Author Topic: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter  (Read 7043 times)

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2015, 09:49:46 pm »
That couple were really good fun, weren't they?  And someone had planted some Free Church sermon CDs in the kitchen, I think we managed to listen to about ten minutes before we hit the Off button, hard.  The Grace of God chasing you down like a bailiff, not my kind of religion at all.

Meeting the Windies was lovely, not least because they provided a mountain of fabulous home-made food, along with their company.  And their wood burning stove.  Real beds, too, lovely.  I felt like I'd met a celebrity.

I think descending past Stac Pollaidh might have been one of the greatest moments of my life. 

Whereas being confronted with Yet Another Climb on the way to Ullapool I fear I may have said 'and what the fuck is that?' to poor mcshroom, and it really wasn't his fault.  Highs and lows, every day, in every way.  Magic it was.

I remember the look I got when I informed you that the hill we were on was 'the penultimate climb' ;D
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2015, 09:51:21 pm »
Ah, yes.  The day I stopped for a pee on the verge and found I was pouring with blood from my bum.  Outside.  In public.  That's pouring by my standards, which are not easily met.  We're talking at least 2/3 of a pint.   And felt like I was seriously, seriously about to pass out.  I really wasn't very well.  Not the high point of my holiday, and it was a couple of days before I felt better.  Still bleeding a lot on the ferry, and missed the dolphins as a result.  You couldn't make it up.  But never mind, it was in such a state of ill-health that I climbed The Clisham, fully loaded.  I am a cycling goddess.  Trufack.

And I was still loving it, too.  Just a bit weary at the top  :)
Milk please, no sugar.

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2015, 09:55:16 pm »
That couple were really good fun, weren't they?  And someone had planted some Free Church sermon CDs in the kitchen, I think we managed to listen to about ten minutes before we hit the Off button, hard.  The Grace of God chasing you down like a bailiff, not my kind of religion at all.

Meeting the Windies was lovely, not least because they provided a mountain of fabulous home-made food, along with their company.  And their wood burning stove.  Real beds, too, lovely.  I felt like I'd met a celebrity.

I think descending past Stac Pollaidh might have been one of the greatest moments of my life. 

Whereas being confronted with Yet Another Climb on the way to Ullapool I fear I may have said 'and what the fuck is that?' to poor mcshroom, and it really wasn't his fault.  Highs and lows, every day, in every way.  Magic it was.

I remember the look I got when I informed you that 'this is the penultimate climb' ;D

"Marcus, that's not what I want to hear."

It explained why Ullapool was so much, er, smaller than I'd expected though.  It was in fact the little village at the foot of the penultimate climb, Ardmair I think.  My disappointment must have been palpable.  And audible.
Milk please, no sugar.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2015, 09:55:49 pm »
Ah, yes.  The day I stopped for a pee on the verge and found I was pouring with blood from my bum.  Outside.  In public.  That's pouring by my standards, which are not easily met.  We're talking at least 2/3 of a pint.   And felt like I was seriously, seriously about to pass out.  I really wasn't very well.  Not the high point of my holiday, and it was a couple of days before I felt better.  Still bleeding a lot on the ferry, and missed the dolphins as a result.  You couldn't make it up.  But never mind, it was in such a state of ill-health that I climbed The Clisham, fully loaded.  I am a cycling goddess.  Trufack.

And I was still loving it, too.  Just a bit weary at the top  :)

I knew you were feeling poorly, but you never told me about that!
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2015, 09:57:00 pm »
Ah, yes.  The day I stopped for a pee on the verge and found I was pouring with blood from my bum.  Outside.  In public.  That's pouring by my standards, which are not easily met.  We're talking at least 2/3 of a pint.   And felt like I was seriously, seriously about to pass out.  I really wasn't very well.  Not the high point of my holiday, and it was a couple of days before I felt better.  Still bleeding a lot on the ferry, and missed the dolphins as a result.  You couldn't make it up.  But never mind, it was in such a state of ill-health that I climbed The Clisham, fully loaded.  I am a cycling goddess.  Trufack.

And I was still loving it, too.  Just a bit weary at the top  :)

I knew you were feeling poorly, but you never told me about that!

I didn't want to worry you.  And anyway, how do you broach that topic?
Milk please, no sugar.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2015, 09:58:01 pm »
Good point
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2015, 10:23:06 pm »
TMI?
Milk please, no sugar.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2015, 10:37:43 pm »
TMI?

I meant it was a hard subject to broach
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2015, 10:42:21 pm »
Ah, yes.  The day I stopped for a pee on the verge and found I was pouring with blood from my bum.  Outside.  In public.  That's pouring by my standards, which are not easily met.  We're talking at least 2/3 of a pint.   And felt like I was seriously, seriously about to pass out.  I really wasn't very well.  Not the high point of my holiday, and it was a couple of days before I felt better.  Still bleeding a lot on the ferry, and missed the dolphins as a result.  You couldn't make it up.  But never mind, it was in such a state of ill-health that I climbed The Clisham, fully loaded.  I am a cycling goddess.  Trufack.

