As promised, here are some metrics for those analytical types. Total distance travelled is 1,205.30 KM. Cycled 681.7 KM, Ferry 163.6 KM and Ground travel with bus and train is 360KM. Elevation gain and loss? No idea. I guess some up and some down.
My tour officially ends today in Inverness. It has been a wonderful experience. I will blog a recap and review of the ride after this. So do look out for it.
Today, there will no riding but lots of exploring Inverness and the surrounding. I am also doing some research on Social Enterprise and Community based program in Scotland. David who is a Social Enterprise Academy colleague here in Inverness graciously hosted me today to show me around Inverness.
We started with a hearty Highland breakfast of Oat porridge at cafe that is a Social Enterprise. They provide on the job training for youths that are having difficulties in the school system. The profits of the operations goes back into funding its operation and another part goes back to their parent company which is a charity and the profits would be used for charitable causes. That’s what we call a meaningful enterprise.
We really had a full on day, I followed David to pick up his cats from a pet hotel and then went for a walk in a national park Later we pick up the cats again to sent them for a quick check up and subsequently went to visit a Woodland that is community managed and then to have a nice lunch at a cafe near by. David had a meeting with the Highlands and Island Enterprise which is an agency under the Scottish government tasked to promote community programs in rural Scotland. I was able to tag along to the meeting and it was a great experience for me.
I am told that in Scotland the rural areas have the most Social Enterprise per capita compared to urban areas. How interesting.
Statistic shows in rural Scotland there are perhaps less than 1000 people per Social Enterprise vs more than 3000 people for urban areas. Wow.
The bonus of the day was after a chit chat about my touring bike which I bought in Edinburgh, David decide to buy it off me for £120. I am grateful to David for this. So thank you David and thank you for a great day.
Tomorrow I will return to Edinburgh by bus. Will spend sometime to explore Edinburgh some more before returning to Basel on 5th October.
What a great night of camping. Windless and calm. A few drops on my tent not from the rain but rather the moisture from the tree above. The morning started somewhat gloomy but things cleared up pretty fast. I decamp and started on my way to Inverness.
Wow my last riding day today. Already ? Since I have time. I wanted to explore the Great Glen Way but again on checking it out it was not suitable for my load so I decided to keep on the A82 along the Loch Ness.
Overall the ride was pleasant and the weather was good. If did rain a bit but did not last too soon.
Decide to stop at a small village called Drumnadrochit for a hearty breakfast.
Continued along the Loch Ness and had the opportunity to just get down to the lake and touch the famous lake water.
I arrived in The Youth Hostel at Inverness in good time and had to wait awhile before I could check in.
Tomorrow I will be meeting David Bryan who is a tutor for SEA and we will spend sometime out to check out the Social Enterprises in Inverness.
Another crappy start, rain and pounding winds till 930am. It quieten down after that and I quickly took the opportunity to decamp and pushed off. It was light rain so it was not too bad. But after awhile it got heavier but not as heavy as previous days.
I passed by the famous Five Sisters mountain range meandering along the valley. I could make out vaguely how stunning the views were even with the light rain and fog covering most of it. On a clear day it must be spectacular.
It was quite a grind in the beginning but the last 30km was a pleasant blast mostly downhill.
I was hoping to buy some provision at the only store in Invermoriston but it was closed. Luckily I have enough to get me by tonight. I was looking at wild camping tonight and wanted to get into the Great Glen Way route but the climb is way too steep for my loaded bike, so I decided to take the main A82 road instead. The A82 is very scenic as it hugs the famous Loch Ness. Spotted a side road and found a nice spot to camp next to a stream and a waterfall. Nice.
Tomorrow I will try to join the Great Glen Way if I can to get to Inverness.
It will be my last day of riding as I intend to spend a couple of days meeting up with SEA colleague and visit some Social enterprises in Inverness. I also want to try to sell my bike in Inverness. I will leave for Edinburgh on 2nd October and then fly back to Basel on the 4th.
Forecast cloudy but a great sunny day instead. Pleasantly surprised. I am not complaining. Took the 940am ferry crossing to Skye. The 35 minute sail was smooth and spotted a few dolphins along the way. The sky begins to break into sunshine as the ferry approach the southern port in Skye. Energised by the great weather I zoomed off northwards along the coast towards the Kyle bridge where it connects Skye to the mainland. After that I cruised all the way to the campsite, stopping by a incredibly scenic castle called Eilean Donan Castle. Lots of tourist there. I left after taking a few photos.
After setting up my tent, I went for a short walk around the scenic area. I checked the forecast and it showed it will rain the whole day. Oh well. Let’s worry about that tomorrow.
It has been wet the past few days and my clothes are all damp and not really smelling great. The day was suppose to be rainy till 10am. I have a choice of making a dash of 13km to Malliag to catch a ferry to Syke and ride as far as I can and camp again or stay the night at Malliag in a nice BnB or Hostel.
In the morning, the wind was still brutal and it was bashing my tent violently. This lasted till 9am. Somewhere between 8am and 9am I decided to stay for the day T Malliag.
Started to decamp after the wind and rain died down. As I start my ride to Malliag, the weather cleared up and the sun begin to creep out from the cloudy sky. Some patches of blue give hopes that it will be a great day to be outside.
