Air Na Morthirean
ILE - TAIRBEART - TIGNABRUAICH - GLEANNDARUEL Dist: 45miles
After the day off and an early ferry to catch, I wasn't enamoured by the young trees being thrashed about outside the window. If ever it had looked like rain it was now. I had a quiet breakfast and left my food for others before packing well and applying some Ralgex I'd been forced to by at the end of day two. For almost half the journey I kept small and ground round the pedals but by the time I reached Bridgend - a nice wee village at the mouth of the loch - the clouds had lightened and I changed direction to take the high road to Pt Ellen. It was a bit like the never ending road of dips but soon enough, after passing the occasional car with sleeping wean in rear, I was going downhill and heading for the ferry. I was made a roll in the spar by a man who seemed to resent the business but his staff kept me entertained by the young girl, whilst unpacking crates of cheap brandy, asking the time-served one - "so why is it they like this so much?" - "Compared to whisky?........... It's got more of a kick."
And with that I left this whisky mecca and rolled on to the ferry waiting for me just around the corner.
ILE - REST DAY
I woke up to a little bit of wind. The Guiness I thought.
It was also breezy outside - something that was becoming as typical a part of the day as the sun was, breaking though mid to late morning. for the first time on the trip I made my own eggs and bacon in the generous sized kitchen. Pans and crockery were laid out with military precision and after I'd turned out the fluorescent strips in the dining room I could relax and look out the windows to the hypnotic swaying of the trees and rolling waves. A friendly fellow from East Kilbride and a Swedish Chef shared breakfast with me and we discussed our respective days.
MUILL - OBAN - ILE DIST: 31miles
On Wednesday morning more sun was waiting in the morning but with a little more breeze as I headed the 15 or so miles to Craignure. The reason for not staying longer in Mull was to catch the weekly ferry which leaves Oban for Islay via Colonsay. The road is busier on the north west coast of Mull and fairly uneventful but the views across to Morvern and eventually right up to Ben Nevis were a sight for sore legs. I met a man called Willie MacGregor at Craignure who it turned out owned the pub I was having my coffee outside of. We got talking and it turned out he knew Mairi, who I sit beside at work. He shouted over her dad, Archie, and explained. We had a nice wee chat before he went back to checking tickets for the 13:30. Willie told me a little more about Craignurite and I headed off for the ferry.
TOBAR MHOIRE - CALGARY BAIGH- ARDNACROSS DIST: 42 miles
Second day cycling and another morning bathed in sun. I really couldn't believe my luck. There was a lot of whistling going on as I rolled out of the hostel to pick up breakfast from the deli on the front. I popped in to check ferry times and had a good blether with the harbour master who it turned out was a keen road racer. I should have known from the wirey figure and scorched nose. He told me some welcome tales of the fabled Bealach na Ba hill climb of which the guy from the garage won last year. He also filled me in on my days cycle ahead which was useful.
GEARASTAN - TOBAR MHOIRE DIST: 61miles
It's been a long winter. The sun deprivation was getting to me. Scotland's not the first place you might choose for guaranteed rays but if you get it, you get it good. May is always a good bet and it didn't disappoint. I started the Islands tour the day after Jeni and George's Ceilidh in West Kilbride to celebrate the new vets opening - a great time was had by all but it has to be said that young lassies cannae burl no more. The seventy year olds were throwing us 'round the hall!
Richard Scarry was a massive influence on me as a child and probably still is. His books (notably 'What Do People Do All Day?' Collins 1968) gave, for the first time, a real insight into what happened in the real world, quite literally but with a very sensitive touch. And damn, could the man draw. Sasek, Steadman and Herge were other huge influences on wanting to draw, create and explain 'stories'.
Posted by stupot at 02:48 PM Sunday 25 May
not ready for the off
Jesus - I didn't do anything for the first quarter of the year and now everything seems to be snowballing into a few weeks. I got some new panniers for my road trip which is rapidly approaching with what feels like very little preparation or thought. What with being busy with work and downed by lurgy at the weekend. I've an exhibition opening Thursday and then I'm back to the art school Friday. Ceilidh on Saturday and then it's off to the Islands. The panniers are lovely things - hand made Canadian numbers very generously gifted to me by my mother. I was almost certain I was going to buy the same Ortliebs I had before but the build and accessibility of these Arkels was too much to pass on. They've a lifetime guarantee and the Heath-Robinson device for mounting to your rack may look crude but holds the bags rock solid - no noisy jumping around behind you. So the bags are great - not sure how the legs are though.....
Posted by stupot at 02:17 AM Tuesday 13 May
May has produced it's typically fair weather (remember exam time at school?) and it's nice to sit out the front and draw. You can get the idea of how close my neighbours are to me by the drawing above. The wee shop on the other side has put up a satellite dish with no-one's permission. The colonies are listed so I wouldn't imagine it'll last long. Just got a BBQ in last night before the rain came tumbling down. And so starts summer......
Posted by stupot at 02:29 AM Saturday 10 May