Another Sunday afternoon. I’m sat in the comfort of the campsite Cafe in Applecross. Music playing softly, I’m feeling quite removed from reality having just spent a week having my senses constantly bombarded as only the west coast can.
I’ve travelled right on the coast all week. I’ve climbed frequent hills of 20/25 percent. Miles and miles of Climbing amongst amazing Coastal and mountain scenery.
The Assynt penninsular, turquoise seas and White sands. The stunning Inverpoly National Parks mighty mountains sitting apart from one another, a formidable barrier of vertiginous rock, seemingly guarding the place from harm.
Torridons red sandstone Walls like giant crumbling pyramidal steps. It’s all been there, and me slowly moving, absorbing it all like I never have before. It puts you in a special place, a rightful one, small and at the mercy of nature, mans true place in the universe.
Ullapool was hosting the Tall Ships, and I ran away, not wanting to join the party. Peace and quiet ruled this week along with solitude and self confidence.
Whilst in Ullapool I met Eva, a Czech cyclist who I had passed near Aberdeen with her boyfriend. His time had run out and she continued around the Scottish Coast alone.
It took no time at all to decide to ride together, and so off we went. Eva rode to the Czech Republic last year and is a strong cyclist. I was unsure to start, whether it would work, but as it transpired, we rode very similarly and got on really well. It made such a change to be with another person after so long alone. Evening chit chat and shared food were a real pleasure.
Having camped ‘wild’ last night, we started early to outwit the midges and found ourselves riding into Applecross campsite after 25 tough, hilly, wet and windy miles at 10.55am!! Even that was special, a Sea Eagle and herd of Red Deer made sure of that.
Over food Eva decided to continue as she wants to explore Skye and has limited time. I decided to stop. It’s one of the real joys of travelling, that people come together and part so comfortably. Eva is faster than me and I’m sure I will see her again in a week or so.
Talking about that, I had the inevitable meeting with Tiger Bitten again on Tuesday. Exiting a shop in Scourie, there was the Recumbent Trike and Trailer outside. I’d chosen a short day and Tiger a long one, putting us in the same place at the same time since we met at Lands End!!
We spent the afternoon and evening chatting and were joined by a lovely couple from Holland who were motor cycling around the West Coast.
Tomorrow I follow in Eva’s tracks and ride over the highest road pass in the UK, Beallach na Ba, pass of the cattle. From there, it’s the road to Skye, on to Mallaig, and down through Ardnamurchan before a short ferry hop to Mull, which I intend to spend a few days exploring and wild camping.
Torrential rain and driving winds today did nothing to dampen my spirit. It’s still stunning. I know I won’t want to leave Scotland, I’m just glad it’s got so much coast remaining to explore.
Finally, I’ve realised this week why legs feel so weak early in the morning. My ‘med’s have a sedative in them that relaxes my muscles, meaning they are grossly underpowered when I start early. Knowing that has helped a lot. Struggle up the first hill and get better and better all day. That’s got to be good.
See you all next week from ?????? 🙂