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Day 11 - Crianlarich to Fort Augustus Weather icon, click for today's weather in this location Today's weather in Crianlarich

Tuesday 9 May 2006

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Map of tenth day of route, click to go to interactive map

Route Description

This should be a glorious day! Through Glencoe to Fort William before heading diagonally up towards Inverness. The day finishes about 40 miles short of Inverness in Fort Augustus. Here, I'll be staying at Nia Roo Lodge.

 

Route map.

Mileage: 78

Cycling time: 4 hours 47 mins

Average speed: 16.3 mph

Top speed: 33.9 mph

Start to finish time: 7 hours 10 minutes

Worst hill: Spean Bridge

High point: 1,174ft

Mileage to date: 862

Majestic Mountains

Woke up this morning after 9 hours sleep and feeling much better than yesterday. Breakfast was delicious - great porridge (and I should know!), scrambled egg cooked to perfection and a lovely potato scone. It turns out that the owner took over 18 months ago and prior to that was living in Crich! Everyone do stay at Eiich House B&B, Crianlarich - it's lovely!

I fogot to mention in yesterday's update that, on arrival, I discovered that the road vibration had caused one of the brazed joints of my pannier rack to sheer. My host provided some duck tape and I wrapped it up as tightly as my achilles - let's hope we both last the distance!

I set off up the valley to Tyndrum at 9:30am with the morning sun already warm and the easterly breeze, though lighter than yesterday, still pushing me along.

I soon started the first of several long climbs up onto Rannoch Moor. The sight of Beinn Dorian and Beinn an Dothaidh on the right is quite something. Then the wilderness of the Mor really opens up and you start to appreciate the meaning of the word 'remote'.

As I finally reached the last crest, the grandeur of Glen Coe started to reveal itself with the imposing Buchaille Etive Mor guarding the Glen. The descent through Glen Coe in weather like today can only be described as magnificant - massive, beautiful mountains on all sides and a 30 mph free wheel for about 10 miles! The only time I stopped was to laugh out loud at the ridiculous roadwork sign - exactly which 100 mile alternative route do they want me to take? Leaving Glen Coe, I was soon at Loch Leven and the sea. This is where I turned north east and made an enemy of the easterly once more. However, it is much less strong and I'm rather more up to challenging it today. I was also able to exchange 'nightmare headwind' stories with a couple of tandem riders stopped at a cafe in Onich which helped.

I arrived in Fort William at 1pm - 16.9 mph average and 50 miles under the wheels - let's see how that changes over the rest of the day! In a lovely cafe called Fired Earth I was able to do yesterday's update and refuel on soup and a tuna bagel.

The road to Spean Bridge provided some great views of Ben Nevis as I left Fort William behind me. I'm sure there will be plenty of folk on the top enjoying the magnificant weather. However, the only weather I was concentrating on was the headwind!

As I left Spean Bridge I came across a surprise hill up to the monument. It will go down as the day's worse hill because, although the climbs to Rannoch Moor were much longer, I had really enjoyed them. Then came Loch Lochy. An attractive enough Loch, but presumably unremarkable enough for those trying to give it a name to say "Well I dunno, it's sort of Loch-like, let's call it Lochy, Loch Lochy!".

As I had been warned, the road surface along this stretch was pretty awful. This was in stark contrast to the rest of the day. Considering how much winter weather they have to put up with, the roads on the Mor and through Glen Coe are terrific. I suppose the lack of houses needing cables, plumbing etc. means there is no need to keep digging them up.

As I crossed and re-crossed the Caledonian Canel, the wind really whistles up Loch Ness to meet me. But, head down, I made it into Fort Augustus at 4:40pm. Time for a shower, pub meal and another early night ..... I have heard that there are some fierce hills to conquer tomorrow.

Only 2 days and less than 200 miles to go!

Cake Review - Sticky Toffee Pudding (at the pub). Intriguingly scorched giving a burnt sugar taste that offset the ice cream nicely. However sponge slightly dry. 6/10.
 
Heath Robinson repairs


Ben Nevis


Loch Tulla and Glen Orchy


The Loch-like Loch Lochy


Buchaille Etive Mor


Caledonian Canel Loch at Port Augustus


How many miles?!


The glorious Aonach Egach Ridge and Glen Coe


Highland Cows

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