Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Girls own adventure - we made it
Well, after quite some time in the planning, it happened, it's over now and we're home safe and sound.
Last Thursday morning, Emily and I set off on our epic adventure:
08.40 we left Glasgow Central train station. 20.50 arrive at Beinglas Farm (52 miles later), to be told they've stopped serving food. Looks of utter despair got us some fish and chips and an offer to nip to the shop to get us stuff if we needed anything. So, the 12 hours in between included extracting micro ticks collected from wild goats, scaling near vertical cliffs and a phone call to Chris to beg him to come and rescue me because I couldn't do any more (he said no!). 4 hours to cover 7 miles was about the least funny thing to happen to me ever.
Friday, we left Beinglass Farm at 09.33 (not very enthusiastically it has to be said!). Arrived at Kinlochleven at 18.30 (41 miles later). A few lies about how far we'd gone seemed to help Emily, but destroyed me when I realised that we really weren't even half way. Made great time on some sections, but were passed by walkers on Devil's Staircase. Of course, we took no prisoners on the way down the other side (well, except those damned water bars!).
Saturday, we left Kinlochleven at 09.23. Arrived at Fort Augustus around 18.00 (the shop was still open, so it can't have been any later than that). Started the day with over an hour of portage out of Kinlochleven. Passed by every walker on the planet who all gave us loads of sympathy and encouragement then muttered that we were the maddies! We became minor celebrities on the decent as we flew past them, tinging my bell, grinning, then it all stopped when I got a puncture and the spare tube had a broken valve. All the walkers passed us again. Much swearing on my part and much patience on Emily's! We got them back when we flew past them again when everything was fixed. All well until we got to the woods at the top of Glen Nevis when someone put concrete in my tyres and legs. It took a stupid length of time, and a few tantrums from me, before we eventually got into Fort Bill (3 hours to ride 14 miles is just not right!). Then onto the flat of the Great Glen Way and Caledonian Canal, except there seemed to be a force 5 gale blowing against us. Anyway, we eventually got to some sheltered singletrack and all was well. Made it into Fort Augustus in enough time to go to the shop for emergency cake and milkshake before getting the warmest welcome from our B&B lady (who had been bragging about us all day to the other guests apparently because they were just on motor bikes). Got much respect from blokes in pub when we said that, yes, we really had taken bikes up that last bit of Loch Lomondside.
Sunday. Text to Chris telling him that I really can't face my bike - reply "PEDAL". So, set of at 10.15 after picking up lunch (no real places to get provisions on the last stretch and it was a Sunday too). We opted to take the Great Glen Way rather than the Great Glen Cycle Path which appears to be a dull ride which takes you on more detours than are really necessary and no singletrack. So, a steady climb out of Fort Augustus in quite nice pine forests and lovely sunshine, then decending at breakneck spead into Drumnadrochit 3 hours later. Quick picnic lunch, then a push, climb, push, climb for about an hour up to the highest point on the GGW. Blooming freezing despite the sun, so keep going. And going. And going. This is possibly the longest 19 miles in history. Some nice, fast singletrack decents. Onto a wee road which could easily have been in Spain. Keep plodding, then back into gale force winds as Inverness and the north sea appear in the distance.
Arrive to a hero's welcome in Inverness. Buy cakes, milkshake, razors and soap (a bit smelly and hairy by this time). Only enough energy for a single glass of celebratory fizz with tea then sleep.
Plan to meet Chris, Chipps and Marty in Aviemore on monday morning didn't go quite as planned when they wouldn't let us on the train because it was full. Quick, tearful call to Chris prompted a rescue mission. So we got to Aviemore in time for lunch at the Mountain Cafe before going for a train ride on the steam railway, then a pootle back to Aviemore, on the THE CAKE SHOP (mmmmmmmmm) and back by the rutting deers.
Work today ...booo.