Sunday - day of rest
Woken by theme tune to The Benny Hill Show
at 6:45am following a warm, but less than comfortable kip. My pillow had been spare fleece wrapped in a plastic bag which meant sweaty ears all night. Don’t know why I did that – never have done before and never will do again. Turned over for morning grope with Mrs Panda, to be confronted by The Ken
. Scary. Woke up properly after that.
Up and about quite briskly. Quick check outside. Weather OK. Quick check of bowels to ascertain requirement to go off and hide behind rocks and trees. OK so far – might last an hour or two. Gazz’s
bowels are sending different messages and he disappears off with The Spade of Shame
. Either that or it’s one hell of an elaborate cover for another Chieftain.
Room gradually comes to life as Retrobikers
look forward to the easy day ahead in compensation for Saturday. Bikes which had been brought indoors are removed and sleeping gear is ceremoniously packed up.
Make a cup of tea on superior Karrimor Mighty Atom Compact Gas Stove
wants a cup too so The Ken
offers him his inferior Chainstore Bought Compact Gas Stove
. It fails to ignite, cylinder full of gas but no lighty lighty. Karrimor Mighty Atom Compact Gas Stove
smirks warmly in corner, much steam being produced by contents of pan sitting above it. The Ken
forages around pockets for receipts for panniers and stove – vows to have conversation with Tescos Manager on return.
has now stopped snoring and wanders around with a packet of Bratwurst type sausages. Eats most of them and regrets it. Tries to punt the remainder off to us. No Fear mate.
Amendment to itinery to allow a breakfast stop at the Inverawe Smokehouse Café
, about 90 minutes away, so we pack up pretty quickly, drink teas, tidy our bit of bothy and set off cheerfully into the cloud laden day.
Approx 8am we saddle up and start gentle run along undulating Landrover track to meet Das Boat
Get there about 20minutes to nine – Das Boat
already there. Wunderbar
The Captain (a very decent bloke) assists loading laden bikes and in return instructs The Ken
to stay on jetty and hold onto rope whilst we all jump in.
Gazz and Dave G
are very happy. Rado
contemplates the wisdom of eating so many Bratwurst type sausages before hitting the open sea.
We bid farewells to The Ken
as he stands on jetty holding wrong end of rope. We have other end of rope, firmly attached to boat. The Captain executes a multi point turn (The Ken
still instructed to hold rope) then shouts at The Ken
to jump aboard at the sharp end, as Das Boat
starts to gain momentum. Never has a human being moved as fast as that man on that occasion. No, Really.
Ten Minute Journey across the briny and Gazz
thinks he’s in the Caribbean, setting out sun chairs and just plain chillin’ out honey. All good so far – this trip ticks all the boxes.
Unload at 250 year old jetty on south side of Loch Etive (where the Sea Trout come from) and The Captain points to an Osprey hovering, about to dive, overhead. Quality
Back on bikes. Ouch that hurts. Bahooky isn’t pleased with this, having not being subjected to anything longer than one day rides in recent years. We’ll get over it. We didn’t get over it - it remained a problem most of Day 2.
Short trundle along farm track, across wire rope bridge and across field to the Smokehouse.
A girl walking her dog greets us. We greet her back. The Terrier however is terrified and won’t pass us, wanting only to reverse in a yapping tail between legs stylee. Rado
smiles in Polish at The Terrier and says hello nicely. The Terrier runs a mile.
Smokehouse approx 9:30am. DaveG
chats up the Counter Dolly in efforts to get a Bacon Roll, but that’s firmly off menu – its smoked local animals here or nuthin’. He’d been lookin’ forward to that since The Walk of Pain
Teas/coffees and a selection of smoked local consumables are consumed al fresco in the presence of two ducks. Lumps of dough thrown at ducks (they were persistent) and we notice one duck only has Half a Beak. We look more closely – yep only Half a Beak, no lower mandible, which makes eating the lumps of dough kinda tricky – sort of has to lick them off the ground. The Ken and DaveG
show touching concern and start mumbling about SPCA providing Prosthetic Beaks specifically tailored to individual ducks. I mean, really.
Counter Dolly is advised re the possibility for Prosthetic Beaks from SPCA – she looks at TK and DG
oddly, confirming her suspicions that All Cyclists Are Nutters.
Right enuff of that bollx – back on bikes again for relatively easy trip along South East shore of Loch Etive, parallel and opposite direction to last leg of Saturday’s run. Steep hill from Smokehouse is unpleasantly steep, continuing in such a fashion onto forest track and the old estate road.
Much Grumbling. Thighs join the queue with Bahookys in proclaiming high levels of discomfort. I’m glad it’s the young ‘uns too, not just me.
But we’re still happy as the rising ground is rideable, leading to The Road of Splendour
– steeply undulating Landrover track with great views across and up the loch to Glens Etive and Coe. Nice. Splendid in fact.
Very hot and tiring work though. Had to refill water bottles regularly – no problems here - plenty meltwater from the receding snows ensures constant supply at stream crossings.
has been complaining of SORE NIPPLES for a while –and gets them out for the lads. Apparently they’ve gone purple. I avert my eyes. The lads wish they had too. Elastoplast is applied and he’s a happy bunny.
