Author Topic: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter  (Read 7670 times)

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2015, 10:03:17 pm »
Day 13 - Glenshiel to Faichemard (53km)
After a few short days this one was going to be a little longer, and also leaving the Sea Lochs and aiming for the Great Glen we had some climbing to do. I woke up quite early, but was then stopped from returning to my tent by this young lady


Every time I walked towards the tent she growled at me and wouldn't let me pass. Eventually she woke Ruthie, who is far better with dogs than me and we switched quickly from fending me off to playing fetch with stones, often distracted by the smells of the site as she went retrieving the stones. Unfortunately I got a bit careless, and threw a stone the far side of my tent. On her return, she chased the stone under the rear end of my tent, and landed on the tent, snapping my tent pole :(

My new friend followed me out of the site (apparently she lived in the house next door to the campsite), but I was getting rubbing noises from the bike, something was wrong. On inspection it became apparent I'd lost another spoke, almost directly opposite the one that was replaced on Lewis. This time, however, it was a drive side spoke, and I had no chance of replacing it. After butchering the wheel to get it to run true enough to work, we started past the Five Sisters up the hill, a hill that seemed to keep climbing even when it looked like it was going downwards ???



We passed Shiel Bridge, another Jacobean battle site, then upwards, upwards we slowly made our way out of the head of the valley, and up onto the highland plain above and into the low cloud that was gathering. A little after the top was the Cluanie Inn, a mixture of hotel, expensive petrol station, walkers pub and restaurant. In the lobby they also had a big bird ;D


The route then carries on along the side of Loch Cluanie, past the Dam at it's eastern end and down to a junction, where we left the Inverness traffic and started up our highest hill of the whole tour, rising up over 350m on the climb into Glen Garry.




At the high point we found something very weird. There were dozens of little cairns all over the hillside, with no apparent reason for why they were there. An unusual and slightly eerie place in the mist.


From there we had finished our climbing (we thought) and sailed off down into Glen Garry (Garry seems a strange name for a Loch and Glen), pausing to stop at a missing statue, the plinth showing only four rusty bolt holes where the metal sculptue would once had been. I had a short go at being it's replacement


Then on to the site. Now heading for a Camp Site that advertises itself as 'Adults Only', and called 'Faichemard Farm', we were wondering a bit what we had let ourselves in for! As it was, the first thing to worry about was a long steep climb off of the A87 to the site, and up to the Reception right at the far end and highest point of the campsite!

The site was nicely laid out. Reasonably large, with quiet grass/hard standing pitches, each with their own picnic tables and all in all pretty nice. We returned to our now alloted pitch (back at the bottom of the hill) and pitched for the night. I had to do a bit of emergency surgery on my tent, but found a way of keeping it together ;D

Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2015, 10:47:03 pm »
Day 14 - Faichemard to Fort William (50km)
Last day of the cycle tour, and this turned out to be the only day we had to put the tents away wet from the rain, which just shows how lucky we had been. We set off downhill, stopping for breakfast just before joining the A82 down the great Glen, and then turned South West, following the loch side and heading for Fort William. The road was still on the Northern side of the canal, which meant we were still on the older Highland geological plate, eventually we crossed the river on a swing bridge and we left for the southern, newer plate. The Great Glen being a rift where the two meet*.

The road was pretty busy, so we chose a gravel cycle path along the canal side to the top of Loch Lochy, rising and falling over the undulating gravel track through a small woodland. Unfortunately this proabaly wasn't good for my rear wheel. We returned to the A82 instead of taking on the rocky forestry track that the NCN route takes, and riding alongside the lake, got yet another view. One we had time to enjoy as I lost another rear spoke, and had to find a way of getting the wheel even enough to run with only 34.


Wheel sort of fixed, we carried on along the main road, now unfairly rising away from the canal to over 100m. At the top of the hill was a big memorial to Commandos. I went and took some photos of this while Ruthie went of to try and blag some Irn Bru out of one of the coach tour guides in the cr park


After this we had a choice. Keep riding down the main road, which was the shortest route to our destination, and with the best surface, or drop down to Gairlocy on the back roads, and lose the traffic. With the state of my rear wheel I was thinking about the former, but we decided on the Gairlochy road, a great choice as we decended down into the valley through deciduous woodland very unlike the coastal landscapes we had experienced the previous couple weeks.


At the bottom we had one last good surprise, we picked up the Caledonian canal again at Gairlochy, and rode a very smooth gravel towpath all the way to Fort William, finishing with a decent past the numerous locks of Neptune's staircase.




This was a wonderful finish to the ride.

