Cycling Across Britain: Day 19, Sights of Scotland
Miles: 53, Nearest town where I slept: Fort William
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I those pesty emotions were making things tough. Today, emotions turned completely. The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad, and the sights were the best yet. I won’t even try to find words to describe them. Only photos can, so I’ll take a break from writing and show a bunch of photos.
As the pictures show, I cycled through those wonderful sights with quite a bit of sunshine and no rain, something you come to appreciate in this part of Scotland. I also had no punctures or other breakdowns.
I’ll start from the start, of Day 19. This morning, I suspected my next stop would be around Fort William, about 50 miles further on my route. I also suspected the hostels would be busy, since students are off from school and it’s a Saturday. That made a good reason to give up some cycling time to find some phone numbers for places to stay, since the hostel at ??? had web access. I wrote down a few numbers, stopped for some groceries, and got on my way.
I also stopped earlier to see if I could find a place to say. Around 2pm, I took a break at Glen Coe National Park. I had lunch, topped up on water, talked with some folks, and called the phone numbers I called earlier, no luck. All the places I called were full, and a couple didn’t answer, probably because they were taking care of all their customers. I look at my sat nav next. It listed a campground directly on my route. I called, and they had room for a tent.
It’s a cozy campground called Lochy Caravan & Camping, one of the nicer ones I’ve stay at. The price was also good, £8 ($15), and I could pitch my tent very close to a river, fun to hear the sounds. Being Scotland, the weather did change. It started raining soon after I arrived. A couple of fun sayings about the rain have come up as I’ve talked with some Scots. One is “Getting wet is only skin deep.” Another is, “In Scotland, there is no poor weather, just poor choices for clothing.” I sincerely appreciate their mild response to the rain.
I made supper in the rain, for the first time. It’s just like making supper in sunshine, just have to add less water. 🙂
When I was preparing for this trip, I went cheap on many things, like cycle clothing, but I spent more on wet-weather gear, like a gore-tex jacket, water-proof panniers, and a good tent. I was happy for all of them yesterday. My panniers kept everything inside dry while I put the tent up, and I was cozy inside my jacket.
Last night, I was especially glad I bought a good tent. I woke to some very hard rain. I stayed dry the whole time, so it was even a bit fun listening to the rain. One Scottish challenge I couldn’t overcome was the midges. Overall, I just ignore them and the occasional little bite they give, but last night, I really had to scratch my legs. I shined a light on them and saw at least 50 little bites on each, below my knees. And, I wasn’t even wearing shorts. The little buggers had to fly up my pant legs to give me bite. They’re annoying, but I almost respect their tenacity.
I fell asleep thinking about the wonderful sights and that the trip is almost over, a little sad about that. Emotions …