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.

Dodging the showers

By Stuart Lowe on

This morning I ticked off the last thing on my dad's list; I visited the little museum in Gairloch. I found out a little about neolithic times and the geology of Wester Ross.

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At Gairloch heritage museum yesterday. A defiant pose.

With a late start I headed east and inland to Loch Maree. The rain set in again as I rode down the edge of Loch Maree. At Kinlochewe I stopped for tea and cake in a little cafe before failing to be able to help a couple with a broken wheel because my spare spokes were too small for their wheel. They said they had someone they could call so I headed on.

The road rose upwards and, as it turned a corner, I got a braw view down Glen Torridon. It was lovely. I sang about bubbling rivers and the glistening glens as I rode.

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Beinn Eighe

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Heading towards Torridon

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Rare action shot of me thanks to another person on a bike trip (his thumb is included)

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On the way to Torridon

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Looking across Loch Torridon

Eventually I reached Shieldaig and had a choice. I could go the shortcut along the A896 or keep to the coast. I kept to the coast road. It was narrow and twisting and full of hills. It also had a traffic jam at one point because of wide loads in both directions and people refusing to give way. On a bike I wove through the stuck vehicles with their stubborn drivers and carried on. I was still trying to outrun showers and did a pretty good job of letting them pass ahead of me or rushing forwards so they passed behind.

Around the headland I had a great view out towards rainy Raasay and Skye beyond. I also met a herd of highland cows by the side of the road. In the evening sun, this was one of my favourite views I've seen in Scotland.

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Looking out towards Rona and Raasay

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Highland cows

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Looking south.

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Rona, Raasay, and Skye.

A bit along the coast, a few miles from Applecross, I found a nice spot to wild camp. It was just up and out of view from the road, had a bit of a breeze (which helped keep the midges down), and had a grand view of the sunset. I pitched my tent and rang my dad to let him know where I was.

I cooked dinner and watched the rain fall over on Skye. I'd be there tomorrow.

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Camp spot with a view of Skye (and some lovely wind to stop the midges)