Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
72Trip End Jul 10, 2011
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We had planned to stay two nights in Inverness leaving our excess luggage at the hotel and travelling lightly with wet weather gear only just in case. It is 120 miles each way and given the nature of the narrow roads, albeit in good condition, we calculated that the return trip would take us well into the afternoon and we weren't wrong.
The forecast was for fine weather with clear skies, a blessing for us given the unpredictable nature of weather in this part of the world.
We set off full of enthusiasm and with a full tank of fuel. The RG500 is a thirsty beast, drinking petrol at twice the rate of the frugal P-D and with a much smaller tank capacity to boot. This meant we had to plan a fuel stop for the RG500 and not just take it for chance that we would happen upon a petrol station. We planned on stopping at Brora 60 miles or 100 km from Inverness.
Fortunately we found a petrol station and Chris topped up.
As Chris was filling up a guy riding a Honda Varadero 1000cc stopped opposite him and also filled up. Greg went up and started up a conversation with this guy who said he had left his home in Carlisle at midnight, it was now 10.10 am. He said he had decided to ride to John O'Groats because he hadn't done it before and it seemed like a good idea - leaving at midnight for the 712 mile or 1146 km round trip! He was now on his way home. Kerrie wandered over as Greg was asking this guy, who was sitting on his bike, which is a tall dual purpose bike as he was refuelling it, what he thought of the Varadero. Kerrie said it was nice and low to the ground. The guy then said it "fitted his frame". He then stood up off the bike and towered over the both of us - he said he was 6 foot six inches tall! We asked our rather tall English friend what he thought of John O'Groats and his reply was "There is nothing there."
We finally reached Wick which is about 16 mile short of John O'Groats. We stopped and Greg filled up the P-D and Chris did the same for the RG500. We then had lunch in a very nice little tea room in town. Greg & Kerrie have the collection of Billy CONNOLLY's World Tour DVDs and started remembering his World Tour of Scotland when he visited Wick. He started off with "Wick, what the f**k am I doing in Wick?" Of course this brought the house down with Billy being famous for his liberal use of the "F" word.
On the way to Wick we postulated what Wick would look like given Billy's aforementioned quote. We were pleasantly surprised to find Wick a very pretty town with just the right amount of facilities.
We departed Wick with full bellies for the last run to John O'Groats. On reaching the most northern tip we were pleased and surprised how wrong our tall English friend had been. John O'Groats is very scenic and pleasing to the eye. We parked our bikes and set off to explore the sights before deciding that we should have our posed photo taken with the John O'Groats sign post and the P-D gracing the front. Chris did likewise.
As we were standing around admiring the views, a biker pulled up beside us riding a BMW ST800. Greg started off the conversation with the usual how does he like the bike question. The guy started to answer when he looked at Kerrie who was wearing her red Casey STONER hat with the number 27 emblazoned across the front and blurted out "You're famous! I saw you on TV from the Isle of Man." Fame follows you everywhere.
After spending about two hours at John O'Groats we suited up and headed westbound for Thurso. We then headed south before rejoining our original route at Latheron. We again stopped at Brora for fuel for the RG500 and then made a bee line for Inverness.
On reaching town we parked in the same spot as the previous night and tried a new place to eat facing the River Ness.
It was then to the hotel for a well earned sleep. Goal achieved.