicious activities" and even after a long phone call with my bank it was not possible to re-open the card. Instead I needed a new one. Without credit card it is often not possible to do e.g. motel/room reservations and thus it was essential to us to get a new one quickly. That is normally not so difficult and only takes a few days, unless you happen to travel around the world ;)
Lucky us, we could now offer a temporary address where we would stay long enough so that the new card can be shipped. That was one reason to wait, stay foot and hope that the letter arrives before we need to depart.

The next major issue was the problem with Skippy's bike. During the normal chain maintenance I noticed that the brand new Hyperpro rear shock was leaking. I made a test sitting on the bike and for sure the oil was gone in the suspension. Milady only commented that there was a "klong" once in a while (she thought they came from the sidecases) ;)

Broken Hyperpro shock
So I emailed and called Hyperpro and they agreed to send the required spare parts, so we can get the shock fixed in the next bigger town. We had several options where to go (all about 100miles away) and the second company I called did repair shocks and they also had time. Great, now it was all about waiting for the spares to arrive.

Skippy's bike needed also an oil change - our first real regular maintenance. At this point, I would like to say BIG THANX to Kenny - our host. He let me use his garage to change the oil and was even nice to collect and recycle the old oil. That was more then I hoped for and the maintenance work was done in no time. I also cleaned the Scotts oil filter, since the extra work is marginal and the opinions on how often to clean those re-usable oil filters vary.

Besides relaxing, enjoying life in Kenny´s great log cabin (it really felt almost like home - only Sauna was missing) and waiting for the mail (thanx again Kenny for this favor and for acting as our temp mail address as we also ordered some vegan dog food and needed a shipping address). There are plenty of things to see and do in Fort William.

The next day we decided to experience the steam train ride on the Jacobite from Fort William and Mallaig. We followed the (smoke) smells of the Hogwarts Express and rode over the Glenfinnan Viaduct - known to all Harry Potter fans. The landscape was really beautiful and this time, I could sit back, relax and take some clips compared to when riding the bike. We had a small walk in Mallaig and we got ourselves a few books from the local second hand book shop.

Getting ready for departure

Break at Glenfinnan
I love those kind of "smart" signs :)

55t snowplough rebuilt from a former V2 locomotive tender

View from the train ride
Glenfinnan Viaduct
Skippy inspecting wild life in Mallaig
Beautiful flower in the water
Me looking "ahead"
The following day we made a hike to Nevis gorge and Steall Falls. The gorge was magnificient with all its huge (and I mean HUGE) rocks and the potholes washed out by the currents over the time. On the pictures the gorge looked like a miniatur model as I was not able to capture the dimensions and the depths of the gorge. It was late afternoon and we were almost alone on Steall Falls. Great opportunity to take a few more special pics of my beloved better half.

Steall Falls nearby Ben Nevis, Fort William
Too strong currents for our little dogs to cross by themselves

The "kiddo" also could not resists to climb the steel rope even though I would say it was easier to walk through the river :D

Wolfi leading the way
It was Friday the 12th of July and we reserved our last day for packing, last laundry and finally I had the right energy and motivation to do a little nordic walking - after over 6000km, I could use my hiking sticks :D

Next day we left this great place with a little sorrow...

Skippy swimming in Loch Ness - no monster appeared ;)
The beauty and the comfort came with a high price for us low budget travellers. It was clear to us that the following days we would need to go camping. As we learned earlier, the strange thing about camping is that our dogs might cost extra and in the end the difference to a motel or to a B&B compared to camping with three dogs might be marginal. Anyway, camping is was and the camping places we tried out were fully booked, and the many other sites were only for caravans. At some point we got enough and decided to go into the wild. We found a resting place besides a river with a decent spot. There was a table and a trash bin on which we could find the "rules" for camping in the wild.

Camping in the wild
Tentsite with a view to the river

Know the code
Well, it turned out that the traffic was more then expected and we found unbelievable trash in the water.  Besides all sorts of metal objects, cables, I diged out what looked like a motor from a washing-machine and a blinker for fishing (not very nice if you step into one).

Unbelievable trash in the river
All the sudden a deer came to inspect the river
Our "neighbour" opposite of the street
On top of that there was a warning sign that the river level might change rapidly due to the hydro power station. That all reduced our desire to go for a good swim. Since we also saw and learned that resting places appear to be used heavily as human toilet (BTW, never seen a fine for that, only dog fouling is forbidden!) and the heavy and sudden noises throughout the night, we did not feel like staying more then needed.

It was now Monday morning. We got up early, packed our stuff and headed towards Perth to get Skippy's bike fixed. We found the place easily and after a short talk, I started to take out the rear shock. The mechanic got right away to it and we went off for a nice picnic lunch in King's park enjoying strawberries, rasberries and some indian food. The repaired shock went quickly back into the bike. As I was crawling on the floor tying up all th bolts, Skippy was so kind and provided me with our rainbow umbrella some shade. A pity we do not have a picture of this :D

Wolfi packing up his toolbox after the repair
Girls were hot and bored ...
Skippy had a chance to sit her "Nessie" onto the topcase
We were ok to continue and headed off to St. Andrews.

~ Wolfi

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