Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
donnieban
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby donnieban » 29 May 2013, 6:34am

Met Office are giving us a week of good weather. Get here quick!

donnieban

Norman H
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Norman H » 29 May 2013, 7:07am

donnieban wrote:Last weekends visit was made all the more memorable by a visit by a trio of lovely loaded touring friends from London in their late 60's who were great company and really nice guys who have nothing to prove but are still fit as fiddles.

donnieban



That will have been us I'm afraid. Thanks for the compliments, we enjoyed your company too. Also I agree with you about Kate the warden, a wonderful person.

I'm the youngster at 64, Dougal is somewhere in his late sixties and John remarkably celebrated his 78th birthday that first night at Rhenigidale. We had a great trip despite the weather. Dougal departed when we got to Ullapool but John and I cycled back down to Oban via Gairloch, Torridon,Skye, Ardnamurchan, and Mull.

Norman

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Tigger
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Tigger » 29 May 2013, 9:10am

phil parker wrote:Well, you look to be having better weather than us today!

Deleted my post last night cos I couldn't get the link (syntax) to work for a photo on Dropbox :(

Having a fantastic time, weather getting better every day 8-)

Wildlife boat trip to Little Bernera today, need to rest my poor tired legs!

phil parker
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby phil parker » 29 May 2013, 2:50pm

Tigger wrote:Deleted my post last night cos I couldn't get the link (syntax) to work for a photo on Dropbox :(

Having a fantastic time, weather getting better every day 8-)

Wildlife boat trip to Little Bernera today, need to rest my poor tired legs!


Mmm... that confused me - I wondered what had happened to your post and people would read my post and also be confused! I did manage to see the photograph before it was deleted and was trying to work out if I recognised the road. Anyway, I'm glad to hear your enjoying the trip and you certainly seem to be having better weather than I did almost a month ago on the mainland!

donnieban
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby donnieban » 1 Jun 2013, 12:14pm

Norman H wrote:
donnieban wrote:Last weekends visit was made all the more memorable by a visit by a trio of lovely loaded touring friends from London in their late 60's who were great company and really nice guys who have nothing to prove but are still fit as fiddles.

donnieban


That will have been us I'm afraid. Thanks for the compliments, we enjoyed your company too. Also I agree with you about Kate the warden, a wonderful person.

I'm the youngster at 64, Dougal is somewhere in his late sixties and John remarkably celebrated his 78th birthday that first night at Rhenigidale. We had a great trip despite the weather. Dougal departed when we got to Ullapool but John and I cycled back down to Oban via Gairloch, Torridon,Skye, Ardnamurchan, and Mull.

Norman



Hi Norman, very nice to hear that you all enjoyed your tour. We were very reluctant to leave the Hostel that morning with the lashing wind and heavy rain. The wind helped push us up the hill but was against us all the way to Tarbert - 3mph. I remember sitting in the waiting room with first stage nappy rash :D

All the best.

Donnie

mattsccm
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby mattsccm » 2 Jun 2013, 6:51pm

Left Mull yesterday (Sat) morning after a week doing the circuit from Oban, Barra, Uists, Skye, Mallaig , Mull. Rained Thurs night and that was it. Monday to Thursday was brilliant sun!
Can recommend the hotel in Lochmaddy for a fantastic brekky and Tobermory chip van. :D

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Tigger
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Tigger » 7 Jun 2013, 10:11pm

Well, I've been back just a few days now... and I had a fabulous second tour of the Outer Hebrides :D :D :D - even more betterer than my first tour :lol:

It was only a few weeks later than Phil, Andy, Donnie, Allan... but it made all the difference, weatherwise (sorry guys!). It was still very windy, in the main, but after the gale force winds died down (Days 0 and 1), they were mostly southerlies, and it wasn't bitterly cold or lashing wet, thank goodness. I saw more and more sun every day until the last two days so I'm certainly not complaining!

Trying to sort through my piccies to show you a few - but I took just over 700* so it's not a quick task! I'll also post a micro-blog of highlights etc but I'm in between shifts atm.

