Day Ten

It had rained most of the night but cleared by the time we got up. Our last morning of packing away the tent and moving on! (It will all be soaking wet, so we will have to get all out again at home to dry it out, though!) The last morning of making porridge and coffee on the gas stove, the last morning of loading up the trailers.

img 2708The wet field attracted a huge flock of common gulls and some ducks. As soon as the boys saw them they were off chasing them round and round the field. Being the last morning it didn’t matter that their pyjamas got soaking wet!

The field had filled up over the evening. Apparently the last ferry yesterday had been cancelled so quite a few campervans headed to Mull for a folk festival, had to find somewhere to stay for the night. It meant there was some great music playing as we packed up!

It also meant that the few miles back in to Oban was quite busy; the passing places came into their element!

img 2715Oban is a busy town. Big and small ferries coming and going and streams of cars going on and off. The market alongside the dock was busy even in the morning as we got coffee and waited for the train. Plenty of time to get some souvenir t-shirts and a keyring. And plenty of time throw some stones into the sea!

The train back was a lot longer than I had expected. It was a little sad that it after a while it basically followed the route that we would have taken in our original plan down Loch Lomond into Glasgow. We were sat next to a couple who were reading ‘Gentle and Lowly’ a Christian book, which gave us something to talk about most of the way back.

I was wrong to say that this morning was the last time we would have to load the trailers! We had to unload onto the train and then load again to get back to the car. Loading into the car was strange after nearly two weeks, and driving it too!! The world is definitely better at the speed of bike!

We checked into the Travelodge and headed to Nandos for a well earned meal! Civilisation was obviously a bit of shock to the boys, too, as they went tearing through the shopping centre oblivious to other people. We had to remind them how to behave indoors! Nandos was as good as ever, though!

We can’t wait to be back in Oban on our bikes again!

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Day Nine

The day started off positively sunny, where rain had been forecast from 8am, yet as usual, the heavy dew made everything soaking wet!

Our last full day of cycling and our shortest distance. We rejoined the cycle path exactly where we left it; right outside the campsite. And we enjoyed the well-paved off-road paths through the woods, NCN78 most of the way to Oban.

By 11 we were halfway so we stopped at a beach to throw some stones in.

Again, the section which the map indicated would be on road, was instead a lovely new tarmaced path. It even went past a small airport, much to the boys’ delight.

Then the rain came!! What would have otherwise been a lovely ride through the coastal woodland became a head-down trudge with steep hills to descend in the wet?!

img 2692By the time we descended onto the Oban coast road, though, it had stopped and we were able to have lunch overlooking the harbour, watching the ferries come and go, as well as do a bit of birdwatching. The turnstones along the shoreline were brilliant to watch.

One of the things that first put the suggestion of changing our route to Oban in our heads, was the recommendation of a great chocolate shop there! So, of course, that was high on the list of things to find. It turns out we had passed it already so we headed there. It certainly lived up to the recommendation; gorgeous chocolate and ice-creams! I had an elderflower and gooseberry flavour ice-cream, whilst the others went more traditional, but it was absolutely delicious!

img 2702We then left Becca in the chocolate shop, charging our battery packs, whilst me and the boys went out on a boat trip. Just a quick 1hr cruise out of the harbour and around some small islands, mainly to see seals. But the hope, of course, was that we might also see an eagle!!!?

We did see some seals; common seals this time, and also L spotted some dolphins. We also saw black guillemots, cormorant and herons.

Back on dry land we set off for the campsite, at which point the heavens well and truly opened again! This time it didn’t stop, either. So we arrived at the Oban Camping and Caravanning Park and had to put the tent up in the rain. Since we head home tomorrow this wasn’t so bad. It didn’t matter too much if clothes got wet and so the boys enjoyed running around in the rain. There was also a games room, which they retreated to whilst I cooked tea.

