Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Well what a day!
The day started with what seemed to be the norm of grey clouds above and black clouds (of midges) below..
Hit the road at about 9 am after a sudden but torrential downpour, soaking my tent yet again. Heavy rain filled much of the morning as a rode around the misty yet stunning loch edges heading into first Ballaculish then Fort William some 30 odd miles beyond my start point.
The sun finally broke as I hit the town and soon I was strolling down the familiar main street on the hunt for lunch.. as I mentioned earlier there was a bustling euro market on withholding stalls from all nations selling food and nick-nacks from far and wide.. two walks up and down land I had the decision down to a choice of two. A giant Bratwurst cob from the German section served by a frightening looking woman who bore a striking resemblance to Helga from 'allo allo' or Paella from a friendly looking spaniard with a broad smile... I went for the latter, and was presented with the biggest pile of the stuff served fresh from one of those gigantic 10 foot wide Paella pans. The meal itself was perfect with heaps of prawns, muscles and squid wither usual rice, beg and a good kick of spices.. sat munching in the sun the only thing that wad lacking was a large glass of San Miguel to was it down with.
Suitably stuffed I hit the road.. I've been to Skye before but have only ever crossed by the new and controversial skye bridge, so this time I just have to go the old fashioned way and take the ferry from Malaig.. this takes you down the much talked about Loch Eil, now even with the mix of extremely heavy showers, and warm and dry intervals the scenery was truly breathtaking, from the head of Loch Eil right down to the coast this stunning valley flanked on either side by massive and very sheer faced mountains, all with their heads firmly in the clouds gave the weird impression that you have no idea how big these massive mountains really were... did they just end only just above the 2 or 3 thousand feet that I could see? Or do they go up forever? Either way they make you feel very very small indeed.
More stunning scenery followed passing Glenfinnan where you pass the head of the stunning Loch Sheil with more dramatic misty views.
By the time I hot the coast I was free of the cloud hugging mountains and out into hot, bright sunshine making the ride along this picturesque coast a real pleasure..
A brief stop in Arising for some supplies (pasta) and after 70 odd miles under my belt for today, decided it was time to camp..
Now I thought my camp at Kintra on the west coast of Islay was gonna take some beating, but today beating it has proven really quite easy, I only wish my little phone pic above could do it justice, but It's kind of those 'you really have to see it for yourself' things...
My lil tent pitched on a perfect grass topped rock outcrop just feet from the pure white sand and crystal blue water.. little rock islands stretch out into the bay where to my right I can see over to the isle of Skye and to my left, nothing but the expanse of the ocean.
It's 7:30 and the sun is still out and warm in the cloudless blue sky.
I'm fully stuffed on the customary pasta dinner and I'm just about to delve into the Laphroaig stash.
Gonna get to and hit the road early tomorrow and try and get on the first ferry to Skye..
Lessons learned for today:
1. When descending fast downhills in heavy rain, its best to 'try' your brakes before you actually need them.
2. Putting a pair of metal-cleated cycling shoes in one of this campsite 'industrial sized' tumble dries at 7 in the morning produces a sound very similar in tone and volume to that of a fire alarm.
No really, just ask anyone in Barcladine.