Sunday, 29 May 2011

Weather dominates yet again

After a night of luxury at the Balmacara Hotel (and a huge breakfast) the day started in pouring rain. This was to be repeated throughout the day, but at least the sun did pop out a few times. 100 mph winds, and snow, were forecast for the top of the Munros (over 3000 feet).

Two huge ascents were needed today, as I wanted to cross to Skye on the Glenelg/Kylerhea ferry. This ferry is community-owned, and provides a valuable service for local people, as well as a different way of getting on or off Skye, rather than using the bridge. It felt great, arriving on Skye. Not sure why, perhaps something to do with the uniqueness that every island seems to have. The photo left was taken from the ferry as it departed from Glenelg.

The two climbs were either side of the ferry. First was Bealach Ratagain at 339 metres (over 1100 feet), which is likely to be the highest on the whole route. The second, Bealach Udal, was 'only' 279 metres, but involved a steep section near the top that almost proved too difficult to push the bike up. I was pleased to be able to cycle most of these climbs, but the really steep sections were beyond me.

I'm camping tonight next to the Sligachan Hotel, where Bundy and I have been on two or three occasions on previous cycling trips. It's a welcome haven in an otherwise remote part of the island. The last three miles from Sconser were cycled in driving rain; it's annoying to arrive at the campsite wet, because there's no time, or facilities, to dry off before setting off the following day.

Tomorrow I'm staying with fellow Geographer Dave Fergusson, who lives in Uig.

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