Long time he lay upon the sunny hill,

To his father's house below securely bound.

Far off the silent, changing sound was still,

With the black islands lying thick around.

He saw each separate height, each vaguer hue,

Where the massed islands rolled in mist away,

And though all ran together in his view

He knew that unseen straits between them lay.

So begins Childhood, the opening poem from the first collection by Orcadian poet, writer and translator Edwin Muir. Published in 1925, it describes a seemingly perfect day as a child considers his future, his family and, above all, his home.

Today is a different day, in a different time and, in many ways, a different world – but even so, those eight lines rush across my consciousness again and again as I stand atop the island of Wyre, the isolated, idealised paradise of Muir's childhood which is woven throughout his entire body of work.

The hill is not so sunny today, with low, grey-blue clouds stretching out from one horizon to the other. The sound isn't still either – there were a few moments on the tiny ferry which brought me here when I worried that my motorbike would break free of the straps holding it in place on the deck.

Just behind me stand the remarkable remains of a building known as Cubbie Roo's Castle. Built in the middle of the 12th century by Kolbein Hruga, the Norse chieftain of this land, it is the earliest documented stone castle in Scotland.

And below, across what Muir described as a "damp green meadow", is a place known simply as 'the Bu'. It is the largest farm on the island, dating all the way back to Kolbein Hruga's time here. To Edwin Muir, however, it was his "father's house", the place in which he spent six boyhood years and which influenced the rest of his life.

I have reached this little Orcadian jewel on day seven of a ten-day, 1500-mile journey around Scotland – a two-wheeled, 21st century interpretation of Muir's own Scottish Journey in 1934. Over the course of the last week I have been mostly staying with strangers who have generously welcomed me into their homes, shared their stories, and given me an insight into their perspectives on Scotland.

But, like all good journeys, it hasn’t all gone to plan.

On the first day last month, riding south then west from Edinburgh to Gatehouse of Fleet, the rain was utterly merciless; on the second I was caught in a snow-storm in Ayrshire which forced me to stop in Stewarton for several hours.

At that point the prospect of continuing my journey, never mind completing it, began to feel remote. I thought about postponing it all until the summer but feared that pushing it off into the distance would end up leaving the whole idea permanently out of reach. With a full-time teaching job, writing commitments and, above all, a wife and infant son, I wasn't sure I'd ever again have the opportunity to achieve this particular goal.

Finally, however, the wintery showers eased and I was able to make it to Glasgow, albeit not without plunging into a brief but terrifying white-out where the M77 crosses Eaglesham moor.

Things significantly improved – how could they not? – from there on. Day three took me up the western shores of Loch Lomond and then out along the Argyll coast road, passing through Arrochar, Inveraray and Lochgilphead, as well as a series of stunning villages and settlements which punctuated the long, flowing sentences of the journey, before finally arriving in Oban. Here, for the first time in days, the sun forced its way through the canopy of clouds, illuminating the town, the bay and the snow-capped peaks beyond. I decided to take advantage of what I suspected may turn out to be a rare treat so sat by the water and enjoyed probably the best fish supper I’ve ever eaten.

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I had planned to spend the fourth day of my journey following the A82 north to Fort William before heading west; however, as I came over the hill above Corran I caught a glimpse of the ferry departing from the far side of Loch Linnhe. Taking the road along the western edge of the loch would certainly add time to my journey, and having never ridden it before I had no idea what sort of condition it might be in – but what would be the point in travelling if we always knew what was around the next bend?

The last time I had been aboard that ferry I was on the same bike and heading towards Ardnamurchan though the most incredible downpour I'd ever seen in this country – this time it was dry and, at least by Scottish standards, relatively warm. I rode north alongside Loch Linnhe before swinging west along the southern shore of Loch Eil. In the 20 miles from Ardgour I passed just three vehicles headed in the other direction as I glided along what turned out to be a near-perfect single-track road with only the trees, the birds and glorious views for company.

I eventually emerged onto the A830, better known as the Road to the Isles, passing by the Glenfinnan Viaduct and impossibly beautiful beaches as I headed for Mallaig and, from there, over the sea to Skye.

As the boat approached Armadale on the island's south-eastern edge it began to rain once again, and by the time I reached Geary – a little crofting community near the tip of the stunning Waternish peninsula – I was, once again, pretty much soaked.

The next day’s riding included the most challenging roads of the whole trip. I would take in the west of Skye before crossing the bridge back to the mainland, then take on the famous Bealach na Ba into Applecross. From there I would stick to the coast road, passing through Kinlochewe and Gairloch on my way to an overnight stop outside Ullapool. I knew it wouldn’t take much for the weather to scupper my plans and went to sleep more than a little nervous about what the morning might bring.

I needn’t have worried, for as I set off at 8.30am the leaden clouds were already lifting from Skye's jagged peaks. Though they hadn’t completely cleared from the Bealach na Ba by the time I reached it I was able to cross in relative safety, have lunch (freshly-caught langoustines) in the Applecross Inn, and then enjoy the rest of the day experiencing an incredibly special part of the world.

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Though less celebrated than some of its neighbours, the road from Ullapool to Durness is just as dramatic, especially if you make the decision to include the 30-mile coastal loop between Skiag Bridge and Unapool before crossing the Kylesku bridge. It's by far the most difficult road I tackled during my entire trip but it also showcases the very best of Assynt, from the glorious golden beach of Clashnessie to the awe-inspiring Drumbeg viewpoint.

I passed through Durness (stopping to sample the hot chocolate at Cocoa Mountain which, I can confirm, would very nearly justify a trip to Scotland's north west by itself) as I finally reached the north coast of the Scottish mainland and then continued on and on, all the way to the jetty at Gills Bay from where the ferry would carry me across the Pentland Firth.

Although the ultimate goal of my time on Orkney was the trip to Wyre, I was also conscious of having never visited these islands before. It seemed a shame not to see as much as possible during my short time there, and so I decided to squeeze in a whistle-stop tour of the mainland, with all too brief visits to Stromness, the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae and Birsay. But all the while, wherever I went, I was thinking about the little boat that I simply had to catch.

I had expected to complete this crucial section of my journey on foot and although Wyre is tiny, covering an area of a little more than one square mile, I still worried that I might not have given myself enough time to reach the top and see everything I had hoped. Fortunately I was wrong and finally, after a week of riding and years of wishing, found myself rolling onto the deck of the ferry. According to the attendant in the office, mine was the only motorcycle he could ever remember making such a journey.

But the bike couldn't carry me the whole way, so I rode as far as I could before leaving it parked at the side of the island's single road. And then I walked, through the grounds of a beautiful ruined kirk, across a bog peppered with flowers just about to bloom, up the hill to this stunning vantage point.

So far my Scottish journey had been everything I expected and quite a bit more, but it was far from over: I still had three days and around 450 miles of riding ahead of me, with stops in Inverness and Aberdeen before arriving back in Edinburgh. Meantime, the dogged little ferry was ploughing dutifully across the sound of Rousay and I knew that it would be coming back for me soon enough. I had more exploring to do, not least around the Bu itself.

There was nothing else for it: it was time to get going.

But standing there, surrounded by the visible remains of nearly a millennium of human history, I felt like I could just as easily have sat down on this very spot and, like Muir, somehow felt perfectly at home.