We booked in at our campsite, and the receptionist was able to direct us to the LBS. Dropping all the bags in the site reception we then, unladen headed off to Inverlochy, over a footbridge and past a yard where the steam engines were kept that run along the Fort William - Mallaig line on special exursions


The bike shop was a proper cycle shop, not a selling bikes shop. It had a large number of new bikes, mainly mountain bikes on display, but also had a big workshop and a selection of refurbished bikes, along with shelves of useful bits and pieces. :)

The mechanic was unfazed when I asked for a 292mm and a 290mm spoke, and pulled them promply from a shelf. He also let me borrow his tools to remove the cassette and fit the spokes. The total cost when I asked at the end was a whole 80p.

Wheel fixed we headed off into Fort William itself, and our final destination on the tour :)

Fort William felt like a big city after the tiny hamlets and villages we had visited over the last fortnight. We wondered up and down the main street before stopping for a coffee, then worked out how get to the station and headed back to the site to pitch our tents. In the evening we returned for dinner, each having nice big steaks in a restaurant where the steak was good, the starters not quite as good, and the waitresses a bit heavy handed with the plates and bottles etc. Then full and happy retired to our tents :)





*On a previous tour I had spent a lot of time reading a board about this while waiting for the Camnusnagal ferry across to Fort William, as the ferry didn't turn up ::-)

Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2015, 10:52:45 pm »
Excellent - thanks, guys.

Any chance of a map showing your overall route?

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2015, 10:58:29 pm »
There's one on mcshroom's Facebook page.

There was a big group of riders just after that last photo,  I think they were novices out on a guided ride.  The ride leader said as we went past "anyone who's worried they're carrying too much stuff... "
 ;D
Milk please, no sugar.

mcshroom

  • Mushroom
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2015, 11:23:18 pm »
Excellent - thanks, guys.

Any chance of a map showing your overall route?

Overall route: -

(Click for bigger)

Distance covered - 604.6 km / 375.7 miles
Climbing - 6344 m / 20814 ft
Climbs like a sprinter, sprints like a climber!

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #55 on: October 22, 2015, 12:32:37 am »
Superb - I did a bit of ferreting and came across this:-

"The small cairns are to commemorate the death of Willie MacRae 5-4-1985, a politician from Dornie who was reputed to have been murdered, although the official view was that he had committed suicide, very much disputed. His proper memorial is actually about half a mile further on from this site."

Further, I feel connected: the steam engine is a Geordie one in spite of being Midland in allocation.  I'm not a Geordie, except to people who are not from the North-East.  It was built by Armstrong Whitworth on Tyneside.  Current connection is that's The Lancashire Fusilier!

Once again, thank you!

Peter

Torslanda

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Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2015, 09:16:42 am »
I looked that up on Wikipedia, what a story!

VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2015, 09:52:55 am »
I looked that up on Wikipedia, what a story!

It really is!

We couldn't find any information at all when we were there.  Top ferreting Peter.

Milk please, no sugar.

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #58 on: October 23, 2015, 10:48:35 am »
I enjoyed reading your story very much.  It looks like a lovely part of the world.
Thank you (and I hope you are completely recovered).   :thumbsup:
@SandyV1 on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/SandyV1

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #59 on: October 24, 2015, 10:36:44 pm »
I enjoyed reading your story very much.  It looks like a lovely part of the world.
Thank you (and I hope you are completely recovered).   :thumbsup:

Thanks Sandy, from half of the terrible duo.
Milk please, no sugar.

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
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Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #60 on: October 24, 2015, 11:01:17 pm »
You weren't tempted to get back to the mainland by the Glenelg ferry then?  That's an amazing road.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #61 on: October 24, 2015, 11:05:06 pm »
You weren't tempted to get back to the mainland by the Glenelg ferry then?  That's an amazing road.

The wind was so strong that day we figured the ferry probably wouldn't run.  We were running to train deadlines by then and couldn't risk being delayed.

Another time - definitely.

Milk please, no sugar.

Graeme

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Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #62 on: November 17, 2015, 01:45:38 pm »
Finally managed to finish this report - you two are totes amazeballs. Chapeau.
37. Because travel is the finest educational system of all; and cycling the cheapest, easiest, and most educational means of travel - Kuklos' 39 Articles

SoreTween

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Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #63 on: December 05, 2015, 08:02:22 pm »
Top riding and reporting both.  Another corner of the country on my must cycle tour list.
2019 targets: TINAT 160 rough
There is only one infinite resource in this universe; human stupidity.

