Leaving Carbisdale Castle I negotiated the footbridge and headed off past the very uninspirins Falls of Shin to cycle some 10 miles along Loch Shin. I think it had been dammed so it was more of a reservoir, but eqaully stunning in the sunshine. For a while I cycled with another End to Ender, Tim who had shared a dorm with me the night before.
There was a gentle head-wind and that together with a slow climb tempted me to stop for an 'unnecessary but enjoyable' coffee and chocolate crunchy thing. I chatted to Jan and Helen about my trip so far and plans to get to Cape Wrath.
For Jan the penny dropped and she got the local paper to check the start date for a big 'live firing' excercise. Despite me checking the Cape Wrath Range web site which said it was open to the public in May the paper said it would close for 2 weeks tomorrow. AGHH!
Being a resourceful chap I had the number of the Range Warden who confirmed that from 11am Monday the RAF Typhoons would be dropping real bombs on Garve Island, not a good place to cycle past! The Warden said if I cycled fast I'd propably get between the sentries but he couldn't guarntee that.
This was not good news, I didn't really want to miss out Cape Wrath so called John the Ferryman to hear that his first ferry would not be until 11am, significantly reducing my odds of reaching Cape Wrath (ferry is ONLY way to get to 11 mile road to lighthouse.
I'l cycled 25 miles, it was 37 to the ferry and 12 o'clock. If I cycled like crazy I might get to cycle one way and get the minibus back- worth a go. So off I pedalled, past Loch Shin and Loch Merkland and over a saddle down to Loch More. Just as I was marvelling at the beauty and remoteness my pedals went spinning as my chain broke and came to rest on the tarmac behind me.
What a good job l'd brought a spare link and chain tool with me,.all I needed to do was read the instructions. 45 minute, and a lot of greasy fingers the new link clicked into place and I could restart my increasingly hopeless race to the last Ferry.The far north-west coast of Scotland was truely breath - taking, but keep your mouth closed to avoid swallowing a fly or a bee!
A s I descended to the Kyle of Durness I could make out a small boat. Would I make the ferry, could I cycle both ways to Cape Wrath, would I get bombed by the RAF.. I'll tell you later today:.Stats 70.9 miles, climbed 4,980 ft