This campsite is interesting. It is quite big. When I enquired about space for tonight they assured me that there was no need to book, they had never turned anyone away in 20yrs. There was a detailed map of all the different areas; play park, games room, cooking room, caravans, motorhomes, chalets, glamping pods. Yet, despite the size the facilities were minimal. In our block, serving most of the camping and much of the caravanning, there was just two toilets and a shower, at least in the men’s. The wash-up kitchen had no light. And they charged for everything- 50p to charge a device! They are the only campsite near Oban (3miles away) so I think they would benefit from some competition!

We ate our tea in the games room then settled in for a rainy night. As I sit here now it is just starting to ease.

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Day Eight

Today has been our best average time for cycling yet, and the earliest we have arrived at the campsite!

We still did a good distance but it was mostly on tarmaced cycle path and most of it away from the road, too.

It was windy in the night and it also rained so everything was packed away wet. But as soon as they could, the boys were back to throwing stones into the river.

We had tried to leave a bit earlier, but that didn’t work so we got away about 1100. A short slog down the side of the A82, and then once back onto NCN78 the cycle paths started.

image 18They either hugged the lochs, giving great views, or rose slightly above the road which also gave great views. That, of course, meant some hills and some were far too steep to cycle up. It was usually worth it and the downhills were always smooth and fast!!

There was one section on the map where route 78 just stops and there is a “!” symbol on the road. We were expecting to have to join the road and just bear with it, but the map must be old, or rather these paths very new. First there are about six switch-backs up and away from the road; all quite newly landscaped and smooth. Then the most delightful cycle through the “Highland Titles Nature Reserve”.
Wonderful information boards about all the animals one might hope to see, if very fortunate. A hedgehog hospital and scottish wildcat enclosure. And a few miles of smooth paths through amazing scots pine woodland. Then finally some steep descents and another six switch-backs before rejoining the path along the side of the road.

All this meant that L could cycle a lot of the way and loved every bit of it, apart from the odd whinge on a hill! There was one so steep, though, where we had to help each other push everything up!!

Then, just as Becca and Levi caught a slight downhill run and sped away, I caught a glimpse through the trees of the unmistakable sight of a white-tailed sea eagle flying towards us.
I shouted ahead but they were gone. I turned to see it again as it passed but it was going fast so I whipped out my binoculars and watched it flying away. Only a brief glimpse, but so wonderful!! L was not impressed that he hadn’t seen it. E was somewhat oblivious!

image 17At the start of the day we were only 40miles from Oban, our new destination, so 20 miles would have been good. But the next campsite was 25 so we were heading that, hoping to spot one not marked on Google. We didn’t, so we put our heads down and slogged out another 5miles. Thankfully, the smooth, mostly off-road, paths continued, although some have not been travelled on by a trailer recently and so we trimmed the overgrowth as we passed!!

Finally a short ride through some amazingly tall Douglas firs and we found our campsite. We are the only tent, and we have bought the average age on the site down considerabley but everyone is very friendly and intrigued by what we are doing!!

Tonight we went for a twilight walk through the adjacent woodland with head-torches on!!!
Last full day cycling tomorrow!

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Day Seven

The original post for day seven got lost in the ether when the ‘draft’ had disappeared before posting it. So this is me trying to remember what I wrote, but inevitably I will also have more hindsight!

I will try to re-write it as if there, that night…

Breaking camp, after being in the same place for four days, was harder than usual, but now to be sat by a campfire, alongside the river in a beautiful woodland campsite, it was definitely worth it.

The day started with Becca making an effort to get packed up a bit earlier so we could get everything done in town before the ferry leaves around midday. We ended up leaving about the usual time of 1030, but thankfully none of our tasks took long and we go to the ferry in plenty of time for me to nip off and get food for the next few days.

Although our plans have changed, today’s journey is actually the exact route we would have taken anyway. The big difference is that we stop 10 miles sooner, and don’t have a mountain range to cross!

The ferry was a small boat that carries 12 bikes. We had been assured that if there were more than that then they would do multiple trips. We were the first to arrive. Shortly followed by a couple a bit older than me, one of whom was riding an electric bike. Then another couple slightly older than them, on a tandem. The final passenger on the ferry was a walker.

