Scotland appreciates its relationship with the European Union
Scotland appreciates its relationship with the European Union

The grey start improved by mid morning to reveal blue sky, a perfect day, warm with a slight breeze. Breakfast in the Ariundle cafe made a nice change from the normal hostel routine, after which we were on the road at 09:15. We enjoyed a lovely ride along the north shore of Loch Sunart and called into the Jetty Shop at Salen for bread. It incorporated a good cafe so we lingered for coffee and cake.

I just exceeded the 30 mph limit descending into Acharacle, then along to Lochailort and the left turn to Mallaig. We dropped down to Arisaig for ice cream on a picnic bench, the day having turned very warm, and rode the lovely coastal route past white sand beaches.

Booking train tickets isn’t easy in northern Scotland. Scotrail don’t offer e-tickets and there are no ticket machines. This isn’t a problem for foot passengers but bike spaces are limited and advance booking is recommended. I’d checked on line and found a train for the first leg of our journey home but couldn’t book. Mallaig is one of the few highland stations with a booking office but with restricted hours, though in summer it’s open until 18:00. It opens at 10:00 in the morning which would be too late with a 10:15 ferry to catch. So I rushed on ahead to book our return tickets from Strathcarron but took a wrong turning. It took me along the shore of Loch Morar, a lovely run but a dead end, I was in too much of a hurry to check the map. After regaining the correct route I met Christine and Rowan at the booking office in Mallaig, arriving at 17:55, just in time except it was closed. It’s closed all day on Sunday. A driver was on the platform though, and he told us the booking office opens at 09:30 rather than the advertised time of 10:00, which makes sense as there’s a departure at 10:10, this would give us sufficient time before catching the ferry.

We checked into the hostel, only dorm rooms were available but they weren’t busy so we slept well.

The Isle of Rum