Ardnamurchan, then sleeper home

Two sunny days in a row. We were up early to catch the 09:00 ferry across the loch to Camusnagaul and cycle to Strontian on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. One day I’d like to get to Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly spot on the British mainland, but we’d run out of time on this holiday. I’d been this way before, in the sixties with my parents soon after they bought their first car. This was along the old road, very narrow and bendy with humpback bridges, probably slower than our cycle ride today along the new road. We’d run out of time on that occasion too so didn’t penetrate into the heart of what was then very remote country. Strontian was a dour working highland village but now welcomes tourists with its own information centre.

Despite this, the road was fairly quiet and level as we cycled along the shore of Loch Linnhe before the long pull up to a pass as we turned away from the loch to make for Strontian at the head of Loch Sunart. After a picnic lunch on the village green we returned to catch the ferry back. We could have got the Corran ferry which is free to cyclists and pedestrians but that would have entailed a ride along a very busy road into Fort William so we continued on to Camusnagaul. On the way back I was run off the road for a second time by a lorry driver taking up the entire width of the road and who declined to pause at the passing place. I’d have liked to have exchanged views but they never leave the safety of their cabs. There are some very unpleasant people out on the highways.

Again we were the only passengers on the ferry. At the other side we collected our luggage from Calluna and called into the Grog and Gruel pub on the main street where the staff let us leave our bikes in an outhouse while we dined and I tried a couple of their cask ales. On then to the station to load our bikes aboard the sleeper and to spend a couple of hours admiring the stunning scenery before darkness fell and we retired to our bunks. The sleeper is great fun but the ride is too jerky to enjoy a normal night’s sleep, particularly if you have to change at Crewe rather than proceed to London. We hit the platform at 05:25, breakfasted and boarded the 06:26 service to Bangor, where I alighted and cycled the short distance to the office.

End of holiday!