Monday, 6 June 2011

A complicated day

This morning I had planned to catch the ferry from Tobermory to Drimnin. Unlike most ferries in the West of Scotland, which are operated by Calmac, this one is run by a community based organisation, the Sound of Mull Transport Group. According to their timetable the ferry only runs on Mondays and Fridays; I had planned my journey carefully to coincide with the Monday morning sailing. But no boat arrived. After a couple of phone calls I got through to Ardnamurchan Charters, whose boat is used as the ferry. They informed me that funding from local councils had been suspended and that the ferry was no longer working. I told them about my cycle ride around Britain and was informed that all was not lost: the boat was coming over to Tobermory later to collect some fuel and other supplies. They would detour on their way back to Laga, where they are based, to drop me off at Drimnin.

The boat arrived, but was not planning to leave until 14.00. So, half a day lost, but my planned route maintained. The alternative would have been to cycle all the way back to Fishnish and take the Calmac ferry over to Lochaline. But I hate doing the same bit of road twice, especially as I remember all the hills! The boat eventually dropped me off at Drimnin just before 15.00. Many thanks to Tom and Sue Jackson, the boat crew, who didn't charge me anything.

I now had to make a decision, whether to continue as far as Camasnagaul, where there's a ferry to Fort William, or take the Highland Council ferry across the Corran Narrows. That would entail missing out three harbours/jetties (Camasnagaul, Fort William and Corpach), but would keep me on schedule. With poor weather forecast for the next two days, I chose the latter course. I grieve missing out these harbours, but with several people around the coast expecting to see me (and give me a bed for the night) on planned dates, I feel it is more important to try to stick to the schedule than to visit every little jetty. I guess it's better to show some flexibility than to be too rigid (anal?) about visiting every possible harbour (he says in feeble self-justification).

Anyway, having crossed Loch Linnhe on the Corran Ferry, I headed straight for the campsite shown on the map. It was getting late by now, about 8.30. When I got there a sign said 'sorry, no tents'. It was strictly for caravans only. So I carried on for a few miles and found a nice field at North Ballachulish. Wild camping for only the second time!

Some of the photos I've uploaded were taken in Aros Park, a pleasant wooded area near Tobermory, where I walked whilst waiting for the boat to leave.

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