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

Postby mercalia » 17 Jun 2020, 9:10am

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

Postby eileithyia » 17 Jun 2020, 9:15am

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

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

Postby reohn2 » 17 Jun 2020, 9:42am

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

Postby Mick F » 17 Jun 2020, 10:55am

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

Postby simonineaston » 17 Jun 2020, 11:03am

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'.
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Re: To the lighthouse – one of the UK’s toughest bike rides

Postby ChrisButch » 17 Jun 2020, 11:32am

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

Postby Morzedec » 17 Jun 2020, 11:39am

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

Postby Jon Lucas » 17 Jun 2020, 11:43am

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.

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

Postby Mike Sales » 17 Jun 2020, 11:54am

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

Postby loafer » 17 Jun 2020, 1:18pm

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

Postby mercalia » 17 Jun 2020, 2:24pm

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

Postby eileithyia » 17 Jun 2020, 4:36pm

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

Postby eileithyia » 17 Jun 2020, 4:38pm

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

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

Postby Sid Aluminium » 18 Jun 2020, 8:49pm

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

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

Postby Sid Aluminium » 18 Jun 2020, 9:03pm

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: