The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

 Seems the long-distance weather forecast was spot on, so I will be leaving for Wester Ross today for a week cycling and sightseeing, therefore I will be off the radar for a few days. I still wish to cycle to Cape Wrath (which is Danish for a turning point, I have been told), but this will be dependent on whether I can get a ferry over the Kyle of Durness, fingers crossed. Still, there is much more to see, up that way, Smoo Caves for one, the first abseil I ever made was here at Smoo Caves, some of the caves have collapsed in on themselves, so you can drop into them from the top, great fun. Then Ben Hope, the most northerly Munro in Scotland, I have walked from Ben Hope to the most southerly Munro, Ben Lomond, lost a good few ponds on that trip, I was so hungry all the way, since I was burning up calories quicker than they could be replaced.

Torridon, Loch Maree and the great Beinn Eighe. Dropping down to the Applecross peninsular, I just have to ride the Bealach Na Ba.

I spend almost eight years up here at Kishorn, in the 1970s we were constructing the Ninian Central Platform, the biggest, movable, floating concrete structure in the world at that time. The conditions at first were harsh, but once the camp was up and ready for us it was the best job in the world. I was working 16-hour permanent night shift on a two-week rotation (some time we worked past that dependent on the pour) but the pay packet made it all worthwhile. I was now able to full-fill a lifetime ambition to buy a brand new BMW R80RT and on my downtime take off for Europe and travel extensively, living it up in B&B no roughing it in those days.

Eilean Donan Castle, Glen Shiel and the Five Sisters of Kintail, it was over a Christmas holidays that myself and two others took on the sisters, we ascended at the hill of the Spanish Mercenaries to reach the ridge and walked west, bad choice it was blowing a gale up there and into our faces. The rain was horizontal at times, I found an old plastic fertilizer sack, cut three holes in it and pulled it over my head and stuck my arms through the other two holes, helping to keep out that lazy wind, you know the one, so lazy that did not bother to go around you.

So many memories I wish to re-kindle over this autumn break, sadly my camera is little use at big landscapes, then no camera will recreate the beauty of the highlands. So that’s it, see you all when I return with stories aplenty to tell. Keep well and keep the peddle turning.     

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