Day 12 - Kilmelford to Fort William

My host Tom McKay eventually showed up last night, and this morning he gave me the statutory hearty cooked breakfast. When I took out my wallet to pay the £9 I still owed (having sent a £10 deposit in advance), he said, "No, put that towards your charities." I was very touched.

It was tipping it down, so I dawdled before leaving, hoping the rain would relent. But it clearly wasn't going to, so just before 9 I set off fully covered in all my waterproofs from head to toe. I covered the 16 miles to Oban, relatively flat but with two hills, and bought some rolls and a doughnut from the baker there. There was little traffic on this stretch, but after Oban it increased markedly as far as Connel but became quieter after the single lane bridge there. The rain was continuous, so I stopped at a caravan park where there was a little shop and some shelter under which to prepare my sandwiches.

A few miles further on, after Barcaldine, I had read (in another cyclist's diary) that there was an old bridge which one could walk across, thus saving 6 miles. This bridge turned out to have been upgraded into a full road bridge since that cyclist's visit!

I continued north, mostly alongside various lochs, but was unable to enjoy them properly because of the weather. I was riding with my hood over my head, giving decent protection from the rain, but making it hard to look around while one cycled.

Eventually, near Ballachulish, I met the A82 from Glasgow and crossed another bridge. Immediately afterwards there was a spectacular whole field full of bluebells, but I was unable to photograph it because the rain was more or less horizontal at this point, being driven by heavy winds off the loch.

The traffic increased ten fold from here on, with masses of impatient (presumably city-based) drivers all trying to break the world land speed record on a tiny road along Loch Linhe. With an hour still to go to Fort William, I stopped in an old shed for my doughnut, and at this point the rain stopped and the sun started to make its first appearance of the day. I was able to enjoy (apart from the traffic) the final 10 miles along the loch to my B&B, and arrived almost dried out.

My hostess turned out to be a rather grumpy lady, but the place was OK. After a shower I walked along the loch side into town for a meal. It was a pleasant, sunny evening.

Today: 59 miles, average speed 10.6. Ascent: 2260 ft at average of 38.3 ft/mile. Interesting to note that this is the lowest daily ascent and lowest ft/mile figure of the whole ride so far.