Today has been a day of transition – of weather, scenery and ride fitness. Got up early, packed and had breakfast, ready for the ‘off’. With a longish day in prospect, including a ferry crossing, we were on the road by 08.30. For the first seven miles we didn’t really turn a pedal, descending from Crianlarich to the shores of Loch Lomond, followed by a stretch along the loch side to Tarbert for coffee. Took the old military road to Arrochar on the shores of Loch Long, at the base of the Cobbler, one of the ‘Arrochar Alps’ peaks. A steep descent into Garelochhead, saw us reach a top speed of 56kph and on past the nuclear submarine base – all very exciting! By this time the prospect of catching the earlier ferry appeared a real possibility, so it was flat-out down the Rosneath penisular. Seeing a ferry boat moored up in the distance ahead of us we thought we were approaching journeys end – no such luck! The road took a sharp turn inland and up an equally sharp incline – the second nasty surprise of the morning! Struggling to the summit, we regained our composition and cruised into Kilcreggan an hour ahead of schedule. Clearly the aches and pains that have been a feature of the previous few days are beginning to subside . A short ferry ride across the Clyde took us from a world of Highland hills, lochs and woods to a urban landscape in post-industrial decline. A welcome lunch stop at a garden centre cafe (I never thought I’d hear myself say it..!) and the unconscious bond between us said, ‘let’s finish this’! So it was another 20 miles, at time-trialling speed, to reach Ardrossan by mid afternoon. A cup of tea in Asda (these boys really do know how to live!) before locating the only reasonable hotel along the Ardrossan sea-front, courtesy of Jane, back at ‘Mission Control’. The Lauriston has seen better days but the bike shed is to die for – see photo below. A pint of Deuchars IPA and the sun setting behind the peaks of Arran rounded off a day of change and transition – of looking back to the Highlands, forward to the conclusion of our Scottish sojourn and a new country on Sunday.
Bry ‘spinning’ along the shores of Loch Lomond
The pedestrian ferry at Kilcreggan, with the Clyde in the background
The ‘terminal’ on the Kilcreggan side
The ‘bike shed’ at the Lauriston – aka the Arran Ballroom!
An amazing window on the stairs – Arts & Crafts? (comments from experts welcome!)
A well deserved pint of Deuchars at the end of the day.
The stats from todays ride, in two sections:
Another quiet day on the birding front, the high-lights being three Gannets going up the Clyde having taken a wrong turning, several Manx Shearwaters off shore at Androssan and a Ringed Plover on the beach. Total for the trip so far, 89.