I’m sitting in the the closed up tent praying for the breeze to get a little bit stronger so that I can cook the tea. It’s the dreaded midge you see. Individually they are fairly easy to defend against but ten thousand to one just isn’t fair by any standards. They can only fly at about 4mph apparently though so a breeze of 5mph or more and they’ve had it. They end up travelling to pastures new whether they like it or not and eating individual campers is no longer an option for them. I want to be able to tend the stove whilst watching them get blown helplessly by. Meanwhile you get an update so it’s not all bad.
We left our lovely new friends Dick and Jackie somewhat reluctantly. Not just because they were such good hosts, it was pouring down and we kept delaying our departure. Eventually we settled for a light drizzle and as it happened it was fine within half an hour and turned into a lovely day. We stocked up on snacks at Kilmartin, a village set in one of the richest archeological valleys in Scotland. You couldn’t move for bronze age piles of stones and there was a Tony Robinson look alike behind every burial ground. The day was fairly unremarkable other than for the series of monster climbs followed by hair raising descents and with a generous portion of “wow, look at that” kind of scenery thrown in. What does stick in my mind was a stretch of road high up alongside a beautiful loch. There was very little choice of route so we were on a main A road but that means nothing up here in the Highlands. As I rode along I became aware of cars approaching from behind. The engine noise would build and then suddenly there was a roar as they flashed by and a buffetting from the air. This then would change to a gradually diminishing hiss which finally disappeared completely to be replaced with silence. But it isn’t silence, it’s bird song and the breeze I am making and the small sounds of the bike and it’s lovely again. One minute, two and sometimes even five would pass before the whole sequence repeated itself. We had practical stuff to do in Oban such as buying food and midge nets (I’ll explain later) and booking the next three ferries now we have our route sorted. Our destination for the night was Craignure on Mull but there was no ferry until six o’clock so we had no option but to try the new Wetherspoons on the harbour. Two chilli dinners and two drinks for about twelve quid later and we are sailing to Mull under dramatic showery skies.
Tuesday was spent doing a strenuous circuit of eastern Mull, uttering seldomly heard phrases like, “look there’s another eagle”. Mull really is a spectacular place both for scenery and wildlife and only a few idiot drivers tried to spoil our reverie by failing to understand that a car plus a loaded touring bicycle that are, combined, wider than the road won’t pass each other safely. Never mind, most drivers were actually very patient. We kind of circled Ben More on our route, rather in the manner of an exhibition goer circling around an exquisite sculpture. This one looked stunning from all angles. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day and the sea competed with the sky to see who could look the bluest. Otters played and splashed all around the edges of the water. Well I imagine they did. Unfortunately we must have missed them somehow. We were probably watching an eagle.
We are now back on the mainland having visited the lighthouse at the end of the roller coaster road, to Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly in the UK and continued inland to a great campsite (only nine quid) which we are sharing with our midgie mates.
Skye tomorrow or Friday. The saga continues.
Oh must go. There is a breeze picking up and I have just seen several midges clinging onto the guylines in a vain attempt to stay in Argyll. They have no chance of course, they will probably be in the Orkneys by the morning.