Saturday, 28 May 2011

Scenery - disappointing

This is Friday's Blog; no signal last night in Shieldaig.

Some 12 years ago I drove between Ullapool and Inverness, via Poolewe, Gairloch and Kinlochewe, as part of a tour of Scottish ports when I was working in the industry. It was wintertime, and snow had been falling hard. I'd stayed the night at the Old Inn at Gairloch. The morning was blue and the snow had been cleared to make the road passable. The drive to Kinlochewe, alongside Loch Maree was simply stunning.

So I was looking forward to cycling the same route, in summer... Well it is the end of May. But you can guess what comes next. It was cloudy, damp and the views were most disappointing. It rained solidly from about 1 pm, so by the time I arrived at Shieldaig, I was totally soaked through.

Astute route-watchers amongst you will realise I have missed out a dead-end ride from Torridon to Lower Diabaig. Having promised at the start of the ride to visit all the harbours on the list, I've let myself down by failing to do so (and not for the first time). But when it's pouring with rain and the winds are gusting to gale force, all you want to do is reach the next camp site.

I've also decided not to go to Applecross. It would have entailed a long day on the bleak coast west of Shieldaig, followed the next day by the assault of the highest maintained road in Britain, Bealach na Ba, at over 2000 feet. Not in this weather. So by missing out Applecross, I can get back on my original schedule. Tomorrow I will meet up again with Toby Speight, who gave me a bed in Leith and who lives in Lochcarron at weekends.

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