It started with an impromptu trip away for my wife and I went down to the Solway Coast, in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland near the border. Originally intended to be five days from the Monday to Friday, I was only able to get from Tuesday to Thursday off work, so my headed down early from Glasgow accompanied by her father to do some fishing in the meantime.
I had picked up my new Sinnis Terrain just six days before. It’s my first motorcycle, and I was eager to get started on a half-decent expedition to enjoy my new found freedom of the roads. I couldn’t have chosen a better (or bigger) 125cc bike. Choosing a bike was something of a long and deliberate process for me, and I thought I’d known what I wanted. Until I saw the Terrain, that is. Taking a casual walk past the dealer a few days before I was buying a bike, I saw it in the window, front and centre, large, bombastic, edgy – a serious-looking piece of kit. I popped in, confirmed the engine size and the rest is history.
The standard-fitted top box and panniers are one of the main features that attracted me to the Terrain. I had a fair few items to take with me on my trip, which would see me cover some 300 miles or so. I’m still in awe of the storage capacity on the machine. With me I had taken my bike’s cover, a couple of disc locks, a further larger alarmed cable lock, a full change of clothing (plus boots), my camera and related gear, my little tool kit and, most importantly, my lunch – all with some room to spare!
Sunshine split the sky on the Tuesday morning. With a full tank, I left after the rush hour traffic, heading south out of Glasgow on the old A77 road. I was already pretty familiar with that particular route as I had made the run to Ayrshire a few times in the previous days – a good long, straight old A road, made essentially obsolete by the construction of the adjacent M77 motorway and thus free from almost all traffic. Superb. Passing Kilmarnock, I joined the A76 headed to Dumfries.
My first stop was the beautiful little town of Thornhill. It has a mini promenade-style high street with a mini roundabout in the centre of town, upon which sits a monument to the explorer Joseph Thomson. Grabbing some refreshments at the local shops, I took the opportunity to stretch my legs, although I have to say the hour-and-a-half ride thus far was fairly comfortable. The Terrain has quite a large seat area with plenty padding, and there’s a good bit of space to adjust your position if needed to make yourself comfortable.
After lunch I decided to push on through to my intended destination – a holiday camp at Southerness on the Solway Coast. My route would take me through the centre of Dumfries, then taking the A710 down through New Abbey to the coast. The temperature was high throughout the afternoon, not so bad when I was moving fairly swiftly on the open road, but when I was stopped in the town at traffic lights it was fairly stewing. Luckily my visit through the built up area was brief and I was headed towards the coast.
On the Wednesday I couldn’t wait to get back out on the road. My wife and father-in-law had opted to do some fishing, so I packed up the iron horse and hit the tarmac. The previous afternoon I had spotted fifty-odd foot monument on the hill overlooking New Abbey, so I’d naturally spent that evening pondering maps to see if I could get up there. Turns out it’s out it was accessible through some forestry tracks open to the public. I headed up out of New Abbey, turning off a road and onto the tracks, which continued for a good two or three miles, climbing up the hill through the forests. The gravel was of that large grey type, which to be honest was surprisingly smooth to ride over. The long travel suspension meant I wasn’t sharply jarred or jolted, even when negotiating some tricky spots and rather large holes!
The view from the monument – dedicated to the battle of Waterloo – was jaw-dropping. It turns out that there is an internal spiral staircase, probably only about a foot and three quarters wide, that takes you to the top. The monument is only about fifty or sixty feet tall, but due to it’s positioning on the hillside, and given that you can see for about twenty miles in almost every direction, it feels like your standing on a skyscraper. Not for the faint hearted. Seriously, it was terrifying – but also completely worth it.
I spent a couple of hours around about the forested area around Tannoch Burn, on the endlessly connecting gravel forestry tracks. The bike stayed stable the whole time, and I had terrific fun winding about in the middle of nowhere in the blazing sun. Until that week, I had been essentially confined to the city! I spent the remainder of the day trekking along to Dalbeattie, a lovely town where I was able to park up and get some late lunch. I sat in the middle of town and watched eels in the shallow water of the river through the town as I had my meal.
The final day saw me take a long walk on the beach with my wife followed by some lunch down by the lighthouse at Southerness. Although she’d be staying until the Friday, I was destined to be working and thus had to depart for home. Leaving myself with plenty of time, I took an easy ride back up the A76 from Dumfries to Kilmarnock. It was only as I got to Cumnock, around three quarters of the way home, that I realised I needed fuel. I’d done so many, many miles since leaving on that full tank that I’d forgotten it needed fuelling at all! Filling the tank there (at a reasonable price, too), I continued on. In that late sun the journey home would have been almost perfect, if it weren’t for the flies – although the upright wind shield on the Terrain did a good job of sending some of them skywards!!
As my first real trip out on my new bike, it couldn’t have been better. I love the size and weight of the Sinnis Terrain – it has a great presence on the road and it’s a looker, with it’s naked angles and chunky hardware. It’s proven to be a real talking point amongst both bikers and non-bikers that I’ve met along the way, with most saying they haven’t seen a bike quite like it. It feels good and I know now I made the right choice when I got my Terrain. I’m an adventurer by default, and as a first motorcycle it has the whole package: the luggage, the looks, the features – and plenty of edge.