round Britain by bike

Leg 17 | Mallaig to Oban | August 2013

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Two trips in one year! – we must be finally getting closer to home. Well, slightly.

After the hail-infested extravaganza that was the Skye leg, we found ourselves in the slightly irksome position of having travelled, on balance, only a few miles further south this year. So, while my good lady wife kindly allowed me to book a second trip to Scotland (a much appreciated gesture considering that there are two small children to be looked after in my absence), it was agreed by all from the outset that this leg was to be shorter, more intensive, and definitely more frugal than the last. We would have just six days to complete a similar distance to the last leg (which took 12 days), and it would need to be done whatever the weather.

So although in many ways it was back to basics, this leg also began with something new for us – meeting up in London in the evening, and catching the overnight sleeper train to Glasgow! This was intended as a time-saving exercise, but it was also a great experience – the cabins appeared surprisingly small at first glance, but in fact they were perfectly adequate in size; the bunk beds were very comfortable, and the lounge car – essentially a pub on the train! – was particularly well received. In fact the only real gripe I had was that we woke around 7am the following morning to find ourselves stationary just outside Carlisle, when we should have been pulling into Glasgow – a delay which resulted in us missing our connecting train to Mallaig. Fortunately we were able to get our bikes booked onto a later train (no mean feat, but the Hospitality Manager at Glasgow Central managed to pull a few strings for us), and the weather improved on cue as we cut our way through the highlands on this most scenic of rail lines. So can't complain, really.

Go to Day 1 (Mallaig to Arisaig)