Day fifteen – more rain leads to shortcut

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It rained constantly from some time in the night until nearly midday. This meant no breakfast in the tent, because I can’t have the door open to cook. This probably helped me get away in good time at about nine o’clock for the seven mile cycle to Mallaig. I arrived in time to buy provisions at the co-op before getting my ferry ticket and boarding the 10.30 sailing for Armadale on the Isle of Skye.

Once across I attacked the road with a certain amount of vigour.  My father taught me the expression “a wee scotch mist”, to describe the situation when the cloud cover is just about at ground level, and although the rain is not torrential, it is persistent and very wet. That sums up the weather for the morning, and hence why I just pressed on as fast as I could because there were no views to enjoy. Having been this way several times before in better weather, I knew I was missing out on some dramatic mountain scenery: the Cullins, Knoydart, Kintail. The roads were good though, and I had the wind at my back, so within ninety minutes of arriving on Skye I was leaving again via the controversial Skye Bridge. I had not been here since it was built against the wishes of many local people.

I then pressed on to the lovely lochside village of Plockton for a lunch of Venison stew in the Plockton Hotel. The cloud had lifted slightly, but it was still obscuring the hills, and the tide was out, so it was no where near as pretty as it could have been.

After lunch I continued to Stromeferry and then along the very tiring road along the south side of Loch Carron. There were several serious bottom gear hills, but I did manage to hit 43.4 miles per hour coming down one of them.

From Strathcarron I had intended to turn left down the north side of the loch and round to Kishorn and Torridon. However I made a decision not to do this for two reasons: the cloud was still low so I would not be able to see the views, and the low mileages of the last two days had put me behind. So instead I took the easier, and ultimately shorter route up Glen Carron and on to Achnasheen and Garve, where I will turn north again to pick up the planned route before Ullapool. This cuts nearly fifty miles off the route. The roads are good and the wind was at my back so I was able to make good progress and despite the ferry taking up a chunk of the morning I managed to complete 87 miles by Garve.

The steady rain had come back within a few miles of Strathcarron and stayed with me for the rest of the day. I stopped for a breather and refreshment stop half way up one of the hills. As I was eating, I happened to glance into the glen and spotted a group of four deer fairly close. I decided to stop at Garve since the road to Ullapool from here is fairly bleak and there is very little there. There being no camp site, and the continuous rain putting me off the idea of camping rough, I sought out a B&B, and I am staying the night comfortably at the Old Manse, Garve.

Tomorrow, with no tent to pack up, I should be able to get a prompt start and hopefully put in a good mileage. I have decided to cut out another coastal section to hopefully enable me to visit Cape Wrath on Tuesday. To do this I need to stay somewhere no more that a morning’s ride from Durness.

So all in all it’s been a good day’s progress, and an important decision has been made about the route, which has put me back on target. It is a great shame about the weather and lack of views though. I hope this changes soon.

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3 Responses to Day fifteen – more rain leads to shortcut

  1. Jim says:

    Hope the weather gets better for you Peter! Sounds like the views are amazing, so hopefully the rain will clear so you can enjoy them more.

    You’re missing a nice bomb threat in central London at the moment – so if I were you I’d stay up in the highlands – much safer!

  2. Just Gai says:

    From your photo of the Sky bridge I can appreciate why the locals opposed it!

    Your photos and the descriptions of your route are making me ashamed of the fact that, despite my Scottish roots, I have never visited this part of the country. The reference to the hills of Morven was particularly poignant, it being the name of my little sister. Maybe next year, instead of heading south west to Cornwall I’ll head north west to Scotland.

  3. Martin Frederick Valuks says:

    Glad you had a dry night in a B&B last night, no more talk of the leg, so hopefully all is well now, guess you have already passed Ullapool today so my greetings to the Torridons and the far North West. Great photos as ever – the 18X zoom really performs!

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