Days 16 and 17 – Taynuilt to Fort William (Thurs) and Fort William to Dores (Fri)

Advance apologies for these blogs being on the short side. We have had a tiring day today and am again in a region with somewhat dodgy 3G coverage, so not sure whether this will get through. In short – we are still on schedule (despite some of my efforts today, see later). 16 cycling days out of 19 down – the last remaining big name fraction has fallen – we are more than three quarters of the way through.

Yesterday, day 16 was another of our light days, in fact the shortest so far at 47 miles. A cloudy morning but an early call to the boat man revealed that he considered he could indeed take us across Locj Etive. Apparently, the boat was leaking a bit but he thought it would make it across the Loch and back. Given the ‘back’ part didn’t concern us, we decided to give it a go and all went smoothly. This saved us quite a few miles avoiding the Oban road. The day brightened as we made our way towards Corran, the plan being to try to avoid the busy A82 by taking the ferry across Loch Linhe and then to return across on another ferry to Fort William late afternoon. A brief stint riding on the fairly horrendous A82 convinced us this was the way to go and we had a very relaxed afternoon cycling the 10 miles or so north of Linhe. How folk do LEJOG on roads like the a82 escapes both of us – it really must be an awful experience! We stopped in town for Stephen to have a rear tyre replaced and had an Excellent meal in the evening at the Crannog restaurant – possibly the meal of the trip.

Day 17 (Wedding Day) – the usual early start, and we headed off on the Great Glen cycle path towards Inverness, though our destination was a few miles short in the village of Dores. We knew today was business as usual after 3 light days – not so many miles (56) but lots of climb (3000 ft) and a lot of semi-difficult forest path which slowed the average pace considerably, interspersed with some lovely stretches of canal. Weather continues to be fabulous up here, sunny for much of the day. At one point we had a few hundred metres of traversing exposed tree roots. I think I was focussing carefully on what I would have for lunch when my front wheel got trapped and promptly threw me and bike sideways. For a second or two the water of Loch Oich appeared to be coming towards me at some speed but an obliging tree trunk halted my descent. With a bruised shin (not to mention pride) I clambered back to examine my bike. The front brakes hadn’t taken the incident well but some excellent tinkering from Stephen got me running again. A pasta lunch at Fort Augustus was welcome sustenance for an afternoon of quite huge climbing effort above Loch Ness on the way to Dores. The hill just went on for miles. Loch Ness was beautiful in the evening sun however and we had another excellent meal at the Dores Inn. Big mileage day tomorrow to take us well north of the highland mountains and Inverness.