And I was still loving it, too.  Just a bit weary at the top  :)

*salutes*


I've had my fair share of TMI on bike rides, but that's above and beyond...   :o
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2015, 07:11:56 pm »
Northwest Highlands 2015 054 by Ruth Irving, on Flickr

The Supermoon at Durness

Northwest Highlands 2015 048 by Ruth Irving, on Flickr
Milk please, no sugar.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2015, 11:39:03 pm »
Right - back to the report :)

Day 9 - Uig to Sligachan (42 km)

We awoke to a sunny morning, on our campsite overlooking the sea at Uig


However the wind was starting to get up, and rain was forecast for later, so we packed up and headed South into the heart of Skye. The road starts with a long, steady climb out of the cove where Uig and the port sit, at the top giving a final view out over the bay before setting off into the cloudy interior.


The wind was starting to increase, and the Cuillin hills far off in front of us faded into the grey approaching. At an Audax hotel a little north of Portree we decided to stop for a food and wind break, when a family in a car stopped at the side of the bus stop to ask directions. I had no idea where they were after, but had access to a map, so after fighting with the wind as I unpacked it, I basically stuffed the whole unfolded map in the car and told the young lady inside to look for where they were going. It turned out to be miles away at the other end of the island. ???

We then rode into Portree and had a proper tea/coffee stop. This took a little longer than planned as all the cafes in the town square had queues of School pupils out of the doors. We eventually found a cafe without a queue opposite the YMCA, and after lunch, and then stocking up on supplies, we resumed our ride down the A87 as the rain started falling around us to Sligachan campsite.


The rain wasn't too bad when we arrived, but then we got onto pitching tents, and a full storm roared up. We found that a major advantage of touring as a pair was that one person could hold down a tent while the other pegged down everything possible to stop it blowing away. Tents up two very wet cyclists then ritired across the road to the Sligachan Inn, and it's wood fire, in front of which we spent the rest of the evening, before finally retiring into tents bellowing and bending in the wind.


Day 10 - Afternoon Trip to Raasay (26km)


It was still raining in the morning, and, after finding out that a fellow camper's tent had broken in the night, and he had switched to his backup (which was a bigger version of Ruthie's tent) we again sought shelter inside the inn while this passed over. We decided that today would be a day off to do some washing and have a rest. As the rain stopped in the early afternoon however, there was still time to get out and do a bit of exploring. Ruthie demonstrated her well honed camp culinary skills preparing a very tasty stir fry, and then we set out on what felt like skittish little racing bikes to Sconser and the ferry port.




The ferry over had outside seating, so we could see the Island approaching as we followed what felt like a rather drunken route round the deep water channel to Raasay, passing a swimming cormorant (but no dolphins) on the way


Raasay is a wonderful little island. There's only a small population, mainly based around the village next to the Ferry terminal, but it's sheltered deciduous woodland made it feel a bit like riding in English country lanes. After climbing out of the woodlands though, the scenery was breathtaking





We rode along the steeply undulating higher road north on the island with an idea that we might ride up to the abandoned villages at the north end, but the morning rain had stolen too much of the day, and eventually we turned back to make sure we got back in time for the ferry. Definitely somewhere to get out and do more exploring in the future.

We arrived back in time to get a drink at Rassay House, served by a friendly but pretty useless barista (he managed to scald himself, had three goes at making enough milk for Ruthie's latte, which he then spilt when trying to hand over and then forgot what he'd just served when pricing up).



Then we wandered down to the mermaids on the dock, and caught the ferry back into the fading light and back to the campsite.

Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2015, 11:55:44 pm »
Day 11 - Sligachan to Ashaig (34 km)
We set off quite early and, with the sun shining, rode back down the road past Sconser again, a bit slower with all the gear. The wind had dropped, the sun was out and the views, so foreboding in the previous morning's mist and cloud, softened to dazzling blues and browns.


After passing through Sconser we then headed inland up into the Cullins on a road that I had ridden three years previously, while being harried by the lashing rain of a thunderstorm. This time, however, it was far more benign



Over the top, down past a waterfall swelled by the recent rain, and then the route returned to the coastline, guiding us pleasantly into Broadford, and to a Pizzaria that served very nice (and welcome) pizzas. I was especially pleased with the daily special topped with Scallops and Black Pudding :)

From Broadford we headed south to a junction, and a choice of route. We could either turn right and head down to Armadale to pick up a ferry to Mallaig and the Road to the Isles, or head left and towards the Skye Bridge. We chose the latter, and turned East along the road towards our link back to the mainland. That was not for today though. We stopped short of the bridge at a quirky campsite at Ashaig. It was a mixture of camping areas, some new properly built stuff like a big shower wet room, and lots of other things bodged together from old junk and packaging in a sort of clich├ęd 'eco-friendly' way. The site was also overflown by a Buzzard when we arrived


After pitching, we wandered down the hill from the site towards the sea, and a most beautiful stony beach looking over Scalpay and towards Applecross and the mainland.