On reaching Malliag, I started to look around for a place to stay and saw a really quaint and centrally located bistro that offered accommodation. I asked about the price and it was reasonable so I went for it. The stay was hostel style but they have only 2 rooms and only for 10 pax. It’s not cheap at £21 but I get to share the room with one other person only and they have a huge well equipped kitchen, a very comfortable living room and big bathroom.
First thing was to dry my clothes. Just a place to hang near the heating was sufficient to dry all of them. Happy days ahead.
After that did a big of shopping for dinner and walk around town. The sun was already up and skies are blue so I decided to take a hike around the hills nearby. It was a short but spectacular hike.
I really enjoyed the day at Malliag and winded down the day with a few dram of my Jura single malt and finally crashed into a dry, comfy and cozy bed. Goodnight.
Basically rain the whole day. Waited for the rain to subside before decamping. I have heard that the landscape is dramatic along the coast to Arisaig. However the view is kinda dampened by the heavy fog and rain. Still with rain and heavy fog it offers a different kinda of dramatic landscape. Sometimes eerie sometimes mysterious but stunning no matter. Don’t be fooled by the photos. They are captured when Mother Nature takes a breather from her piss.
Not a nice day for riding I admit but must push on. Part of the experience. I was properly soaked wet arriving the campsite. I quickly set up my tent and had a quick dinner. Strong winds are expected tonight. Winds battered the tent basically the whole night. Oh well. Scotland.
All good things must come an end as they say. But for me all good things will be great memories waiting for it to continue the next time.
Roy offered to send me to the Oban ferry terminal on his camper van and I gladly accepted.
After saying goodbye to Liz, we headed off.
Rain is forecasted the whole day. Oh well just another day in Scotland.
The Ferry to Mull was uneventful and soon I was on the road again biking the east coast of Mull.
It started to rain and stayed pretty much grey. Despite this there were some great sceneries and vistas along the way.
It really started to poured and I was properly soaked. The wind also picked up and it was too dangerous to hide. So I took refuge in a cafe for awhile and warmed up with tea and scones before heading out again.
On reaching the ferry crossing back to the mainland and towards Kilchoan, the weather was turning nasty. I am told to better catch the earliest possible ferry as the later part of the day the weather will be worst and cancellations are possible.
So I hoped on the first ferry from Tobermory. Thankfully it was a short ferry ride. The sea was getting rough.
The campsite was scenic but I suspect too open for strong winds. So I found the most hidden spot to pitch my tent and hunkered down for the night.
Roy used to own a printing business and sold it and now is focusing on doing things that he wants and things that is meaningful and joyful. He keeps himself busy with volunteering for community projects in Oban and a tutor for the Social Enterprise Academy.
After a simple but wonderful breakfast, Roy and myself headed to town for our day out. First up is see the iconic McCraig Tower. Very unusual as you would thought that it was a structure built by the romans. But the Romans were never at Oban. McCaig was an admirer of Roman and Greekarchitecture, and had planned for an elaborate structure, based on the Colosseum in Rome. His plans allowed for a museum and art gallery with a central tower to be incorporated. Inside the central tower he planned to commission statues of himself, his siblings and their parents. His death brought an end to construction with only the outer walls completed.
After that Roy left to explore Oban town while he went to his office to catch up on some work. For a small town, there was incredibly at least 5 outdoor sports shops. I went to all them off course. Many shops have sale on and some great bargains. Before long I was to meet Roy for a simple lunch at the Atlantis Sports Center. This is one of the community project that Roy was involved. Basically the community took over the ailing swimming pool operations from the town council and developed it into a full blown community sports center from fund raising and some grants. What an inspiring project. It shows that when a community comes together magic happens.
After showing me around Atlantis , we headed to the Phoenix Cinema, another community project. The community took over this only cinema in town that was about to close down. The cinema now is thriving and the community now have a cinema to continue to go to.
Roy has an ambitious and interesting project called Healthy Town. He is going to pitch this project to the Board of Directors of Atlantis Sports center as they are a major stakeholder in this project. Roy invited me to attend with him this board meeting! Wow ! It was a great experience for me. Thanks Roy.
After the meeting we headed back to Roy’s place to pick up Liz to go for a fantastic seafood dinner. The dinner place was unusually busy so we manage to get a later slot at 815pm. With some time to spare, we watched the World Championship of Stone Skipping. Yes it is thing and it was on yesterday around Oban in a place called Easedale.
Dinner was fantastic and so was the company. With stomachs filled we went home and had an early night. Tomorrow, I plan toreach Kilchoan via Mull
As usual it rained in the morning. However it cleared up after awhile and looked like it’s going to be a great day of riding. That does not mean it will not rain. And it did. The rain and sun tango the whole day long each trying to show who’s boss. Me, crazing putting on and off the rain jacket.
The route started with a nice dedicated cycling lane via the canal and then back to country roads with fast cars and lorries.
I must have passed by at least 5 or 6 bodies of water. I am not sure if they are sea lochs or fresh water lochs. They all look the same to me. Spectacular and beautiful no matter.
Finally I arrived at Kilmore but google maps does not show Roy’s location so I had to call him to get directions.
Kilmore is a beautiful and scenic enclave housing estate next to a hill. Roys house was top of the hill. Was lost but decided to ask a couple of ladies if they knew Roy. They did and gave me directions to his house.
Roy and Liz welcomed me warmly, fed me and gave me nice comfy room to stay. Had a good chat with them and decided with Roy that I should stay on tomorrow so that he can show me around Oban and also the community projects there. Wow what a fantastic opportunity. I thank you Roy and Liz for that.