I got to Fort William in good time even with the bank holiday weekend traffic. You always lose a few at Tyndrum and at Glen Coe where of course parking is plentiful. Really, I’m sure stopping on the carriageway and staring at the parked cars wedged in like drinking straws in a Macdonalds dispenser when the manager’s due in for an inspection will make a space just for you magically appear.
I parked up in the big carpark behind the shops just at the wee shed where the attendant lurks, but I had no change and had to bolt for the shops to get some. I was heading for the Nevis Bakery anyway, so upon attaining one of their legendary hot pies and some tasty accompanyment in an instant, I bolted back to the motor to make a speedy get away with free parking as an added bonus.
Click. Click. Click. Not Vroom! Swiftly followed by the sweet melodies of Slayer’s Decade of Aggression that had kept me sane on the road up. Click.
“Hello RAC, how can I help?”, “Save me please, I’ve a mountain camp on and a sunset to look at and cuppas to drink…I mean, my motor won’t start”.
It’s not a big town and the good gear shop burnt down so I had Blacks, Ellis Brighams, and Nevisport to content with. I sat in the Nevisport cafe for a bit. Jesus, what have they done to it. It’s been cleared of it’s benches and now has those generic bent plywood chairs and school common room tables and a meccano cuttlery and condiment zone to boot. They didn’t think it through, because the benches lined up with the roof beams and now folk are smacking their heads off the beams because of the freeform seating arrangement and there’s stickers everywhere telling folk not to smack their heads on the beams. Idiots. They’ve taken all the pictures down as well. And the shop downstairs is still pish.
EB has decent kit, but it usually has an air of desperation about it. I got chatting to the guys so that passed a bit of time pleasantly. But that was it, I looked at German army caps in the shooty-knifey shop and decided that Germans had small heads and went back to the motor to wait.
It was after 1700 when the orange van appeared. The boy was good, he stripped down the engine to get at the alternator and luckily had a set of brushes to fit it to see if that was the trouble. He got it back together and we tried it. Nah it was buggered. While this was going on a woman with a young boy on a lead appeared on the scene. The wee fella was very interested in the engine and his mother’s English was much better than my German would have been in her local car park. We’re so bloody lazy here when it comes to such things.
Incidentaly Ft Bill is jumping with bikes and bikers for the Scottish Six Day Trials. A lot of old British stuff cutting about as well which is nice, the sound of a real motorcycle.
My options were to get towed home or drive home after a jump start and don’t stall the engine, use the lights, fan, radio or let the engine get so hot it’s fan would have to run, because it wouldn’t. This is the joy of driving an old diesel powered motor, it’s mechanical. You don’t need electricity to make it go, fuel ignition is by compression. Well I like a challenge, so I got all my food and water onto the passenger seat switched off my kidneys and went for it.
Nae bother all the way to Luss and that’s when the traffic stopped, and that was it all the way to Balloch. Over an hour for that one stretch. I must have aged 20 years, and gained 20 pounds having eaten all the food I could reach to keep myself calm. Energy bars though, for driving at 2mph? Maybe not the best match. However, home was reached safely and today repairs were undertaken. I’ll be back on the road tomorrow.
The sunset was beautiful though, what a night it would have been up there. There will be other nights, this week hopefully.
Oh aye, car parking. When I realised I’d now have to buy a ticket, someone who’d paid for three hours parking and had left after 20 minutes had stuck their ticket on the machine for the benefit of others. I thank them deeply and sincerely.