Day twelve – Rain in Argyle leads to the gateway to the Isles.




It rained overnight, and was still raining when I went for my shower. It stopped long enough to cook breakfast, but then started up again. I packed my bags and then waited in the tent for a break in the rain to take it down. The break didn’t come, so I packed a wet tent in the pouring rain and set off late at about 10.30.

Loch Eck looked as if it had the potential to be beautiful in the sun. The woods on the East bank had a more or less continuous carpet of bluebells.

The rain was more on than off in the morning with some torrential bursts and just an occasional break.

A short and easy pass from the top of Loch Eck brought me to the Southern shore of Loch Fyne. Soon I could see Inveraray across the loch, but there was still 20 miles of road around the head of the loch to get there. Added to that there was a fairly strong wind blowing up the loch, and the road inexplicably decided to climb half way up a mountain on the Southern shore.

I finally reached Inveraray, somewhat wet and bedraggled, at about 2pm and immediately installed myself in the George Hotel for lunch. The George is well known to any ringers who have been to Inveraray, and the food is very good, so I decided to make up for the difficult morning with a two course lunch of locally sourced smoked salmon, and haggis neeps and tatties, all washed down with a pint of Vital Spark, one of the local Loch Fyne beers.

Lunch completed, I set out with some trepidation for the pass to Loch Awe. The weather was a little better, and it was sunny with frequent showers. The pass, I knew from driving this way, goes uphill for miles. I can now confirm it is eight miles of hill. But that actually means the gradient is fairly gentle, so it was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated, and the drop down to Loch Awe was very pleasant.

Coming around the head of Loch Awe the rain became torrential once more, and continued off and on for most of the rest of the ride. Added to that I heard a faint twang noise and then some rubbing on my back wheel. A quick inspection revealed that a spoke had broken. Just my luck as this was about the only spare I was not carrying. Still this is the first problem with the bike, which is not bad considering that I have cycled 900 miles now. I will try to get it fixed in Oban tomorrow. There is a lot of weight on my back wheel and I don’t want to risk the wheel collapsing if another spoke were to break.

I limped on to Oban, and then 2.5 miles beyond to the Oban Caravan and Camping Park, a fairly good camp site which I have stayed in several times over the last 35 years or so. The weather since reaching the camp site has been a lot more settled with just a few light showers, one unfortunately coinciding with cooking dinner.

76 miles completed today. Tomorrow will be lower as I have to get a ferry to Mull after getting my bike fixed, and then another one off of Mull and onto Ardnamurchan and would still have to do 20 miles or so beyond that to keep my average up, and that just won’t happen. Still, I can feel the next objective, the W most point getting quite close now.

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3 Responses to Day twelve – Rain in Argyle leads to the gateway to the Isles.

  1. David Moor says:

    I’m glad to hear that you are consistently finding good pubs to sustain you on your journey. Keep up the good work.

  2. Phil Tremain says:

    I’ve heard it said that Scotland is like Cornwall on a grander scale, steeper hills, heavier rain, etc. etc.
    Glad the next milestone is in sight, Cornwall must seem a long time ago.

  3. Just Gai says:

    Glad you’ve managed to find some local Scottish beer. The Vital Spark was the name of Para Handy’s coal boat in a delightful TV series when I was a teenager in Scotland. It was absolutely hilrious.

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