Our final highland leg has arrived, and it entailed some considerable planning.
The tortuous nature of Scotland's west coast meant that we had already cycled almost 650 miles since we reached Cape Wrath three years ago. Now, as we crossed the Great Glen fault, the coastline fragmented further into a labyrinth of sea lochs, peninsulas, mountains and islands, making it all but impossible to clearly map any definitive coastal route.
As ever, Steve and I turned this to our advantage. We reasoned that the only sensible course of action would be to meet up in London one afternoon with a load of OS maps, and carefully assess the merits and practicalities of each possible route. Needless to say, this took quite some time, but by around 10pm and after a number of beers, we had agreed that:
Having thus planned our route in some detail, two surprises followed – firstly, that either of us could remember it the following morning; and secondly, that our good friend David (survivor of the Skye leg) decided at the last minute to join us for what was set to be a varied and scenic but decidedly gruelling leg.
We had a lot of ground to cover in the nine full days and two half-days we had available, and not much spare time on which to fall back if the weather turned bad. Spirits were generally good, however, as we met up in London to catch the Caledonian Sleeper up to Glasgow again – the weather forecast suggested that settled weather was likely once a band of rain had passed over us during the first couple of days, and we were joined for a preparatory pint at St Pancras by James, our other erstwhile Skye (not to mention Arbroath to Elgin) cycling buddy. A little later we boarded our overnight train, knowing that some hard cycling lay ahead, but seriously – what's the worst that could happen?
Go to Day 1 (Oban to Clachan Seil)