I am half way through my trip round Scotland, so how is it going? Well, as far as the body is concerned, it is holding up well, perhaps better than expected, given that I didn’t do nearly the training that I did last year for my trips. I had been expecting the leg muscles to cramp up toward the end of the first few days, as they got used to the level of exertion being asked of them, but I was pleasantly surprised not to feel anything of the sort. Towards the end of some of the longer days I have started to become aware of the front of my left knee, but the following day it is fine again. My right Achilles tendon is slightly sore, but again, nothing severe, certainly nothing like the issue I had with my left one last year on the Irish trip. As for other parts, let’s just say that Assos chamois cream works very well! Continue reading

Day 7: Broadford to Uig

Almost unbelievably, I did not sleep well following yesterday’s mammoth ride. I was simply too warm, and spent most of the night with the duvet off me. It finally dawned on me that my towel, which I had hung down from the top bunk to give me some privacy, was acting like a mini oven. I pulled it down, and felt the fresh air from the open window. It was 7.00 am by now, however, and all too soon it was time to get up. Continue reading

Day 6: Broadford – Applecross – Broadford

Despite the absence of snorers, I didn’t get back to sleep after getting up in the night for a loo stop. It was hard, therefore, to rouse myself at 7.30 when the alarm went off. I was down for breakfast a little before the official start time of 8.00, and the warden had it all ready for me. I would have got away by 8.20, but kept forgetting things and having to go back up two flights of stairs to the dorm. Continue reading

Day 5: Glen Nevis to Broadford

Last night, the chap in the bunk above me closed the window before he went to bed. In my usual non-confrontational manner, I waited until he got up in the middle of the night and went and opened, it, to give the 7 of us in the room some fresh air. Continue reading

Day 4: Tobermory to Glen Nevis

The combination of a triumvirate of snorers in the room, of whom a large German photographer was the outright winner, and plywood bed bases that creaked any time any one moved on them, ensured that a peaceful night’s sleep was not had by all. To my retort of “Ah, les gonfleurs” (“Ah, the snorers”), the French chap in the room replied “All night long!”. We were together in our misery. Continue reading

Day 3: Oban to Tobermory

I had set my alarm for 8.00 am, but everyone else was up by 7.30, so I gave up pretending to be asleep and got up myself. Had I still been asleep, I would surely have been awakened by the fog horn of the ferry. I looked outside, to find that yesterday’s sea view had completely disappeared. Continue reading

Day 2: Lochranza to Oban

I left the Lochranza hotel this morning at 9.10, having had cereal and cooked breakfast. I was at the ferry terminal at 9.11, in good time for the 9.30 ferry over to Claonaig, which took half an hour. I put considerably more sun cream on today, as my arms and legs really got the sun yesterday, especially on my right side. I was up several times in the night to put hand cream on them, which was all I had at the time. Continue reading

Day 1 – Cairnryan to Lochranza

It seems to be part of the human condition that we crave the one thing that we don’t have, and take for granted all the other things that we do.  So it was, as I made my way up the Scottish coast after alighting the Belfast Cairnryan ferry at around 10 am that I was less thankful for the dry, nay sunny, weather and the lack of midges, and more annoyed that the prevailing wind had singularly failed to turn up, being replaced by one from the North. Continue reading

This is not the start you are looking for

If I were to imagine the perfect start to a fortnight’s cycle touring, I am reasonably confident that it would not proceed as things did today.

img_0905A warm and humid night ensured that sleep was in short supply, and the headache with which I began the night was still there at 4.30 am, when I finally succumbed and went downstairs to get some painkillers. Continue reading

Ready for the off

So, my trip starts in the morning, and my panniers are packed. Despite my best efforts, I am carrying just as much stuff as last year, if not more. Over 1 kg of it is food, in the form of gels and energy powder, so as last year, it will get lighter as the trip progresses. I guess that I will have to get someone else to do the packing if I want to get the weight down, which would have the added advantage of being able to blame A.N. Other when I find myself missing a crucial bit of kit. Continue reading