The bikes were all either laid down on the top of the boat or strapped to the side. Our trailers were summarily hoisted up top by three of us, thankfully without being emptied.

Once on the boat, we started chatting. The first couple had just arrived in Fort William on the sleeper train, which explained their freshness. They are about to embark on two weeks of island hopping through the Hebrides, staying in hotels along the way.
The second couple, on the tandem, had weathered pink pannier bags that were obviously red originally. They were three months into an end-to-end, zig-zagging up the country. I am pretty sure their panniers have been going much longer than that! They hadn’t been able to book hotels so they were AirBnBing. I am afraid the walker never joined the conversation so I have no idea what his plans are.

image 16

Once we embarked, waved everyone off and set everything back up, we followed everyone down the lochside. It was not an off-road path but it may aswell have been with very few cars passing, so L was able to cycle most of it.

Not far down the road, we passed some Highland Coos, so stopped for some photos. Then not much further a perfect beach for lunch; so perfect that there was already a couple there. They were also cycling on electric bikes, out for a day ride from their holiday-let at the bottom of the loch. They were planning to climb Ben Nevis tomorrow so we shared our experience and advice before they headed off. Then just after they left, we were joined by another visitor. Popping its head up out of the Lock was a harbour seal! It had obviously just caught its lunch and was throwing the fish up out of the water and catching it.

The boys got into the trailer and napped as we continued down the Loch, so they missed the next treat! As we came to a rise in the road with a big view of the water I saw something move. I grabbed my binoculars from my handlebar bag and saw fins breaking the surface. At the time I wasn’t sure if they were dolphins or porpoises but a bit of a google has confirmed that they were dolphins. They circled in the currents before heading further up the Loch. Becca hadn’t stopped when I called, so she missed them, too.

There were some beautiful vistas along the road. One in particular where we came down a hill and round a corner to a vast open estuary with mountains in the background and an island in the middle. So many waterfalls. Sheep grazing at the side of the road. The sun was shining most of the afternoon. This was a really lovely part of the ride.

Then to top it all off it ended with another ferry ride, a free ferry ride at that. But just before the ferry arrived two Hercules planes flew past, very low!

The Corran Ferry is free for pedestrians and cyclists and crosses the 200m stretch from the ‘main land’ to the ‘peninsula’ (I have no idea if those geographical titles are accurate!?). The significance of the crossing means that it carries coaches and fully loaded logging trucks as well as all the cars and bikes. The pedestrian seating was raised above the deck so the boys were thrilled to be sat so close to the top of the logs on the logging truck!!

This felt like a good end of the day, except it wasn’t! We still had 5 or so miles to do and to make it worse we were back on the A82. Thankfully, it wasn’t on the actual road, but most of the time it was the pavement right next to it. Becca was fed up. So we just had to put our heads down and trudge on. Crossing the Ballachulish Bridge raised the spirits a little, but it quickly wore off.

There were two campsites on the map for Glencoe, which is where we were headed. One looked much nicer than the other, but it is further away. I had assumed Becca would want to closest so we followed signs there. I was wrong, however, and had to stop because she had asked someone we passed and found out that we should have turned off. It was great that we stopped at just that point, though, because in the field to the side of the road, by the river, was a magnificent red deer stag. It was nonchalantly eating grass, ignoring us.

That did raise the spirits significantly, but maybe not quite enough to last the 3 more miles through Glen Coe village to the Red Squirrel Campsite. Had we not had the last hour we would have found this place immediately delightful. As it is it took us a while. Not the boys, though. They loved it the moment they saw the river! A shallow, rocky river, just over the bank from our camp spot so they could go to it without us! They have spent most of the evening throwing stones into the river!

It is a delightful campsite; in the woods, fire-pits on every pitch, surrounded by mountains, babbling river and bats!! The facilities are basic, but totally in-fitting with the site. image 15The only downside was the slightly grumpy guy in the reception booth. I asked if we were guaranteed to see a red squirrel here. He replied, ‘Let me know if you do!’ without cracking any kind of smile!

