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Old 25-07-2017, 05:54 PM   #11
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Really enjoyed this walk , which I'd done in my head a few times.

The welcoming committee back at the VFR -




Drenched & hunger flat; just cruised 'home'. "No photo stops" I thought, yeah right, couldn't resist -



Ardlussa is a patch of vivid English green -




Next day dawned grey and wet, so ditched plans to climb The Paps . I'm not totally stupid - not usually anyway - in thick cloud it'd be too easy to walk off a bluff, or blunder the wrong way off the top and wind up in the wilderness of Jura's west coast.

So wandered around Craighouse instead -




It looked level -




The local cemetery is at Keils. It contains many illegible stones, but with faint celtic cross and swords, marking deaths from one of Scotland's last clan battles in the 1600s between the MacLeans and the Campbells -




At the back of the local church is a small 'self-help' museum containing a terrific collection of photographs, hundreds of them covering local life across the 20th and last bit of the 19th century -











Jura's biggest employer -







Packed up the VFR and rode back to the ferry, to cross over to Islay ready for the early morning big ferry back to the mainland -







The Q -







It spun around and we went across backwards -




Digs, right on the harbour -




This place, near the pub, is owned by George (or that's what I remember his name as after some whiskies), who's living his dream - he & his wife have just retired from Stirling and bought this place. He's renovating himself and has bought a small yacht which he'll moor out front.
He's a bike lover and used to race rally cars against Carlos Sainz & others. His small-budget team would buy Carlos's ex-cars for the following season. He raced the European circuit until he hit a parked car on what should have been a closed circuit in France, rolled at 100mph and broke his back. Top bloke, we drank whisky in the pub and listened to the band.




There was -




These dogs joined George's dog and us in the pub, for music like a local version of The Corries "There Are No Pubs In Kirkintilloch" and other songs I'd never heard of but the whisky liked -

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Old 25-07-2017, 08:46 PM   #12
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

The midges enjoyed my early start. Unlike mozzies, midges also get in your mouth, up your nose, in your ears. Little bastards .
Then off in clear calm conditions which didn't last long -




Got into Kennacraig at the same time as the rain. Donned full wets and headed north up the A83. It got a bit unpleasant today so not much sightseeing down little side roads.

Left onto the B844 down to the Bridge Over The Atlantic (which sounds a bit naff) and crossed over to Seil -

[





Seil's not very big, so a short time later arrived at its end, at Ellenabeich, looking suitably grim in the rain huddling under the grey cliffs -







In Ellenabeich's ferry shelter, if you can master the button sequence ......




.... you can summon what must be Scotland's smallest ferry , which takes you 200m over to the Isle of Easdale -




It'll buff out -




Seil would be beautiful in the sunshine. It's pretty good in the wet too -




Back onto the A roads and headed north up to Fort William. Busy with traffic and cursed with lots of motorhomes , it was a slow wet boring section. Turned left and thought I was hallucinating when I seemingly rode over the top of a couple of full-masted yachts. I'd stumbled across the Caledonian Canal -




This Welsh 70-footer is heading to Estonia for a series of Baltic races. The tow-guy says the canal saves days of sailing around the north coast and (in a melodious Welsh accent ) "it's a lot, lot prettier". It takes about 4 hours to pass through the 7 locks -





Then up the tricky little B8004 to Spean Bridge and the Commando Memorial. Respect -




Back to the A830 and went west to Glenfinnan. The Glenfinnan Monument, remembering all the supporters who died for Bonnie Prince Charlie, who then promptly buggered off to France -




More impressive (particularly in the mist ) is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Under 30yo's will know it as the Harry Potter Bridge -













Then off to Arisaig -




Wringing wet gloves, water trickling down my chest and visor & cameras chronically misted, I was a bit over it by now. Arrived at the Arisaig Hotel (where Brenda and I spent part of our first Scottish trip in 1990), turned my room's heating to full and hung everything out to dry. Including my mojo which was damp too -




More ....
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Old 26-07-2017, 10:48 AM   #13
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeler View Post
... and hung everything out to dry. Including my mojo which was damp too -
I bet....big day, too.
Quite a few miles, considering the ferries/ waiting times etc.
When playing with Gmaps, the amount of tiny single-laners (most paved to some degree at least) is quite a surprise.
How did you go with bookings for accom, what's a typical meal worth, are the local folks happy to talk with strangers?
Getting around on credit cards?...or mainly cash?

I've heard a few times that m'cyclists aren't the most welcome in many places, but I guess that much depends on the attitude one displays, too.
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Old 26-07-2017, 12:06 PM   #14
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Quote:
Originally Posted by glitch View Post
I bet....big day, too.
Quite a few miles, considering the ferries/ waiting times etc.
When playing with Gmaps, the amount of tiny single-laners (most paved to some degree at least) is quite a surprise.
How did you go with bookings for accom, what's a typical meal worth, are the local folks happy to talk with strangers?
Getting around on credit cards?...or mainly cash?

I've heard a few times that m'cyclists aren't the most welcome in many places, but I guess that much depends on the attitude one displays, too.
Yeah you’re spot on. I’d anticipated delays here and there with ferries and knew I’d be stopping a fair bit to poke around or take pics, so none of my days were long in terms of miles, but almost all of them took all day ! Single-track roads, even empty ones, are definitely slower than A roads, even though they’re all paved, some badly. Maybe I’m just cautious, but you need to balance your speed with your ability to slow/stop in the next passing place combined with how much forward vision you have of oncoming traffic. Locals have it down pat, everyone just co-ordinates their speed (which is not slow) so they don’t need to stop but just arrive at the next passing place at the same time. Tourists unwittingly screw it up by either stopping too early, or barging on regardless (read, some motorhomes).

Food costs were good. Everywhere I stayed (pubs, B+Bs) included breakfasts, cooked ones if you wanted. And I quickly fell into the habit of having them make me a brown-bag lunch. They all offered it, about 5 quid for a sandwich, cake, chocolate, fruit, drink, etc, so if I was walking it was obviously a good choice but also riding, it meant I could just stop anywhere. Dinners varied from cheap and cheerful, 10 quid or so, up to around 30 quid but that was for a magnificent multi-course meal and beer in Applecross.

I’d booked some accommodation well in advance and others only days/weeks earlier. I didn’t have any issues, but noticed that wherever I went, most places had no-vacancy signs up.

I used my credit card usually, some un-manned pump stations for example are card only, but there were a couple of joints that only took cash. Probably a similar ratio to Oz.

Bike friendly, I really enjoyed riding here. Some of it comes down to your own attitude but I found courteous drivers and a generally welcoming vibe. Bikes are very common in Britain so more people ‘get’ them I guess. The speed limits are sensible and the roads aren’t saturated with nanny-state double lines.

Friendliness ? Dangerous to generalise, but I reckon most Scots love a good chat. I met so many interesting people. A guy who sticks in my mind was an old shepherd on Skye. I was walking along a public right-of-way near Ullinish; he was in the next field and walked across to open a gate for me. He had a long crook (I kid you not) and a neurotic border collie who tried its best to round me up. We talked for ages about dogs (mine is neurotic too), weather, kids and the stupendous view he had from his nearby cottage, where he’d lived all his life farming sheep.
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Old 26-07-2017, 12:12 PM   #15
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Got to get better at Gmaps -

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