Lochailort – Oban
3785 feet climbed
3499 calories burnt
I woke up in the luxury of the Lochailort Inn after an awesome nights sleep, albeit a tad too short. Don’t worry I had asked Dad if he wanted to get out of the motorhome for a night but he was adamant that he wasn’t staying in the hotel. After getting ready and packing up all of my stuff, I went to eat the muesli that the hotel had left me but there was no damn spoon, so I had to pack it all up and go eat it in the motorhome.
It took a while for us all to get ready, amazing what having an extra family member cycling with you does for your organizing. Gareth had forgotten his water bottle and various other things so we had to get him ready as well as ourselves! As we were getting ready to set off the weather did not look too promising, so we were all in our wet weather gear, I even treated myself to waterproof trousers (the first time of the whole trip I’ve worn trousers of any form).
Today was going to be a difficult day because we had two ferries to catch as we were cycling on the Isle of Mull. The first would be after about 45 miles, from Kilchoan to Tobermory (on Mull) and the second would be after a further 20 odd miles from Mull to Oban on the mainland. We were also going to make the decision at the turning in Kilchoan for the ferry as to whether we would cycle to the most westerly point on the mainland, Ardnamurchan.
We set off along the A861, it was a real treat having Gareth cycling with us because he lead the peleton in to the wind, meaning I could relax a bit for once. The weather was still really overcast, so we couldn’t see much of the view of Loch Ailort or the surrounding hills. As we headed away from the coast of the Loch, southwards towards Loch Moidart through Kyles Wood the weather was starting to lift and the views were getting better, rolling hills with the mist lifting. The roads were also pretty clear of traffic meaning that Dad, Gareth and I could chat. It really lifted Dad’s spirits having Gareth cycling with him, and mine too – you really can’t beat a bit of fresh company to spur you on!
As the road started to really undulate, Gareth hit a cattle grid at speed and we thought that he had punctured his front tire, but after about five minutes, it was his back tire that gave out. Funny how the tourist cyclist got the puncture, Dad and I still only have one between us, not bad for us having cycled 1,200 miles each! Gareth jumped into action and got his puncture fixed, quicker than I could eat the snickers he treated us to. We set off in next to no time, and then Gareth decided to get stung by a wasp – he was really glad he joined us to cycle by now! When we reached the ferry terminal, we made the decision not to go to the most westerly point, the weather was closing in and we needed to eat before we got the ferry.
When we got the ferry, the crossing was smooth and we left the mainland in dull but clear weather. As we closed in on Mull, all hell broke loose with the weather and the minute we stepped off the ferry the heavens opened. We didn’t have time to enjoy the colourful shop/house fronts of Tobermory as we had to plug on so we didn’t get cold in the rain.
I really cannot comment on what the Isle of Mull was like, apart from that the road surface was pretty good. The weather was that bad we couldn’t even see the sea that we were meant to be cycling along. Other than that, we had one bad overtake to mention. The road turned into a single track for each side with a grass verge in the middle for about 100 metres. There was very little to no room for a car to pass in the section, but surprise, surprise a car tried it. I watched it pretty much skim my Dad’s shoulder, all to save the car a couple of seconds.
Once we hit the ferry terminal, it was still absolutely pouring down so we took shelter in the terminal building. There were lots of strange folk waiting for the ferry, and the three of us were getting incredibly cold so we just wanted to get to Oban as quickly as possible.
The ferry arrived, we cycled on board, tied the bikes up and headed to the bar. Gareth treated Dad and I to an ale to warm us up. It took about 40 minutes for the crossing and on the Oban side, we had Joana and Trevor (a friend I met on a London to Paris cycle ride) to welcome us.
Harry cooked chicken curry for all of us, then the kids went out and had a couple of drinks (possibly one too many!) in the party capital of Oban.