Monday 26 April 2010

Mull to Glenfinnan with Spyke

Photos from Day 1

I spent yesterday with Spyke (Stephen Pyke) on Day 1 of his Munro Record Attempt.

Spyke headed off up Ben More at 6am, returning 2 hours later. Then a quick cycle to Fishnish, where there was a slight delay getting the kayaks organised for the paddle across to Lochaline. I then joined Spyke for the 55 mile cycle ride up to Glenfinnan, where Spyke bagged Sgurr nan Corrieachean and Sgurr Thuilm.

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Sunday 11 April 2010

Arran Cowal bike ride

11th April 2010

Brodick to Lochranza | Claonaig to Tarbert | Portavadie to Hunter's Quay

After yesterday's 3-ferry route around Cowal and Bute, we decided to go one better and attempt a 4-ferry outing, starting in Ardrossan and finishing in Gourock.

So it was another cold early morning cycle down to Glasgow Central to meet Ellie, and this time we hopped on the train to Ardrossan Harbour, packed with Arran day-trippers. On the ferry I bumped into Dougal Ross who was taking his daughter Katie up Goatfell for the first time.

Once we arrived at Brodick we had to press on with the big hill north of Sannox to make the 12 noon Lochranza ferry with about 15 minutes to spare.

After the crossing back to the mainland, we had less than 45 minutes to make the 1315 ferry out of Tarbert, but despite making a reasonable effort we missed the ferry by about 3 minutes. This however meant we could have a leisurely lunch stop in Tarbert before taking the 1415 ferry across Loch Fyne to the strange purpose built marina at Portavadie.

The cycle from Portavadie to Hunter's Quay was the longest section of the day and took about 2 hours 15 minutes to cover the hilly 28 miles. We caught the 1700 ferry from Hunter's Quay to McInroy's Point then cycled along the Gourock seafront for a couple of miles to reach the railway station, and after a bit of a wait we caught a train back to Glasgow Central. The total cycling was pretty much exactly 100km, and we were lucky enough to have unbroken sunshine all day.

Saturday 10 April 2010

Bute bike ride

10th April 2010

Dunoon to Rothesay | Wemyss Bay to Paisley

I've just cycled 87 miles today around Cowal and Bute, taking in 2 train rides and 3 ferry crossings. First I cycled to Glasgow Central and met Ellie at 8am. We then took the 0825 train to Gourock, and caught the Calmac ferry to Dunoon and were cycling along the Firth of Clyde coastline towards Holy Loch at 9:45am. Our first section took us through Glen Lean past Loch Tarsan and Loch Striven to the Colintraive ferry to reach the Isle of Bute. We then pootled around most of Bute in the sunshine, and bumped into Bruce Smith and his partner just before arriving in Rothesay.

After eating 10 choc ices on the putting green, we caught the ferry to Wemyss Bay. Our orginal plan from here was to jump straight on the train back to Glasgow, but since the sun was still shining and it was relatively early we started cycling back instead. We headed north up the busy A78 for 4km to Inverkip, then took the quiet back road up over the Greenock Cut and past Loch Thom, then a rough track past Gryfe Reservoir to eventually link onto Cycle Route 75 near Kilmalcolm. Time was marching on, and Ellie needed to be back in Glasgow, so we belted along the cycle path for 40 minutes and jumped on a train from Paisley for the last bit back to Glasgow Central.

Monday 5 April 2010

Mull of Galloway bike ride

5th April 2010

Route on Garmin Connect

The day dawned cold and grey with pouring rain, so we made a slow start heading down to Portpatrick first to check out the start/end of the Southern Upland Way. We then drove to Sandhead at the edge of Luce Sands to get the bikes out and cycled to Port Logan to see where Two Thousand Acres of Sky was filmed back in 2001, to represent the fictional island of Ronansay. We then struggled against a ferocious headwind to arrive at the amazing and unexpected Gallie Craig coffee house perched on the clifftop beside the lighthouse at the southern most tip of Scotland. The return journey was a good bit easier with the wind on our backs. The route was only 30 miles, but extremely hard work battling against the elements.

Battling against the wind:

Whithorn bike ride

4th April 2010

Route on Garmin Connect

We set out for our first 100 mile day. The first section was though forest to Glenluce, before heading down the coast to Port William, where we had our first cafe stop after 36 miles. We then carried on down the coast to Isle of Whithorn and made the out and back detour to Burrow Head. Shortly after turning back northwards we cut into Whithorn for our second cafe stop of the day after about 57 miles. Heading back north we had great views of the snow-covered Merrick hills. At Wigtown we just kept going and at Kirkcowan after 88 miles Ellie had clearly had enough, so we dived onto the A75 for the short route back to Newton Stewart to make sure we got back before the shops shut. The route followed quiet roads in spring sunshine for most of the day, and we managed 153 km or 95 miles.

Dalbeattie bike ride

3rd April 2010

Route on Garmin Connect

Bright sunny weather for a bike ride along the Dumfries & Galloway coast. Ellie and I drove down in the morning and started from Dalbeattie. We cycled to Kirkcudbright on the River Dee for ice creams in the sun, before picking up National Cycle Route 7 to Gatehouse of Fleet with a brief detour to Airds Bay at Sandgreen. On the return leg we got hit by a freezing cold squally shower just before Dalbeattie, but otherwise it was dry all day. After packing up the bikes, we headed to Newton Stewart youth hostel for a couple of nights. The route was exactly 100 km.