They do sell wood, however, so we have been able to light a real fire, where I now sit (or sat!?) I am looking forward to waking up here!

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Day Six

image 13Today has been another ‘rest day’. That is, rest after climbing the mountain and my thighs definitely needed it. Also a chance to do a bit of washing, battery pack charging and to get ready to set off cycling again tomorrow.

We had a good night. Unsurprisingly everyone was exhausted but we also tried a new bed set up which worked well.

This morning we were able to take advantage of the fact that our church still opens up a Zoom call for our church meeting (we just haven’t stopped since this was the normal way to meet during the pandemic). So we got to join with our church family, albeit from a distance. During the meeting the word ‘Omnipotent’ was explained, so that became our Bible word for the day. God’s complete power, which is such comfort for those in His team!!

The cloud has lifted today, which just means that we can now see, clearly, where we got up to on the mountain. Mocking us, constantly!!
The higher cloud has also meant that it is a lot cooler today. We have needed jumpers for the first time (at sea level at least!)

We did go out on the bikes today, briefly. Just a short circular from the campsite, along the road and back down the river. One of the main reasons was to test out the new ‘seat’ for E on my crossbar. The sponge firmly attached, he declared it as ‘very comfortable’. I have also re-pumped tyres and lubed chains, so ready!

image 14

The boys spent a good 15mins chasing a family of pied wagtails around the camping field. We had a lovely meal and a campfire with marshmallows then headed to bed.

Whilst we got ready for bed a new tent was set up near us. I say tent, but it is really a waterproof sleeping bag with a head cover. The guy is doing Land’s End to John O’Groats and is on Day 12, with two days to go!! Today be did, in reverse, what we had planned to do over the next four days. But we have decided that is too difficult so we have changed our plan!!!! Just imagine!!!

Our new plan for tomorrow is actually to follow the same route as planned before, but just not as far. Just over 20miles with two ferries, it should be good. In the morning we still need to go shopping and to the Post Office to send back the box of walking equipment (which we had sent here rather than carry all the way on the bikes.)

After three days off I am looking forward to being on the road again.

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Day Five

I guess by now it must be very clear that ‘travelling’ with two children has to be about so much more than just travelling!! I have had to learn this and come to terms with this and embrace this!!

The day started at 3am when the event we had dreaded and tried to mitigate against, happened. L wet the bed! Never a great thing to have to deal with in the middle of the night, but even worse in a tent.
L has been out of nappies, even at night, for nearly two years or so, but for some reason the last few weeks has seen some accidents. E has been nappy free for 6 months but still has occasional accidents, especially when drinking a lot. We had decided that they would both have to wear pull-ups whilst touring, but L was mortified by the idea. He agreed for the first two nights as a test and we agreed that if the nappy was unused then we would reconsider.

Night three was fine. But night four…!
So a family trip across the field to the bathroom in the middle of the night, to clean everyone and everything up, was how the day started!!

But then this meant that the real day started a little later than planned and much more tired than planned.
We got up, got dressed, had breakfast and headed for Ben Nevis.
I think I will write a seperate post about this part, and that might not be till we are back!? It is late now and I am exhausted and aching!!

But here are the highlights…
image 9We set off from the Youth Hostel path at 9:30ish. It is SO steep, right from the start. I was carrying E in a rucksack type carrier and L was walking. The boys did so well.
We set off for the lake but hoped we could get further. We did. But by 2pm we were still 45mins from summit and that would put us finishing just as it was getting dark!!

So we made it to the fifth zig-zag at about 1050m.image 10
We were in cloud cover mostly from just before the Red Burn but spirits on the mountain were high!!
On the way back down, though, the cloud lifted just after the zig-zags and we got spectacular views all around.

We got back about 7pm. All worn out. L fell asleep before the bedtime story finished!!
I sit here now watching lights descend the mountain path. So glad that wasn’t us!

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Day Four

A rest day! And Becca’s legs certainly needed it!!
Not so much a lie in as the boys were up at usual time, but nice to have a chilled morning enjoying the campsite facilities; laundrette, shop, play park!!

An important purchase from the shop was bite-cream (Becca was keen that I record that she has at least 50 bites) and tick remover. Becca had one on her leg and E had one on his bum, which must have made for a fine sight to see him bent over the picnic table whilst we removed it!! Either L and I escaped them or we just haven’t found them yet!?

The boys love a good play park and this is a good one. Things to climb on, swing on, slide down etc. They are loving camping in general, in fact. The only thing that would make it better is if we see a golden eagle! Sadly I think that is less likely the further south we go, although white-tailed sea eagles become more likely, maybe?

Our plan has changed. No longer are we cycling Inverness to Glasgow. We have decided to take things a bit easier to enjoy it more; slightly shorter distances and much less up!!

That does mean, though, that we can afford to wear ourselves out tomorrow by trying to climb Ben Nevis. We are packed up ready so all we need to do in they morning is get dressed and go!
If you don’t hear from us again…

But back to today, after a lazy morning we then got the bus into Fort William with a few objectives.
image 7First, we arrived in good time to wait on the train platform for The Jacobite to arrive, the local steam train. We did see it last time we were here two years ago, but L can’t remember it!! Both boys were thrilled to see it and now hope to ride on it, which is sadly not on the cards.
Second, post cards! Will you be lucky enough to get one?
Thirdly, we had a couple of cycling related things to get. Becca’s bike stand turned out to be inadequate for the fully loaded bike, but the bike shop did not have a better one!! I also needed to replace the padding on my cross-bar where E sits whilst L cycles. This was more successful; a sponge and gaffer tape was easily come by.image 8
Forth was dinner, and thankfully we were quite early in the evening. The first place we tried was full but thankfully Ben Nevis, the pub, had space and we all enjoyed our main course although slightly disappointed with the desserts.
Fifthly, we needed food for the next couple of days; Morrisons had all we needed!

Finally, the boys experienced another first- a taxi ride! They were getting tired so were rather over excited, much to the delight of the driver.

So that is it, not so much a travel blog as an account of a relatively mundane day. But it is our holiday and we are loving it!!

Today’s Bible word was ‘Grace’ which means something given which is undeserved. Like, well, any blessing from God. In the Bible context it especially refers to the totally undeserved gift of forgiveness. A great word to have in my head as I go to bed before the big day tomorrow!!

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Day Three

Oh to be sat in the pitch black by Loch Oich again!! Instead I take the more urban position of my folding chair up against the wall in the wash up room with my phone charging!!

Those who have been cycle touring will understand why day three has been especially challenging for Becca!!

image 5Waking up by the Loch was just as lovely as going to be there! The animal noises in the night were wonderful; multiple owls, as well as sounds I have no idea about. There was thunder in the night, too, but the rain had cleared by the time we got up.

Just before my first cycle tour in 2010 a friend gave me a little spade for burying litter. At the time I thought it was a bit irresponsible to bury rubbish whilst camping, but then learned what she meant by ‘litter’. Well this morning it was used for the first time – both the boys are pretty regular!!

The walkers were off quickly and we waved off the canoers (canoeists?) just as we were about to go. L got to set off on his bike as we enjoyed the rest of Loch Oich. However, a couple of miles in we came to a gate. A big, tall iron gate, with a large gate within it for bikes to go through. The problem was a bottom bar about 2ft off the ground. We were just about to unload everything so we could lift the trailers over when a couple of other cyclists appeared. Between the four of us we lifted each bike and trailer over, fully loaded!! At the second gate, two walkers were equally obliging, thankfully!

Then it was back along the canal, but no towpath this time. Instead a wonderful woodland path 5m above the canal. A damp, mossy woodland like in a fairytale, even fly agarics along the path. If it wasn’t all up and down, which our sore legs didn’t like, it would have been idyllic.
By the end L was asking to go back in the trailer!

