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.

I got a somewhat derisory response from a crew member when I suggested attaching my bike to something. ‘It’s as flat as a mill pond today’, came the reply. I used my bungee cord to hold the frame to the ship when he wasn’t looking, just in case.

I disembarked shortly after 10.00, and initially made slow progress as I climbed out of Claonaig. The port itself, or landing place, is not a huge metropolis. In fact the only shop of any description that I saw there was a mobile library.

For the first fifteen or so miles I had the road virtually to myself, a bit more traffic only appearing once I got to Ardrishaig. I was definitely in Gaeltacht country, with dual language signposts everywhere. I contemplated using my one Irish phrase on the locals, but didn’t get the opportunity, mercifully for them.

A few miles north of Lochgilpead I made a scheduled call with Ruth and Philip, two friends from work who had kindly arranged to water and feed me when they realised that my route would take me past them. I was well fed with home made soup and sandwiches, bread also home made.

Ruth had her Mac laptop with her, and I was able to reinstall the software on the Garmin. Unfortunately, upon restarting it I got the same message that it was Updating GPS Software. The only thing left to do is to contact Garmin themselves, and see if they can offer a solution.

I reluctantly bade them farewell some time after 2.00 pm, and headed on to Oban. The views alternated between woodland and loch views, as I rose and fell with the road. On one particularly sweaty climb out of Kilmelford I became the plaything of the local flies. I was glad to outrun them on the descent past Oude dam. On one of the following descents I got my first glimpse of the hills of Mull, but was having too much fun to stop and take a photo.

There was plenty of evidence today in the lochs of the farmed salmon industry, and the farmers were ‘making hay while the sun shines’, except that I think that in this case it was silage.

I arrived in Oban just before 5.00 pm, and found a bike shop that was open. They allowed me to leave my bike there while I ran down to Boots pharmacy (other pharmacies are available, but further away) to get some 50+ sun cream and after-sun cream. The shop wasn’t able to help with the Garmin in the end, but were very pleasant. They directed me to another shop in town that sold Garmin devices, but they were neither particularly helpful nor pleasant.

Once at the hostel, I showered and then did my laundry. They were offering evening meals, so I have just had roast pepper and tomato soup, followed by chicken and chorizo penne pasta, all for under a tenner.

If the sunny weather continues, I may have to wear some of my cold/wet weather gear, just to cover my arms and legs. Off now to re-apply some after-sun…

Day 2 Statistics
Miles ridden: 65
Percentage of legs and arms burned: a fair bit
Other cycle tourists seen: lots

Claonaig to Oban route