Here's one similar to the photo Phil saw before I deleted the post... did you identify it yet Phil?

20130528_0365_lr.jpg
End of the road (nearly)

And a shot quite a few of you will be able to identify...

20130525_0184_lr.jpg
A favourite hostel

* I should add that the 700 is made up of duplicates, if not triplicates, e.g. where I wasn't sufficiently braced against the wind I took the same shot again :shock: Though I do tend to take two shots of everything, framed slightly differently, in any case.

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Tigger
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Tigger » 7 Jun 2013, 10:14pm

Hey Joe Gallus, didn't manage to catch up with you, just a few days ahead of me!!!

This is your thread IIRC... so how was your tour?

phil parker
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby phil parker » 8 Jun 2013, 9:21am

Here's one similar to the photo Phil saw before I deleted the post... did you identify it yet Phil?


Sorry, I didn't recognise that blue sky! :lol:

I'm missing it already; best I get out now and cycle myself weary!

Richard Barrett
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Richard Barrett » 9 Jun 2013, 12:01pm

Yesterday rolling through South Harris with the Hebrides Bike Club - well the usual three of us. Got well sunburnt.
Image

gloomyandy
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby gloomyandy » 9 Jun 2013, 8:01pm

Hi Tigger,
looks fantastic, very jealous! Looking forward to reading your write up. Hope you managed to visit all of the places you had planned to see.

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Tigger
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Tigger » 8 Jul 2013, 7:23pm

Great pic Richard! Is that on the Golden Road?

Sorry I missed you the day I called by. Please would you pass a much belated thank you to Cindy for her hospitality! The tea and cake hit the spot for the last five miles to Rhenigidale (well, I still walked up most of the hill!) and Cindy was very kind making time for me when she was obviously busy!

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Tigger
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Tigger » 8 Jul 2013, 11:13pm

Well, I’ve been back five weeks and need a bit of cheering up so what better way than to reminisce about my great holiday in the Outer Hebrides :D

At the outset I wanted to make my second (hostelling) tour more ‘random’ than the first (a straight Barra-to-the-Butt B&B tour) but then I complicated it by deciding that cycling through Glen Valtos was a must! This turned out to be a bit tricky with no hostel where I needed one (with the aim of covering 40 miles a day, at most) and every B&B I tried being booked up. At last I found one - in an ideal location but on the wrong dates, i.e. too early in the holiday… and booked it anyway! So that gave me a challenging first four days when I had to get from Barra to Uig, Isle of Lewis.

Colchester to London train – cycle Liverpool St to Euston - London to Glasgow sleeper
This time round I had to share the sleeper compartment but my bunk mate was heading north to walk the West Highland Way and had done cycling tours like C2C so she was a most acceptable companion!

Glasgow to Oban train – Oban to Barra ferry
I met up with LollyKat at Queen Street station in Glasgow; by good fortune she was going to be working in Edinburgh that morning and so we managed half an hour of cycling chat over coffee! Great to meet you LollyKat and thanks for helping me get the bike/ panniers onto the train :D

I’m pleased with this shot taken through the window of the train to Oban (the bargain of the decade btw, at £9.40 for a scenic three hour journey!). I’ve climbed ‘The Cobbler’ above Loch Long a few times, though have to admit I was a reluctant teenager for most of them!

20130522_The-Cobbler_lr.jpg
The Cobbler at Arrochar, Loch Long

I had also arranged to meet my Mum in Oban – she was already holidaying in that area (as a car tourist) – with the idea of doing something together the next day. Top of the agenda was a boat trip to Mingulay but the winds rising to gale force put paid to that! There were a few cyclists waiting for the ferry so I soon got chatting, particularly with two Glasgow medics who I met several times on the way up the isles.

The crossing to Barra wasn’t as bad as it could have been since the ferry seemed to be heading directly into the wind. After last year’s experience I did take some travel sickness pills and was grateful for them as I still felt a bit queasy! As soon as I arrived I cycled to the Co-op to get some supplies and nearly got blown off the bike when I did a U turn :shock: so I was very glad knowing that I could opt out of cycling the next day and share my Mum’s car!

