Total mileage: 57
Terrain: Tough cycling in the Scottish highlands
After a hearty breakfast, we started on what would turn out to be a day of mixed weather and glorious scenery. The initial part of the trip took us along the A835 to through Garbat and then along the west coast of Loch Glascarnoch. At this stage, the weather closed in and the rain began to fall… again! The temperature started to drop, making riding conditions uncomfortable to say the least.
The saving grace of the morning was the incredible scenery however. From lochs to forests, the road had very little traffic and was festooned with glorious landscape. As fortune would have it, the sun began to shine as we made it to the coastal loch of Broom. Although we had to climb for a few miles, we were blessed with gorgeous views of Ullapool and the coastline.
Lunch was a hearty helping of burger and chips for me, food of champions. Mary and Pete had some fish, wich would more than likely have been the healthier option. Just to make up for it, we all had ice cream for desert.
After scoffing this all down, we went shopping to stock up for the days ahead as there were unlkikely to be any major supermarkets until we arrived in Thurso, and that was a long way off still.
The sun continued to shine as we started the long and arduious climb north west out of Ullapool. However, the landscape just became more and more impressive. Turquoise sea lapped again white sandy beeches as we cycled through Ardmair and headed back inland. From this point on, the highlands rose majestically to progressively loftier peaks. The clouds grew denser the further we cycled away from the coast. The evening light would have been ideallic had it not been for the persistent attacks from the countless midges that were everywhere.
Heading north again on teh A837, we passed Loch Awe and onwards towards Loch Assynt. Just shy of the loch lay Inchnadamph and our hostel for the evening. The place was pretty amazing, with internet connection, large kitchen and dinning hall and a great laundry. We were all soaked from a downpour during the final miles of the day’s ride. However, with full panniers of supplies, we did not want for a good meal as Pete whipped us up a great meal.
I would definitely recommend anyone heading up to the north west coast of Scotland to stay at the Inchnadamph YHA if they are after a place to stay. The only requirement seemed to be that for men, they all sport half decent facial fuzz.