Day sixteen – pressing on North

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The hospitality of Jean and Pete at The Old Manse was second to none. As soon as I arrived, Jean was insisting on taking my wet clothes to dry them out. When I asked about evening meal, which they don’t offer, she offered instead the use of their garage for me to heat up my evening can of food. Breakfast was at eight and was superb.

I had found good phone reception and power, so caught up a bit with uploading pictures. But the effect of this was that I was a bit slow in getting away, and did not capitalise on the opportunity that not having to wash up or take down a tent should have offered.

It was wet again. The road North from Garve climbs for fifteen miles to reach its summit between Lochs Glascarnoch and Droma. At the top it was very windy and the wind was driving the rain into my face. But I still managed to make fairly good time to the Corrieshallock Gorge, where I stoped to look at the Falls of Measach, which were very impressive with all the rain water from the mountains.

I made it to the Ferry Boat Inn at Ullapool for a lunch of beer battered haddock washed down with Crofter, a local ale, and followed by strawberry trifle. Once again I had the use of a power socket, and bandwidth on the mobile was good, so I got right up to date with picture uploading, but at the cost of another half an hour. Then I went to the chemist for more drugs, and to the supermarket for provisions, so did not get away from Ullapool until about half past three. I had quite a lot of mileage to cover.

Once again I forsook the meandering coast roads to make up ground on the larger highways slightly inland. There were a few big hills to contend with, though the weather had improved and was dry for an hour or so before turning to showers for the rest of the afternoon.

My Target was now the camp site at Scourie, the only one on the route this side of Cape Wrath. At Ledmore I had twenty five miles left and it was now about five, so it would be a bit of a slog, but it was feasible.

The road kept going up and down in fairly long, big hills. Long pulls up being rewarded with relaxing decents. I even managed to break yesterday’s top speed just freewheeling down one at nearly 46 mph!

Nine miles from Scourie I crossed the Kylesku Bridge. I remembered coming here at a very young age on a family holiday, before the bridge was built, and crossing by ferry. Today I found a plaque commemorating the opening of the bridge in 1984, so I must have also used the ferry when I cycled this way in 1983 from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Then there were nine more miles of slog to go. The hills had got smaller, but there were more of them. One appeared when I calculated that I was two miles from my destination, and I thought to myself, “just get over this one and it will be a gentle descent to Scourie”. However, someone must have moved the village another mile further north, and in the process put in three more hills, the last of which was quite sharp. So I was very relieved when I finally got here and found a sheltered pitch quite close to the sea at about 8.15, after cycling 77 miles today.

It’s been a long day, partly down to my own procrastination. The weather in the afternoon has been better than yesterday, and in fact it hasn’t rained in the four hours since I pitched. It’s really been a day of getting the mileage done, in anticipation of hopefully making it to Cape Wrath sometime tomorrow.

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2 Responses to Day sixteen – pressing on North

  1. Just Gai says:

    I’m thoroughly enjoying this guided tour of the west coast of Scotland – and from the comfort and warmth of my own sofa. Thank you Peter!

  2. Martin Frederick Valuks says:

    I remember the Kylescue ferry very well and in fact I think we visited as a family in 1981, good going Peter. Sorry I have not been able to check your blog for some days

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