Jogle - Day 2
An amendment to yesterday’s blog, puncture count should read 1 as Laurie found to his cost first thing this morning. Inner tube was replaced in short order as the car was being packed and we left the charming Smoo Cave Hotel at 8.40. The original plan had been to take a diversion up to Cape Wrath but on reaching the harbour it was low tide, consequently no ferries were available and the idea was ditched (it is fair to say that few tears were shed at this point.)
Prior to all this we had had a very good meal last night including a massive serving of haggis, neeps and tatties. Wines were modest but perfectly acceptable – CyT Chardonnay and Berberana Tempranillo together with some excellent Northern Lights and Dark Isle beers (sorry, didn’t get the brewery).Breakfast was just the job and included the local delicacy, radioactive porridge – God help Goldilocks if she’d stumbled upon Smoo Cave. We were also weighed before breakfast to find that, without exception, we had all put on at least a kilo. I know that we had eaten and drunk well but we had also cycled 92 pretty tough miles so if anyone can shed any light on this it would be interesting – firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been so lucky with the weather so far and set off in bright sunshine with only a modest headwind. Aside from the challenge of cycling end to end, one of the great joys of doing this ride is to take in so much of the British countryside in a manner in which you can appreciate it to the full. In today’s conditions we were completely spoiled by spectacular scenery at its very best. From the earliest planning meeting, Backie had nigh on insisted that we ride down the west coast and I am so glad that he did as we almost overdosed on the beauty of the countryside.
Unfortunately, the trade-off of spectacular scenery, particularly in this neck of the woods, tends to be an over-abundance of hills and, once again, they proved pretty unrelenting. These aren’t the short, sharp shocks of the West Country – we’ve got those to look forward to later, nor are they the long slow grinds of the Alps or Pyrenees where at least when you get to the top you know that that’s it. These are long grinds of up to a couple of miles and when you get to the top you know that the next one is only another mile or two away. It is seriously draining requires frequent breather stops.
It was during one of these that Backie pointed out the distinctive resemblance that Greavsie has to Manx Sprint legend Mark Cavendish – separated at birth or what?
Having spotted a curlew yesterday, today we were treated to the sight of a Golden Eagle soaring over the lochs and mountains and a herd of deer on one of the little cols. (Mind you there was a sign that said Deer Farm just down the road so perhaps this wasn’t so much of a surprise.)
As exhaustion was setting in, Backie proposed finding a café for a cuppa and a sandwich which always seemed a bit of a long shot but we were prepared to go along with it. Lo and behold, as we turned onto the road to Ullapool there was a sign advertising the Elphin café and tearooms – result!! Spurred on by this, the pace picked up as we headed for said café harbouring notions of tea, cakes, sandwiches and maybe even beans on toast. It is hard to describe the sense of devastation that hits you when you are greeted wit the sign “Elphin café – closed.” To have tea and cakes dangled in front of you to be cruelly snatched away at the last moment was almost too much to bear. Fortunately, Suzy was on hand with tomorrow’s ration of her quite wonderful ginger cake which was accompanied by slices of salami and the odd gherkin. Who needs tea anyway?
Arrived here eventually after a succession of climbs, each one promising to be the last before you noticed yet another one ahead. Tea and cake were served in the sunshine and all augurs well for this evening – tomorrow’s 112 miles seem a long way away at the moment.
Feet climbed 5020
Top Speed 45.2 (Greavsie)
Stage winner Greavsie (again)