3.47 am -
Her - knock knock
Me - Hello
Her - You come now. Move bike. Me - OK
Her - NO ! COME NOW !
Me - Errr ok but I have to put my shoes on
And that my friends is how my Wednesday started .
When you take a bicycle on the Caledonian Sleeper and your destination is Fort William they don’t actually put your bike in that section of the train going to Fort William. Riddle me that one Batman. Instead, when you arrive at Edinburgh they wake you at 3.47 am and ask you to move your bike to the section of the train continuing to Fort William. It’s because at Edinburgh they split the train in two. One half continues to Aberdeen and the other half to Fort William. Am not sure her rush either. We got the bikes out onto the platform and stood there for 46.43 mins whilst they coupled an engine to the front of our section. Standing there was easy enough done when it’s a balmy 17 degrees but ask me to do that in the middle of a Scottish winter and me thinks my response might be slightly different.
Back to bed it was .
We all have romantic ideas of falling asleep to the rhythmic sound on an overnight train of the clickety- clack , clickety-clack. Trust me when I tell you that the Edinburgh to Fort Williams is more akin to clickety- thump - bump , clickety - thump - bump.
Needless to say that upon arrival into Fort Williams some 12 hours after leaving Euston I wasn’t my most spritely.
Fort Williams is the outdoor capital of Scotland given as it is based at the foot of Ben Nevis . So plenty of healthy looking people walking about looking like they need a good steak and bowl of chips.
From Fort Williams it was 14 km ride down the eastern side of a loch and then a 5 minute ferry. From there an impossibly large number of short hills and dips as we rode to Kilchoan alongside another inlet. Stunning views down the inlet on one side and an enchanted forest on the other.
Most of the ride on a single lane “B” road.
Did I mention the billion short climbs and dips?
As we entered Kilchoan and still 10 km from the lighthouse that marks the Western most Point of GB the weather turned.
Being half smart we decided to drop our heavy saddle bags at our hotel and continue on to the lighthouse in drizzle and an ever increasing wind.
The lighthouse itself is non descript. Moreso in the cold and drizzle and mist we were encountering.
Took the obligatory photo, and then turned around and rode the 10 km back to our hotel in rain that was becoming heavier by the minute and a relentless wind .
The 3.55 am bicycle train shuffle at Edinburgh.
Next time you think your job sucks. Try coupling trains in the middle of a Scottish winter at 4 am. Never mind on a balmy summers morning.
A hearty Caledonian Sleeper breakfast.
Arriving into Fort William we were met by this majestic beast.
Typical bike ride views on the way from Fort William to Kilchoan.
Enchanted forest views one side.
Inlet / Loch views on the other side.
Undulation and more undulation .
Stopped at GB’s most westerly whisky distillery and got a bottle of single malt sent home.
Love a traditional road sign.
The start point. 94km cycled on the day and now the ride officially starts!
Stats of the day -
Number of midges swallowed - 1
Number of midge bites suffered by author - 2 Number of midge bites suffered by Brent.H - 40
Number of Tesla drivers witnessed - 1
Number of Tesla drivers who refused to give way on a narrow single lane B road - 1
Number of Pink Fiat 500 drivers who had absolutely no idea about spatial awareness - 1
Number of small sharp uphill sections of B road between Fort William and Andamurchan Lighthouse - 247,432
Number of gear changes made when encountering aforementioned short steep hills - 432,567
Quotes of the day
When I asked Brent.H if I had snored overnight his response was - “You lit up the afterburners a couple of times “
After being bitten 38 times inside of a minute when we stopped to take a photo I asked Brent.H what blood group he was …”The tasty one “ came his response .