To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

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mercalia
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To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by mercalia »

The Cape Wrath Challenge at the northern tip of Scotland was dreamed up by a postwar cycling enthusiast who thought that bike touring clubs were turning soft

by Alexander Turner

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/jun/17/cape-wrath-cycling-challenge-scotland-uk-toughest-bike-ride?
eileithyia
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by eileithyia »

The hardest bit was getting the ferry, only managed to get there after 2 previous failed attempts due to bad weather stopping the ferry running.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells
reohn2
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by reohn2 »

eileithyia wrote:The hardest bit was getting the ferry, only managed to get there after 2 previous failed attempts due to bad weather stopping the ferry running.

I just knew you'd been :D :wink:
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Mick F
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by Mick F »

I considered it when planning my Grand Tour, but the ferry is the unreliable part of the task. I dismissed it as I didn't want to go up there to be disappointed. I wanted to go there and back from somewhere B+B. Not far from the nearest reasonable settlement of Durness and it's only a dozen miles each way. I had a mate from there many years ago.

Been to the Cape - or at least off it - with the RN a few times bombarding the cliff and rocks. Couple of different ships - HMS Gurkha and HMS Ambuscade. 4.5" high explosive shells at maybe ten miles range.

PS:
Why is it one of the UK's toughest bike rides?
Doesn't look so tough to me.
Mick F. Cornwall
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simonineaston
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by simonineaston »

Why is it one of the UK's toughest bike rides?
That's a newspaper headline - how else would they get us to read the article?! These days, it's called 'click-bate'.
(rides: Brompton nano & ever-changing Moultons)
ChrisButch
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by ChrisButch »

Going across the old ferry with a tandem was fun - you had to hold the bike upright with one hand (wouldn't fit in otherwise) while grimly hanging on to the gunwhale with the other to avoid being tipped out in the swell.
Sadly, since the 'Cape Wrath Trail' has become 'a thing' for walkers (who come up the coast from Sandwood Bay, not via the lighthouse access road), it no longer feels quite so remote. That coast walk is very fine.
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Morzedec
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by Morzedec »

Sorry, lads, as many have already said this ride is hardly any sort of a problem, if the ferry is running.

I'm thinking of starting a helicopter service across the water..................one with a trailer, for bikes.

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Jon Lucas
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by Jon Lucas »

simonineaston wrote:
Why is it one of the UK's toughest bike rides?
That's a newspaper headline - how else would they get us to read the article?! These days, it's called 'click-bate'.


I certainly wouldn't describe it as one of the toughest, there are far tougher ones close by, let alone in the rest of Britain, but it is one of the most remote. I did it as part of my ride round Britain's coast, and was expecting it to be far tougher than it turned out to be. It was a lovely ride though, and knowing that the only vehicle that would pass by would be the minibus that meets the ferry made it even more enjoyable. I did it in 2005, and there was no cafe at the end then, more's the pity. I remember thinking that it would be an ideal place for one, as all the tourists being brought by bus would have an hour or so there, and you would know exactly when they would arrive.
Mike Sales
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by Mike Sales »

Wrath.JPG


Doubling the Cape on a benign day. We made sure of that.
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by loafer »

eileithyia wrote:The hardest bit was getting the ferry, only managed to get there after 2 previous failed attempts due to bad weather stopping the ferry running.


so true we failed in 2005 on our LEJOG due to weather. though it was a last minute idea fuelled by lots of drink at the Invershin hotel when we stayed at Carbisdale Castle..(was a stunning YHA)...got across the next year when we did Applecross and the west coast :D :D

applecross and cape wrath 165.jpg
mercalia
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by mercalia »

simonineaston wrote:
Why is it one of the UK's toughest bike rides?
That's a newspaper headline - how else would they get us to read the article?! These days, it's called 'click-bate'.


for Guardian readers who ride to the shops it is?
eileithyia
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by eileithyia »

reohn2 wrote:
eileithyia wrote:The hardest bit was getting the ferry, only managed to get there after 2 previous failed attempts due to bad weather stopping the ferry running.

I just knew you'd been :D :wink:


Long time ago now John, First attempt was part of my first 'proper' tour, 1980 7 of us YHA around the top end of Scotland. We had 2 nights booked at Durness hostel...... on the day it was tipping down... we caped up but the ferryman just laughed when he saw us...
Durness is not the most exciting place to try to fill a wet day...though we did get into Smoo Cave later on when the rain let up.

Next attempt was around 85/86 when we did not have such a tight agenda to stick to, the planned day again dawned wet.... another whole day to kick our feet around Durness. Luckily the next day was far better.... and we finally got across.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells
eileithyia
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by eileithyia »

Mick F wrote:
PS:
Why is it one of the UK's toughest bike rides?
Doesn't look so tough to me.


When I did it the road was quite rough and I doubt any improvements have been done to it..... breaking up bits of concrete.. so made it quite tedious to ride over... though not exactly 'tough'
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells
Sid Aluminium
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by Sid Aluminium »

Nicholas Crane wrote up the ride for the 1981 International Cycling Guide: 'In a country notably short of wilderness, it is not surprising that Cape Wrath holds a special aura for cycletourists.' He mentions the Cape as the debut destination of the then-new Holdsworthy Claud Butler Cape Wrath 531 + Campy touring bike in 'rich Ruby Red flamboyant with gold lug-lining and white transfers'. :D
Sid Aluminium
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Post by Sid Aluminium »

Perhaps to make a Cape Wrath ride a bit more of an adventure, one could take their own packraft for the Kyle of Durness crossing, a la Alastair Humphries. :shock:
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