We explored the rock pools along the coastline, and then sat down on a large rock in the middle of a stream. Just then a small water plane flew very low straight over our heads, bright yellow against the blue sky. Unfortunately it was so unexpected I didn't have a camera on hand to capture it. Good end to our last full day on Skye. The following morning we would make for the Bridge, and our island adventure would be ended.
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2015, 12:08:27 am »
The road on Raasay is unbelievable.  It's relentlessly up at first through the woods and then continues with more up and the occasional undulation till you find yourself riding on what could be the North York Moors except for the idyllic sea views.  It must be in my top ten bike rides,  possibly even top three,  and I will go back and complete the ride to the end of the road one day.

The road seems to pull you on,  New vistas and landscapes  round every corner.  We came back along the coast road along sheltered walled avenues.  Oh I wish I was there now.
Milk please, no sugar.

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2015, 12:27:29 am »
This is lovely stuff, thanks!

Vince

  • Can't climb; won't climb
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2015, 04:03:05 am »
I'm really enjoying this write up and the great photos.
216km from Marsh Gibbon

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2015, 08:36:58 am »
Ace  :thumbsup:

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2015, 09:12:58 am »
Brilliant! :)
http://www.letusbeheard.uk March in London on October 19th and on the 12th Rally 4 Our Rights

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2015, 09:53:06 am »
I've loved your adventure and photos and re-lived some memories of some of my cycling trips.

I agree that Raasay needs further exploration - I didn't get further than the youth hostel years and years ago. The road in Raasay has an interesting history being built largely by a crofter called Callum MacLeod. See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Calums-Road-Roger-Hutchinson/dp/1841586773

Great weather as well!

PS Pizzas at Broadford - I had to complain about mine as it was raw in the middle. The chef was the trainee - good to see he has got his act together

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2015, 10:01:21 am »
Lovely stuff.   :thumbsup:     I stayed at the Ashaig campsite on my last trip up there.
Not fast & rarely furious

tweeting occasional in(s)anities as andrewxclark

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #44 on: October 21, 2015, 11:11:20 am »
That brings back fond memories of camping at Sligachan when I was 18, getting to befriend some nice Dutch girls after their tent was blown into a very strange shape and a couple of blokes who had a backpacking tent pitched inside their frame tent as insurance against the wind.

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2015, 03:05:10 pm »
Loved every instalment, felt like I was with you all the way.

Thanks for sharing  :thumbsup:

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2015, 03:12:25 pm »
Yes indeed, absolutely first-class story-telling with pictures. Thankyou!

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2015, 03:18:59 pm »
I'm glad you'ev enjoyed the report. It was a great ride and I really enjoyed the trip :)

There's one more segment to come, heading into the Great Glen which I hope to write up tonight, and I'll try to tie up with some ideas of route, a list of sites used and general thoughts on the trip. Sorry it's coming in bits, but I've got a lot of other calls on my time at the moment so haven't been able to sit down and write the whole lot. :)
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2015, 04:14:46 pm »
Another great report.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2015, 09:34:01 pm »
Day 12 - Ashaig to Glenshiel (36km)
Leaving Skye led to the section of the tour that I felt that morning would become a bit less exciting. We were heading away from the coast, back onto the mainland and with an itinerary set more by making it to our trains home than exploring. However there was the SKye Bridge to look forward to, and late morning we set off down the main road to find it. The bridge has quite a slope on it, taking some riding up, but you are rewarded with views out to sea and into Lochalsh. The weather was still playing ball too :)






Rolling down the other side we picked up some postcards to write home, and then found a cafe to write them in near the harbour. On the way out of Kyle of Lochalsh you pass the station, an unusual affair, with four platforms jutting out into the Loch where before the bridge, ferries could have pulled up alongside to carry the passengers over to the island. Then, despite the route mainly following the side of Lochalsh for the day, we headed out of town up a steep hill, stopping for a short while at a viewpoint at the top, showing the bridge and our last view of open sea of the tour.


The next feature of our tour was a complete surprise. We turned into a car park next to Dornie village hall, partly to take a picture of the bridge, and partly because I'd spotted a cake shop (sadly closed). What we hadn't expected was this: -


Eilean Donan Castle, built in Medieval times and once Garrison to Jackobite armies marching from the sea. We had to stop and look around, after passing the village of Dornie with it's Tobermory-esque painted houses along the Lochside (I wonder which one was the Pub? ;D)


Close up the castle looks very pretty.




Then it was back off along the Loch, towards the hills and our campsite for the night, which was hidden behind a petrol station (who ran the site) and we almost missed




After pitching, we went exploring the hills behind the campsite on foot. We first went bog hopping, then eventually found a trail, up passed a lovely river cascading over rocky steps, and then over the top of the first hill into a little hidden valley filled with the sound of the river, and flanked with trees. Eventually we turned for the site. Neither of us were carrying a torch at that point and it would have been silly to be caught out by the setting sun.
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!