eck

  • Gonna ride my bike until I get home...
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Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #64 on: December 05, 2015, 09:05:14 pm »
Both Ruthie and mcsshroom already know this, but their report has inspired a friend and me to have a go at a (much less ambitious) tour next year. After years of doing the same old same old, including lots of audaxes, I now seem to have a much more relaxed attitude to my cycling, thanks to doing lots of easy rides this year with her, she is more interested in enjoying the journey than trying to complete it in the shortest possible time!
Funny, that hadn't occurred to me before, and, you know what? I really really like it.  So, yes, we are contemplating a short tour next spring.
Neither of us has done any cycle camping before, but she assures me it will be fun. Not "like fun, only different", but actual fun.  :thumbsup:

So, thanks Ruthie and mcshroom for the inspiration.  :)

It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #65 on: December 05, 2015, 10:17:31 pm »
she is more interested in enjoying the journey than trying to complete it in the shortest possible time!
Funny, that hadn't occurred to me before, and, you know what? I really really like it. 

Finally.  You're doing it right  ;)   :D
Milk please, no sugar.

eck

  • Gonna ride my bike until I get home...
    • Angus Bike Chain CC
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #66 on: December 05, 2015, 10:29:50 pm »
she is more interested in enjoying the journey than trying to complete it in the shortest possible time!
Funny, that hadn't occurred to me before, and, you know what? I really really like it. 

Finally.  You're doing it right  ;)   :D
;D  Not to the total exclusion of "chewing the stem", but it's such a refreshing change! We often just go out and MIUAWGA, no pre-planned route, just enjoy the ride.   :thumbsup:
It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Bairn Again

Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #67 on: December 05, 2015, 10:42:31 pm »
I now seem to have a much more relaxed attitude to my cycling

I very much look forward to seeing this in evidence on the Forfar - Auchenblae section the next time I'm riding from Embra up to Aberdeen. :thumbsup:   

hondated

  • Love everything with two wheels
Re: Sea, Scenery and Supermoon! Ruthie and Mcshroom's Scottish Saunter
« Reply #68 on: December 28, 2017, 09:35:18 pm »
Day 13 - Glenshiel to Faichemard (53km)
After a few short days this one was going to be a little longer, and also leaving the Sea Lochs and aiming for the Great Glen we had some climbing to do. I woke up quite early, but was then stopped from returning to my tent by this young lady


Every time I walked towards the tent she growled at me and wouldn't let me pass. Eventually she woke Ruthie, who is far better with dogs than me and we switched quickly from fending me off to playing fetch with stones, often distracted by the smells of the site as she went retrieving the stones. Unfortunately I got a bit careless, and threw a stone the far side of my tent. On her return, she chased the stone under the rear end of my tent, and landed on the tent, snapping my tent pole :(
Just to let you know then even two years later here is someone who enjoyed reading about your travels. Very inspirational Thank you

My new friend followed me out of the site (apparently she lived in the house next door to the campsite), but I was getting rubbing noises from the bike, something was wrong. On inspection it became apparent I'd lost another spoke, almost directly opposite the one that was replaced on Lewis. This time, however, it was a drive side spoke, and I had no chance of replacing it. After butchering the wheel to get it to run true enough to work, we started past the Five Sisters up the hill, a hill that seemed to keep climbing even when it looked like it was going downwards ???



We passed Shiel Bridge, another Jacobean battle site, then upwards, upwards we slowly made our way out of the head of the valley, and up onto the highland plain above and into the low cloud that was gathering. A little after the top was the Cluanie Inn, a mixture of hotel, expensive petrol station, walkers pub and restaurant. In the lobby they also had a big bird ;D


The route then carries on along the side of Loch Cluanie, past the Dam at it's eastern end and down to a junction, where we left the Inverness traffic and started up our highest hill of the whole tour, rising up over 350m on the climb into Glen Garry.




At the high point we found something very weird. There were dozens of little cairns all over the hillside, with no apparent reason for why they were there. An unusual and slightly eerie place in the mist.


From there we had finished our climbing (we thought) and sailed off down into Glen Garry (Garry seems a strange name for a Loch and Glen), pausing to stop at a missing statue, the plinth showing only four rusty bolt holes where the metal sculptue would once had been. I had a short go at being it's replacement


Then on to the site. Now heading for a Camp Site that advertises itself as 'Adults Only', and called 'Faichemard Farm', we were wondering a bit what we had let ourselves in for! As it was, the first thing to worry about was a long steep climb off of the A87 to the site, and up to the Reception right at the far end and highest point of the campsite!

The site was nicely laid out. Reasonably large, with quiet grass/hard standing pitches, each with their own picnic tables and all in all pretty nice. We returned to our now alloted pitch (back at the bottom of the hill) and pitched for the night. I had to do a bit of emergency surgery on my tent, but found a way of keeping it together ;D