Sunday, 11 November 2012

Dunnoon to Killin - Friday 7th September

One more day. Odd how on the last day it is possible to rise to the challenge and do it just one more time. I was also looking forward to it. Another day in Scotland, another ferry and quite roads.

I was off fairly early and into light rain. It stayed with me all day, sometimes light, sometimes heavy but always there. It was the only day of rain. Front light and rear lights on and flashing to warn of my presence and wake up the odd motorist from their day dream.

Dunoon looking North

I headed north first up the same route as the SEWN up ride then right, climbing slowly. Not far to the ferry, but it comes slowly. I recall the route in my head, but the miles pass much slower on the road than they do in my head, and landmarks I see masquerade as those on the maps. I drop back to the sea and through a small village. There is a sign for the ferry, good not far, but it is another 6 miles on. Finally I drop down to the sea and see the ferry coming, I push on and beat it to the slipway.

The route the Sat Nav thinks I took.
The dotted line over sea is what I did.
I put the bike on the roof of the car and turn the GPS off so not to claim non cycled miles. We arrive at Tarbet and turn the GPS on. 5 Miles later up a surprisingly busy road I realise the GPS is not recording the distance. If you look on the map above it appears that I went north up the sea loch, but instead I did go to Tarbet, and I claim my 100miles plus for today.

I turn to ride along the road beside the Crinan Canel, a delight and meet the support in one of the car parks. It is a short ride across the promontory and I turn north again by the Atlantic. Flat and straight is the theme until I rejoin the main road for a short section then climb over to Loch Awe. I am expecting miles of views across the loch, but instead spend 23 miles of deciduous tree cover and very little loch views. It is still raining and road side waterfalls sound very much like cars in the rain, so every now and then I am surprised to find there is a car behind me. I can tell as waterfalls don't generally follow me up the road.

Canel on the left, sea on the right
Finally I break out of the trees and onto the main road. The traffic is light, and there is one 1000ft of hill left. The GPS is sulking and whilst is will tell me where I am, is protesting but not helping me with any elevation. The road surface is so variable, rarely smooth, usually rough with the stones standing proud of the worn tarmac, sometimes the stones are gone and I am running through small potholes. So tiring, can't swing round them in fear of being taken out from behind. My rear light guards me and cars pull over and give me room, but I am not going to take any liberties.

The last hill steepens, I climb slowly , alternating standing and sitting, not far now, a blind bend, a car behind, he slows and follows me. I ride on the white line, then on the edge of the tarmac. I am so slow and I want to let him go. The road opens up, he passes and I get a cheery double toot on the horn. He knew what I was trying to do and thanked me. I too was grateful.

Then the descent. I had tailwind, some wind and the desire to finish. I pushed on, as hard as I could. It was late, the traffic light and I bounced through the holes.

Finally I was there, surprising the support who were inside and not expecting me yet.

There I was, finished. Happy but finished.

756 miles in 7 consecutive days, each with over 100 miles a day and over 37,000 of climbing

Well done me.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic Photography Greg, looks like an awesome trip. Planning a touring trip to Scotland soon as well. Can't wait.