Onward to Castlebay

Posted by on 28, Aug 2021 in 2021 - Edinburgh to JOG, Tilly the Tandem, UK

Onward to Castlebay

Heading north from Tarbert we had two options, follow the minor road around the coast on 3 sides of a square and over the hills or take the short Main road on the remaining side of the square.

Knowing us it will come as no surprise to read that we took the shorter option and with the exception of one idiot lorry driver found the short ride fine along the picturesque coastal road.

The lorry driver was a complete idiot. He came around a bend behind us too fast and hadn’t seen us prior to the bend and of course a lorry was coming the other way so he had virtually no room to pass us on the narrow road.

His answer was to hoot us and carry on, he couldn’t have stopped anyway and fortunately I’d seen him barrel around the corner in my mirrors and we quickly hopped into the hedge.

Why do so many vehicle drivers simply not care about their own or other peoples lives? If we had been a broken down lorry he would have hit us and so many cars hurtle around bends oblivious to the dangers. Slow down on corners – it may save your life.

We get a lot of stick for not wearing helmets, but yet again (the 3rd time now) our lives were saved by our mirrors. A helmet is no good if a 37 tonne lorry plows into you, but a mirror gives you that extra few seconds to bail out.

We did this twice in the States to avoid lumber lorries and again this trip and thees lorries made no effort to move over and would have killed us had we not had mirrors. So I never understand why so many cyclists with helmets but no mirrors or bright daylight running lights have a go at us for our head gear.

The short cycle on the main road meant we could then pickup yet another canal and have a gorgeous cycle up to Kilmartin for our next overnight at the foot of the big hills.

We weren’t looking forward to these and the next day headed along a tiny road up and down all day on a slow cycle to Taybuilt. Fortunately someone had a fab cafe at the exact half way mark for us to recharge with a coffee stop in an otherwise uninhabited journey.

The hills weren’t too bad in the end. We did an awful lot of pushing up them but once at the top had some really nice roller coaster downhills where our momentum was just enough to carry us up to the top of the next brow before plunging down again. This and the views along Loch Awe were in fact Awesome!

We rolled into Taynuilt quite tired, refreshed ourselves in the bar and then headed onto Oban the next day on our favourite cycle of the trip so far.

Again, another utterly deserted road – 15 km and we didn’t see a car or house- and loved the tranquility of the ride. We passed some Highland cattle that couldn’t be bothered to move off the road for us and just looked us up and down as we walked past and sat by a stream for a flask of coffee with the only noise audible the water itself. Oddly there’s very few birds in these remote areas, or if there are they are very quiet.

We arrived in Oban and the sun came out! We took complete advantage of this and headed to the qauy for cocktail in the sunshine watching the ferries come and go.

We even managed to get into a restaurant for dinner with a graat panoramic view of the harbour and excellent pasta.

We had a very relaxing rest day in Oban but sadly the weather had reverted to greyness and got worse for the ferry the next day by which time it was chucking it down and was cold.

We waited with the 30 or 40 other cyclists to board the ferry in the rain and we were the only ones with all weather gear on staying nice and dry. Everyone else looked a bit cold and damp in their cycle gear.

Scotland still mandates that you needed to wear a mask inside and use the track and trace app when in Restaurants. We’ve not seen much evidence of people ignoring this or complaining and the only people you see without masks inside – or doing that putting the mask on as you walk inside so that by the time you reach your table you’ve managed to fit it – are English. They’re also the ones with the masks just over their mouths as it’s obviously too much of an intellectual challenge to wear it properly.

Anyway, the ferry sailed on time and arrived in Castlebay early evening after being escored by some large dolphins putting on a show for the passengers. After disembarking into a bleak landscape we let all the other cyclists plough on ahead up the hill out of the port in case we couldn’t manage it! No need to let them see us pushing…

Our b&B was a short cycle from the port and when we checked in the lady didn’t give us a key. We were heading out for tea so asked and she told us “oh no love, I don’t lock anything up” so we cycled off back to Castlebays only restaurant for a very nice Indian. The best on the islands it said which probably isn’t hard as its one of two Indians on the islands…

Now for the cycle north….


  1. Epic trip diary with interesting food for thought about mirrors. Oban is a lovely port and doing a dot to dot of your route is just unimaginable. What’s the incidence of punctures this trip?

    • ???? Don’t jinx it Leon!! Zero so far, but I’m holding you responsible for any from now on!

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