Next was Loch Lochy, but not before having to cross some lock gates at Laggan Locks. The Great Glen Way is not designed for trailers!!

image 6Again, the route along the western shore would have been lovely had the ups and downs not got steeper!! And to make it worse the surface was almost shale pieces in some places. At one point we had to wait while they felled a tree further up the hill, before being ushered past by a friendly worker.
It was at this point that the rain started. Never torrential, but enough to soak us through!

We have passed many walkers today and they have all been very friendly. It does feel good that everyone is very impressed with us and our fully loaded bikes! One guy even asked to take a picture as we pulled into the campsite!

At Clunes, after lunch, we had a good, comfortable stretch on a well paved road all the way down to Gairlochy. The rain continued as we returned to the canal towpath. The boys had napped after lunch and were somewhat distressed to wake up damp! The trailer is pretty good at keeping the water out, but after a couple of hours of solid rain the drips had started. They coped well, though, and an ice cream at Banavie Locks also helped!

It was not just the ice cream, though, that made Banavie so wonderful. Becca had been less willing to ‘litter’ the wild camp spot and these were the first toilets we found!! They were on the other side of the canal, though, so it meant climbing over the lochs. When she got there, though, they were locked! Thankfully a canal worker was close by and felt sufficiently sorry for her to unlock them!!

Although things were still hurting, getting closer to Fort William seemed to be an energy boost. Having visited before we had an idea where to go and the rain started to ease a little.

We had a wet weather plan and so that kicked in. Becca took the boys for a walk whilst I got the tent up. So far we have managed to keep the inside of the tent dry!! There was a burger van at the Glen Nevis Campsite which provided a much anticipated evening meal (in exchange for money) and then the sun set!!

The site is at the base of Ben Nevis, which has been cloaked in cloud all evening. We are not sure, yet, whether our plan to go up is realistic or not, with these sore legs!!!?

We are more certain, though, that we won’t manage the planned route over Glen Coe, so tomorrow we will look at maps and make a new plan. After a lazy morning, of course!!

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Day Two

No Tonight is very new. We are wild camping; something I haven’t done before on my own, let alone with the family!

As I crawled into the tent last night to the chorus of everyone snoring, I lay there and felt so warm and fuzzy. We were all out on an adventure together, all happy and asleep!!

Everyone slept well so we weren’t up too early and after porridge for breakfast we were on our way!

The plan was to do 10 miles more than yesterday but also twice as much climbing. But we had all day to do it!!
The climbing started outside the campsite gate and I had to keep reminding Becca that this was the easier route! It was hard going but we kept on, undulating along the beautiful banks of Loch Ness. There weren’t too many logging trucks or your buses to ruin the views and the sunshine.

We were ready for lunch earlier than planned so we got to enjoy Loch Ness for a bit longer.

Invermoriston looked interesting but we were keen to get past the undulations and so pushed on to Fort Augustus. For Becca the 50p for the toilet was well worth it and we all enjoyed our ice creams. The sun was still blazing and we had forgotten suncream so a quick so at the garage and we were off.

The rest of the route promised to be off-road along the Caledonian Canal, basically The Great Glen Way from this point. So L got his first chance to cycle alongside us; we have his bike strapped to the back of the trailer for these occasions. As well as him loving it, it also made for a welcome change of pace. Although flat, apart from around the odd lock, we needed a slow ride as legs were starting to give up!!

From the Bridge of Oich the route goes away from the roads, down the eastern shore of Loch Oich. Truly beautiful ancient woodland. So peaceful and calm, birds singing and the promise of otters rippling the water (but only the promise!).
I did see the first of the ‘Big Five’ though. An adorable red squirrel darted for a tree as we passed. I got to watch it briefly before it ascended too high to follow.

But the highlight of the day is tonights camp! I say ‘wild’ camp in that there is no reception and shower block. It is a somewhat established wild camp spot and there are three other groups here too. It is made available through an agreement between the land owner and the Great Glen Way authorities. It meant we have had to make sure we brought enough water and everything we would need, but I have payed to stay at campsites with less facilities; there are composting toilets (rather full) and a loch to wash in!!

