Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 14 - Fort Augustus

thumbnail imagePhew what a scorcher. Boy have we been lucky with the weather? We’ve not had any appreciable rain since Devon. We had a little from Dumfries and bits of drizzle occasionally. The last few days have been unbelievable though. Today was very hot, no wind at all to notice and wall to wall sunshine. The tans are coming on nicely!

Mind you it made cycling pretty warm work at times, we were gulping through the Powerade at a rate of knots (the blue one is my fave BTW).

The first 25 miles to North Ballachulish were easy. The road was extremely quiet, smooth and pretty flat. We were setting a blistering pace. It offered great views across Loch Linhe too. We passed Castle Stalker which was used in the Monty Python film, The Holy Grail. We shared a few choice quotes and took some piccies.

We joined the A82 at North Ballachulish (can’t believe I’ve hust typed that twice using the tiny onscreen keyboard) which was busier but not unbearably so. A few nutter coach drivers that got a shake of the head occasionally. Motorbikes are pretty poor too, they never slow down and never leave much room, they seem to enjoy buzzing you at 80mph. Even ex-motorcyclist Andrew was scathing of their antics at one point.

We weren’t on it for long though and it’s nowhere near anything like the A40 or A420 back home which I wouldn’t cycle on.

By the time we got to Fort William we were averaging well over 13mph. We stopped at a bike shop to get Andrew’s back wheel looked at. He was worried about a ticking noise and a slight buckle from the spoke repairs. The young guy in the shop spent an hour rebuilding the wheel and straightening it and then only charged £15. Bargain. Hopefully he’ll have no more problems.

From Fort William we took the Caledonian Canal towpath to Gairlochy where there was supposed to be a café for lunch. There wasn’t. The path was well surfaced, better than the A-roads in Ayrshire and a good alternative to the A82 to Spean Bridge. We decided to risk the Clunes Forest track which was OK. A couple of stiff climbs made harder by the loose surface and pretty rough in places but doable. The heat made it harder but I wouldn’t fancy it in the wet. Better than the A82? Not sure, at least you have time to admire the views and can forget about other road users as there aren’t any! It would be a lot slower than the road though.

So no lunch and it was 4pm. Chocolate coated raisens can only keep you going for so long. I have a huge bag of them in my bar bag that I dip into now and then. We found a shop just after rejoining the A82 at Laggan and bought some bits n bobs to tide us over. We got dubbed mad Englishmen by a Scottish cyclist, who was also stoped there, for even contemplating doing a LEJOG laden with camping gear!

Another short hop on the canal towpath from Bridge of Oich and we were in Fort Augustus and the easily found and adequate campsite (fab shower).

A good day, fab scenery again, fab weather and we managed to almost totally avoid the A82. I forgot to mention that we stopped at the railway station in Fort William and booked ourselves and the bikes onto trains home from Wick on Thursday morning. So three days to finish up the last 180 miles. Aww, tis nearly the end… Sob… Sob…

Distance : 69.94 miles
Time cycling : 5h53m
Ascent : 1952 m
Average speed : 11.9 mph

Hi John,

Glad to read that you’re having such a fantastic time!  Wish I was cycling in sunshine.  We are off to Dorset next week with aim of cycling tho only day trips, we’ve rented a cottage.  Going with Corinna and family who also love cycling.  We will be 4 on bike - tandem with Iz on rack seat and Flo in trailer!  Another friend is keen to do cycle camping but not sure how we would carry all the clobber.

Em x

Maybe this will give you something to look forward too.  Burnout Paradise Big Surf Island DLC next week.  And.  Wait for it.  Rock Band Iron Maiden pack.

hey john and andrew hope you get to JOG before your trains. Great job, keep up the good work. cool grin

Keep it up guys, you’ve done all the hard bits, just a couple of stiff’ish hills left. Glad that you are getting some good weather. We finished on Friday just as the good weather set in, however, we had a real blast. Safe cycling

Pete

How many more spokes are you going to go through?? Surely this must be some sort of record for LEJOG! Michelle

Well done guys! In honour of your efforts I have removed my bike from the back of the shed, dusted it down and mended the punctures! All the best for the final push.

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