Cycling the Atlantic coast of Europe from north to south during the summer of 2017. View the archive, the route so far, or donate to MSF.

Good company in Ullapool

By Stuart Lowe on

I woke early and knew I had to face the midges. I packed up everything in the confines of my tent. There was a little wind so I knew there would be fewer midges outside but I still had to pass through the layer of midges now living between the inner and outer. I opened the door and threw the bags out. I quickly followed and ran away from my tent. I gave it a minute before returning. Rather than spend time disconnecting the inner, I just rolled both up together, wrapped them in my ground sheet and left.

I rode along a quieter road to the south of Stac Pollaidh. I got good views between the showers. Reaching the main road took my south and off single track roads. At Ullapool I was exhausted and midge bitten. I went to the Tourist information office. The three ladies there managed to turn my sour mood around with their friendliness and sympathy. Emma was particularly sympathetic because she is from an adventuring family and knows how hard a combination of things can make you feel like giving up. I left their office cheerful and deciding to have the rest of the day off.

As I reached the campsite I met Ciri again. She had been putting up her tent and had spotted my Ikea bag. It turns out to have another use. As neither of us had washed clothes in a while, we shared the cost of a washing machine. It is so nice to have clothes that don't smell. We went to get lunch (breakfast in my case) at a cafe then I got lots of extra lunch bits at Tesco. I ate.

In the late afternoon, whilst Ciri was away at the Tourist information office, I had a call from Emma. I was invited to join her, her dad, and some friends of theirs for dinner. Ciri returned with news that she had actually met Emma's brother in Iceland a few years ago. It is a small world.

After buying some tiramisu and wine to take with us, we went to dinner at Emma's. There we had a great welcome and sat sharing great food, stories, wine and whisky. We ended the night with a plan to row a skiff on Loch Broom the next morning. I had started the day in a sour mood and ended it on a high.