Tarbert – Tarbert
5127 feet climbed
3508 calories burnt
Today it was back to ‘normal’ – all of our lovely visitors had left us to it. It always seems more difficult to get going once people have gone as it does get a wee bit lonely on your bike day after day. I know Dad and I are cycling together, but because of the busy roads we can’t talk that much, plus there’s only so much we can discuss about the bikes, the scenery and the roads. On the flip side, it does make you remember that there is a ‘real’ life out there and not everyone is lucky (or mad) enough to get up just to ride a bike.
Dad and I got going at about 8:30am this morning, we were trying to get as much cycling done before 3:00pm when the rain was due. As we did a loop today, from Tarbert down to Campbeltown and back up again we had a decision as to which route we would take. We took the weather and terrain into consideration, long story short we decided on going anti-clockwise, down the A83 and back up the B842.
The start of the outward journey wasn’t too bad, although the road was busy with morning commuter traffic and logger lorries the surface was nice and smooth so we could just roll along. We had a near miss with an erratic post office van about 5 miles in. He decided to overtake Dad and I on a blind bend, when a lorry was coming straight towards us – a genius manouevre! As Dad had shouted that he was attempting to pass, I kept as close as I could to the side of the road but even then I could feel how near he was to my shoulder. As he tried to straighten up infront of us, you could see that he was fighting the wheel to stop swerving.
After that the road seemed to quieten down, and we only saw about 4 logging lorries so it wasn’t too bad. We passed a number of ports to various islands off the west coast, Gigha etc, further down we could even see right across to Northern Ireland. There wasn’t that much else to note on the way down apart from passing an Alpaca farm, with some super cute shaven Alpaca’s and a village called Tangy (I have photographic evidence of both!).
The winds started to pick up, against us – about 10 miles outside of Campbeltown. As they were expected right from the get go I didn’t mind them too much. We also had blue sky and no sight of rain so I just kept cycling away, thinking that it was only 10 miles until lunch.
There wasn’t much to Campbeltown so we just found a small cafe and had lunch. We had made it in good time, it had taken us about three and a half hours for the 37 miles from Tarbert to Campbeltown. It was the easier part of the loop as it was the main road with fewer hills, but we did have the head wind working against us.
Lunch was a treat, bacon and mozzarella panini with a latte and a hot fruit scone to follow (obviously not a patch on Harry’s cooking). We also had a flapjack and I ate the rest of my strawbs as I was not keen on carrying so much sweaty food back with us.
As the weather had got out nice over lunch, Dad and I tried to stuff our waterproof jackets in our cycling jersey pockets. Pretty difficult when you’re still carrying 10 tonne of banana’s, gels, flapjacks, inner tubes etc. The motorhome didn’t follow us today as we were doing one big loop so we had to make sure that we were carrying all of our wet weather gear with us.
The road climbed pretty sharpish out of Campbeltown, it was a lot quieter than the A83 and in parts became single track with passing points. We had checked over the map before we had left in the morning so we knew we were in for a fair few climbs over the next 37 miles back to Tarbert, but again – what goes up, must come down. Dad isn’t keen on the hills, but I quite like the challenge, trying not to flick my gears down until my legs are really tired.
The views we had on the way back were great, over to Isle of Arran and the mainland. It did start to rain at 3:00pm, bang on schedule but it didn’t last long, just a couple of spit spots. We were quickly counting down the miles, before we hit a big climb just before we joined back with the road we had cycled out on in the morning. At this point I knew we only had about 5 miles to go and as Dad was pretty tired, he had popped a gel before the climb so we just pootled back in to Tarbert. I keep forgetting Dad is 59 and that I’m only 27 – I haven’t really felt tired because of the cycling and my legs still feel quite fresh, but Dad, after a 70 miler does get quite tired over the last couple of miles and rightly so!
We met the Motorhome pretty much where we had left it in the morning, in Tarbert Harbour. Harry and Mum had been busy all day with laundry and clearing out the Motorhome. They found a launderette that was run by third generation sail makers who were kind enough to launder pretty much everything that could be laundered in the motorhome for FREE, such generosity has been very forthcoming in Scotland – I’m not so sure this will be the case in England!
Dad and I went and got showered up in some fantastic showers across the harbour (usually reserved for folks off the yaughts), we’re becoming very resourceful when it comes to bathing facilities! It started to rain over dinner, but it never really matters once you’re off your bike! We had the left over of Harry’s chicken curry, with the remains of Trevor’s box of wine – we know how to live it up!
We’re camping on the rough again tonight, unfortunately it seems to be on boy racer turf, so every five minutes or so we’re getting treated to revving engines – fingers crossed my earplugs can drown it out.
After our cycling today, the overall stats for the ride to date are that we have cycled 1399.35 miles, climbed 74,799 feet and burnt 61,860 calories – definitely think it’s time for more wine then!