Dunard Hostel, where I stayed two nights, was my first hostelling experience for about 30 years and I liked it very much; basic, nice atmosphere, interesting people, comfy seats around the coal fire, and I even managed to cook something for myself! It was also good to meet the owner Leona when she popped in with some coal, and hear how it all came about. Oh, and she said the inner front door came from SS Politician - the one that sank off Eriskay and led to the Whisky Galore stories.

Barra (car tourist!)
Some of the hostellers were flying out that morning and the beach landing/ take-off was one of the things I wanted to see. Flybe claim the twin otter plane flies in all weathers… though it was too windy for me to cycle so I walked to my Mum’s hotel (the posh one on the beach) and joined her for brekka before we headed to the airport in her car. It was very cold standing about waiting for the plane in the blasting wind but we thought it well worth seeing! In the airport café we met another hosteller who was cycling round Barra on his Brompton; I think I was a bit rude though because I asked him if he was mad or stupid (due to the gale force winds - nowt to do with riding a folder, I hasten to add!). But he didn’t take offence and suggested maybe a bit of both! He was another one I would meet quite a few times over the next few days and I realised I loved all that – meet other cyclists, go separate ways, meet again and catch up on details of route/ coffee stops/ sights/ overnight accommodation etc.

I like this pic because it’s got the plane, the Leverburgh ferry and some cockle pickers in it!

20130523_Barra-cockleshell-beach_lr.jpg
Cockleshell beach, North Barra

Strangely, in a place where the mobile phone signal is often ropey or non-existent (and it seemed much worse than last year - I’m with Orange) several phone boxes I visited did not take cash. I saw two telephone boxes in this state – both appeared to have the mechanism inside. If you have family expecting a call to say you have arrived at the next doss, for example, then take note that this may be difficult. Especially if your mother is also on the islands :lol: (Though 3G/ emailing was usually good.)

20130523_Enter-ye-who-dare_lr.jpg
Enter ye who dare!

Day 1: Barra to Lochboisdale ferry - Berneray
I knew I had a lot of miles to cover so I saved myself 20 miles by taking the early ferry.

20130524_CalMac-joker_lr.jpg
CalMac joker

I’d measured my route to Berneray Hostel as 53 miles but that soon became 61 with the detour via Ormacleit castle (ruin) recommended by Richard, a trip into Benbecula to find a place to eat/ rest (though I wish I’d detoured to Eochar café instead) and taking the Committee Road rather than go via Loch Maddy like I did last time. Luckily the wind had abated considerably and the sun came out enough to get down to two layers! So although it felt about 20 miles too far I still maintained a decent average speed and got to Berneray about 7pm, nik-nakked but not completely useless! Bit of a shame actually as I think some of the best scenery was in those last 20 miles when I least appreciated it. That’s the furthest I’ve ever cycled in a day btw – possibly not the best thing for the first day of cycling :lol:

I wasn’t sure exactly where Berneray Hostel was but having seen photos of it I spotted the blackhouses from the coastal road quite early on. The photo up-thread is from that coastal road with camera fully zoomed in. Well, the hostel lived up to my expectations gained from this site (Phil/ Andy?) and I was sad to only be staying one night. No other cyclists there :( but had some pleasant company provided by a German couple in their eighties and a couple from NZ.

20130524_Berneray-Hostel_lr.jpg
Berneray Hostel and Sound of Harris

More to follow!

123ttam
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby 123ttam » 9 Jul 2013, 6:54pm

I too am getting over a lovely first trip for my wife and myself

Image

This was taken after our first night camping on Vatersay in the Sand dunes.

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Tigger
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Re: Fancy a tour of the Hebrides in 2013?

Postby Tigger » 9 Jul 2013, 9:10pm

Nice pic ttam :D I missed out on Vatersay this year but enjoyed visiting it last time. Where else did you go?

I must really get into Flickr or photobucket or some such...