Climbing over The Road of Splendour
then all whizz down the gravel to Armaddy Bridge. More Splendidness. Pause for water and Selkirk Bannock. Rado
has more chocolate, seemingly a favourite of his.
Fork off aprox northeasterly direction for final easy leg back to BofO along gently climbing gravel track. Nice & Easy. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. We like Glen Kinglass
– its so easy. Photostops, more water, hot and humid, cloudy but no rain yet so happily upwards we steadily climb. More mountains tower around us and shattered rocks lie everywhere. A Swallow jets passed – apparently a good thing so Gazz
declares it officially Summertime.
Cuckoos sing at us from distant trees across the glen. Cheeky opinionated gits. We ignore them.
Pass the Hunting Lodge and nice gravelly track stops and becomes loose rock track, much narrower, much steeper, much less Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Good fun though. The Ken
notices his rear derry is about to fall apart, pin about 70% out, so he grabs a rock and belts it back in, satisfied he’s avoided major calamity.
Going becomes harder and I hit a wall (not a brick one). .Pedalling becomes a chore. Berluddy SPDs. Hate ‘em. Berluddy cyclin’. Hate it. Had a wee walk/push instead. Berluddy heavy panniers. Hate ‘em.
Catch up with the others and they bugger off again after another wee footbridge. Notice they’re walking too so I cheer up. Starts to rain lightly and the sky darkens more as we enter The Dark Glen of Corpses
Riding becomes sporadically easier and more difficult every other minute. Not through the wall yet. Hate walls.
Spot the New Footbridge crossing point and we debate for a while and go for it (old bridge also visible, but too risky to use – Big Timbers missing at critical points, nowhere to put bike or feet, that sort of thing). Cross river onto nice rock platform. Photo opporchancity.
Rain increases. Rock platform ends and its onto another pathless bog. Wet feet again. DaveG
spots stripped corpse of a huge bird. Evil has been here. The Ken
starts building a wee shrine round it but is chastised for Devil Worship as he joins us in the bog. Debate about way forward. Its easy – just go through the bog. Hate bogs. Just keep going ‘til we find the track again. Habit forming, this.
C-Word makes another appearance, but I duck and it misses me. Several times.
Meet MTBer coming the other way. Loony. He’s off to meet pals at some secret midway point then cycle back apparently. Probably Worshipper of the Dark Arts if his accent was anything to go by, or a pal of Velo’s
Some dead sheep remains at side of track as we walk/push/ride uphill over extremely slippery rock deeper into The Dark Glen of Corpses
. Buzzard circles overhead. And another.
Get to high point of coll and onto more manageable ground. Levelish track so we speed up a bit. People ask me how far – approx 10 miles off road then another 4 on tarmac. People are not entirely ecstatic about that, being around 2 hours over schedule already. We press on. Rain increases. Clouds darken.
Pass a loch I recognise which means we’re further on than I thought – hmmm this is better. Wall starts to disintegrate. Going gets easier (or wall collapses – either way the effect is similar). Everyone starts moving faster to river crossing. Excellent. I know where I am, not far now.
Just about to cross river when I accidentally bang foot into large headless deer carcase on the ground. Not nice. Almost invisible against the rocks. Another victim of The Dark Glen of Corpses
. Clean feet whilst wading river. Grim
I advise the crew that we’re much closer the end than previously thought, but have the impression they’re not completely convinced.
firmly of the opinion that Scottish miles are unnecessarily long.
Another river crossing, this one deeper and wider. Rado
(becoming delirious by now) submerges the nicely coloured Zaskar for a few moments in a strange Rado the Baptist Episode
. He laughs. We start worrying. Luckily the 80 litre / 80 kilo rucsack doesn’t pull him under.
Briefly back on land and a final forgotten short river crossing - DaveG and Gazz
plough through it without coming off. Gazz
, insane with mirth, shouts f**k You River! and utters a strange Ayrshire chant.
Countdown to tarmac begins - we are sore and want out.
Back on easy gravel/boulders again, passed Glasgow Uni Mountaineering Club Hut, more easy gravel, must be less than a mile now. Any more than that and either my frame or body will snap. Know where we are. Know its only a hundred metres or so.
Am right – Some nice smooth freshly laid tarmac too after repairs of winter frost heave.
Wrists, elbows and shoulders spared to play another day.
Rain persists to BofO but no-one cares. We’re out.
Repair to pub (3 hours later than schedule) for beer, crisps and lashings of Ginger Beer. (TK
actually did have GB)
– switch mobile back on and get delayed text from Mrs Panda asking if I want wood……..That amused me. (we had an option, not taken up, of her driving firewood to the road end at bothy on Saturday for us to collect and use. Didn’t get text Saturday as no reception)
– stiff but mobile. Notice that biting insects have got to my legs
– legs swollen due to biting insects…….anyone else suffering that?
this thread needs more pics...................
Good fun guys - enjoyed that