Day 9: Kershader to Ullapool

The armchair sadists amongst you will be delighted to hear that last night I was sharing a room with the loudest snorer of the trip so far. So adept was he at this skill that he could even snore loudly while sleeping on his side. On the odd occasion when his snoring would cease, the rest of us would then be treated to an extended bout of wind-passing from the same individual. Continue reading

Day 10: Ullapool to Durness

I had a good evening with Matt, Mike Erik and Rika (I’m really sorry, but I can’t remember the girl’s name, except that it was two short syllables and I had never heard it before!), with the conversation ranging from the necrotising effects of bacteria on snake fangs to human flesh, to endurance obstacle courses! We had a drink in the bar next to the hostel before getting fish and chips from the chippy. I had the largest piece of haddock I have ever seen, but with a cyclist’s appetite demolished it. Another beer finished off the evening. Continue reading

Day 11: Durness to Inverness

It was cooler than I thought last night, and I ended up putting the duvet over the duvet cover for warmth. I really don’t know why, but I still didn’t sleep well, despite being exhausted. I was in bed for ten hours, and was thankfully feeling fuller of energy than I had been yesterday. The sun was already shining in a cloudless sky as I went for breakfast at 7.40 am, and yesterday’s northerly wind seemed to have dropped. Continue reading

Day 12: Inverness to Braemar

It was one of the quietest night’s sleep I have had in a hostel this trip with no snorers in the room, although I could just hear that those in the room directly above were not so fortunate.

I was up shortly before 8.00, and got my stuff from the drying room. I got to the dining room just after an enormous group of Italian youngsters, and it took some time for me to get any food. I was able to make up a few ham and cheese sandwiches as usual. Continue reading

Day 13: Braemar to Perth

I have rarely had a day when I felt less like getting on a bike than today. Although it had been a quiet night, my cold seemed to be taking hold, and my head was blocked when I got up.

It was with no great enthusiasm that I set off just before 9.00, stopping in Braemar to get a banana and a malt loaf, having made cheese and salami sandwiches for myself at breakfast. Braemar is unlike all other mountain villages that I have cycled through, and it must have been built especially for the ruling classes to come and enjoy. Where else in mountain countryside would you get a bowling green, a mews for horses and several ornately built churches? Continue reading

Day 14: Perth to New Lanark

I enjoyed a peaceful night in my single room, although I could hear someone snoring in another room at some point during the night, so put my plugs in.

 

At about 6.30, they could probably hear me coughing, as I started bringing up stuff from my lungs. At 7.30 I gave Denise a ring, and chatted over the options. There was a friend who is a doctor who lives nearly on today’s route, and I had wondered about contacting her and getting a prescription for antibiotics. In the end I decided against it, but have made an appointment to see someone in my practice back home.

Continue reading

Day 15: New Lanark to Belfast

The bed base on which my roommate Ian slept last night was the noisiest I have ever come across. Made of wood, it needed some attention, for it creaked loudly at the slightest movement, and getting up caused a veritable cacophony of sound. I think that Ian was more perturbed by it than me – after a fortnight on the road in hostels, I just found it slightly amusing. Continue reading

Epilogue

So, I am back home, and beginning to pick up all the threads of normal life that were temporarily laid down.┬áIt’s maybe still too soon, but I wanted to try and reflect on the trip a bit.

The aims of the trip were two-fold: to get an overview of some of the Scottish islands, none of which, to all intents and purposes, I had visited before; and to set myself a challenge, to push myself and my stamina on the bike and see what I was capable of. Continue reading