Monday, April 21, 2014

Something a bit different...


I've taken a while to get this post written, but to be honest, with the weather being so good of late, sitting down doing this hasn't been top priority.....

Anyway, last weekend Robin, Klaus, Steve and myself all departed from the ferry terminal at Ardrossan, bound for Arran and a wee jaunt up the west coast to fort William. Captain no-show was supposed to be coming too, but another call off put a stop to that!. Our first priority, before we could even begin to enjoy the trip, was to make the ferry at the north west port of Lochranza to claonaig over on Kintyre. It's not what you'd usually consider tight, time wise, as there's 75 minutes between getting off the Brodick ferry, and making this one, but a toughish headwind and bikes laden down with gear made it tighter than it shoud. 11.59 for the 12.00 sailing is indeed cutting it fine.

This bought us more time to enjoy the ride on the other side, and time also for a spot of lunch in the wee fishing port of tarbert. Our intention for the next few days was to follow the cycle path, NCN78, all the way to Fort William, via a nights camping in Lochgilphead, and a cheap hotel stay in Oban, and then the train back home.


As we had decided not to carry food (there's plenty stops along the way) we were travelling reasonably light, with around 9kg of packs on my bike, this meant no need for a back pack, which takes a lot of weight off of the body and is far more enjoyable. I'd taken a bit of a gamble on the weather, and only really packed light weight waterproof kit, and no spare clothes, so all the diners around us along the way would just have to put up with the 'fresh air' we were creating.


Fortunately, the weather was reasonable pretty much the whole way, except the odd shower on the first day, and a constant drizzle on the last day, which wasn't too bad, as the pub in FW had nice big radiators, and the train home was warm too!.

Our first day was over 60 miles and took us through North Arran, crossing the Kintyre peninsula to kennacraig, and on to tarbert, before taking the longer route around the whole knapdale peninsula, and eventually up and over the long climb from loch caolisphort and dropping us down into ardrishaig, and finally Lochgilphead a few miles further on. It was a pretty long day, and the food in the marina inn was destroyed in jig time, before retiring to 'camp' for the night. It was a pretty long night, as it rained constantly from about 4am, and the wind battered my wee tarp on and off in loud squalls.


Next morning, we waited out the rain til around 9am, meaning a late start to the day. This was another long day too, which starts off with a flat 15 miles all the way along the crinan canal and north through the beautiful kilmartin glen, before heading along the hilly northern shore line of loch awe.



Another nice lunch stop (there's a pattern forming here!) in dalavich, and then on and over the hills into taynuilt, before another undulating road over into Oban, by this time it was nearly 8pm, and another day of just under 60 miles under our belts. I'd booked a cheap hotel, the regent, in Oban, which was perfect for our needs - clean, central and with a decent breakfast in the morning to look forward to.

Our plan was originally to head back from Oban on the train, but klaus had talked us into headin on to fort William instead, which I'm glad he did. The last day wasn't too long, and was far flatter than the previous two. We were in the town for half past two, so had time to dry out before making the 17.37 connection to Glasgow.

Great weekend, I can't be bothered typing any more, and the pictures aren't great either, as I had the camera at the wrong setting all weekend!.



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