It is off grid and so wonderful to be here. The boys have loved running around, climbing the trees and stick fighting. Becca cooked a wonderful meal again. The stars are stunning!!

We have also heard what I think is another of the Big Five; a strange screeching noise which I think is red deer. There has also been what sounded like a red deer roar, are we getting into rutting season?
Hopefully the golden eagle will be sat on the gate post in the morning!!!

Talking of the morning, one of the other campers has said it is due to rain overnight and continue to lunchtime. So we set up for a wet pack away just in case.

I am going to look at these stars some more. Hardly any light pollution!

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Day One

An early start, a quick getaway from our hosts and 45mins into Glasgow. I have become an expert at building and packing the trailers since we had to do it once to get from the carpark to the station, then unload onto the train, then again on arrival at Inverness.

We have two trailers. One for the boys and one for the stuff. There is ongoing discussion between Becca and I about which is heaviest. At the moment she has the stuff, but that could change if she decides the boys are lighter!

Glasgow Queen Street was very good to us. Helpful staff gave us plenty of time to load everything on; the bikes were booked on but the rest was luggage!! 3hrs later, after a brief, whistlestop taster of the scenery Scotland has to offer, we made our way into Inverness.

Morrisons was the first stop and I can honestly say that I have never bought so much food on a bike tour – another big difference doing this as a family.

The first section, today, from Inverness to Drumnadrochit, is actually familiar. If you look back at the final day of my last tour (JOGLE1) you will see that it is the same. Well, kind of.
Back in 2017 Becca was in the car and I was just pulling a 9 month old in the trailer. Today, we are all on wheels, the 9 month old is now 4yrs old and son number two has joined us.

Since we weren’t going to leave Inverness till after lunch the plan was for this to be our shortest day cycle. It has also served as a good easing in for Becca, which she found tough but kept going!
I really do have an amazing wife. It is true for many reasons but today’s is that she has been willing to do this with me, having done nothing like it before. She knows it is going to be tough but she still came and has done Day One!!

The start of the ride was lovely. Along a sunlit river, being greeted by those out for a stroll. At one point we passed a group of five tricycles, which I assume was a trip from a care-home, all with two elderly folk in the front, wrapped in blankets and loving it!

image 2Then along the Caledonian Canal down to Loch Ness. We have chosen to take the western shore rather than the cycle route along the eastern shore. The downside is that it means going along the rather busy A82 for most of the Loch. The upside, ironically, is that the climbing is significantly less. We can’t avoid Glen Coe later in the trip but at least then we will have warmed up. A big climb tomorrow would have been too much, too soon, so at the end if the canal we joined the huge log trucks, the camper vans and tourist coaches on the road.

It was actually not too bad. The vehicles were all considerate and it wasn’t as busy as I hear it can be.

A highlight was the boys waking up from their afternoon nap to views over Loch Ness. Nessie has very much sparked their imagination so as well as looking out for Golden Eagles they were scouring the surface of the lake for signs of the monster!!

image 1We have not paid too much attention to the weather forecasts because they are so often useless. We were, however, expecting at least drizzle this afternoon and evening. Instead it has been blue skies and glorious sunshine. We arrived at the campsite about 5pm. Pitched the tent. Explored the site, chatting to other campers (no other cyclists yet), and Becca served up a delicious Spinach and Paneer Curry; without a doubt the best meal I have ever had on a tour!!

The boys settled well in the tent after the reasonable excitement and the distraction of a real owl hooting close by. The stars are now putting on a spectacular show as I sit providing food for the local midges. It is so good to be out camping again.

We are doing Daily Dippers for our family Bible time, so each day we pick a lollypop stick from the pack and each one has a bible word to think about. Tonight it was Redemption : Good setting us free from it sin- Ephesians 1:7
I go to bed so thankful for all The Lord’s blessings and His perfect, costly redemption!!

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