Saturday 27 April 2013
View Trip 2: Mull of Kintyre in a larger map
Today’s destination was the Mull of Kintyre – Oh mists rolling in from the sea, my desire … but not today, oh no, sunshire, blue skies and light winds were the order of the day. And FREEZING wind-chill. My God, it was cold.
I headed up the A82 out of Glasgow, past Loch Lomond, and, for the first time ever, felt compelled to stop and take a picture of Ben Lomond, basking in the sun:
Up to Tarbet where the road splits, I took the A83 and followed it round to Arrochar. As I came over the brow of the hill as the road descends into the village, I got a crystal clear view of The Cobbler (aka Ben Arthur), so, again I stopped here for another photo:
Onwards to Inveraray and more photo opportunites – isn’t it amazing how a bit of sunshine brings out the photographer in me:
From here, the A83 continues to Lochgilphead then Tarbert (that’s TarbeRt, not to be confused with TarbEt, mentioned earlier):
Leaving Tarbert, the road crosses to the west coast of the penninsula and it’s an exposed ride down to Campbeltown. On the way there, I noticed the ferry from Islay coming in to Kennacraig, so yet more photos here:
Approaching Campbeltown, I saw a sign for Machrihanish where an old wartime airfield was located so I detoured off the main road to have a look. It turns out, it’s now the Campbeltown Airport, a vast international hub with multiple terminals and a dedicated rail link (not!):
I left Glasgow at 8.45 am, and as it was now 1 pm and I hadn’t even made it to Campbeltown yet, I pressed on. As I left the airport, I joined a different road into the town. With only 2 miles to go, I then saw a sign post for Southend, from where I’d get to the Mull of Kintyre. The only reason I was going to Campbeltown was to take the road to Southend, so it seemed daft to continue to the town, when I could turn here. So a right turn it was and within a few miles, I found another sign to the Mull of Kintyre. Apart from Paul McCartney’s song, I have to confess, I had no idea what the Mull of Kintyre was so I didn’t really know if I was looking for a beach, a promontary or what? Then, just before I got to the point where the land looked like it was going to run out, I saw it, a sign saying “Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse – 8 miles”. Would you believe it – this was becoming like hill-walking – every time you think you’ve reached the summit, another peak comes along. But I’d come this far and I wasn’t going to cheat myself now, so I made another right turn and followed the road west.
Ever since I’d seen the sign for Southend I’d been on single-track roads, but this has to be one of the worst ones I’ve ever been on. It rose steeply up a hillside and narrowed into a tight-rope of a passageway. It was strewn with potholes and broken edges. Just when I was thinking, “I don’t think this road has ever been resurfaced in its life”, I came round a bend to find a resurfacing truck blocking the road with the driver asleep behind the wheel. A quick toot of my horn woke him from his slumbers and he pulled over enough for me to squeeze past.
When I eventually made it to the end of the road, there was fence blocking access to an even smaller road which presumably took one round to the lighthouse on foot. But I was too cold and hungry by now to walk the indeterminate distance to the out of sight lighthouse, so turned around and headed back to Southend.
It was 2.30 pm before I found somewhere to have lunch. I only had soup and a sandwich, but when I remounted, there seemed to be considerable strain on my waistband and within a few miles of heading off, I had to stop and un-do the buttons on my riding trousers. They must have particularly fatty tuna in this part of the country.
I took a wrong turn out of Southend and ended up taking another beautiful, single-track road round to Campbeltown. But it took ages to cover the ground and when I eventually got to the town, it was 4 pm.
As if nearly losing my fingers to frostbite wasn’t enough for me, I decided to take another single-track road all the way back to Kennacraig from Campbeltown, instead of going straight up the A83. Although stunning, it took over an hour to cover the 30-odd miles. However, remarkably, I arrived back in Tarbert just in time to catch the 5.15 pm ferry to Portavadie on the Cowal Penninsula. This meant I wouldn’t have to go all the way back up to Inveraray, and would cut about 20 miles off my journey.
The road up the Cowal Penninsula has a fabulous viewpoint which overlooks Loch Riddon and the Kyles of Bute so a final photostop before making the last push home.
By the time I got back to Glasgow it was 8 pm. I’d spent almost twelve hours on the road with not much more than an hour off the bike for photo-stops and lunch. But what a day – it may have been freezing but God, Scotland is beautiful!
|Trip 2 – Mull of Kintyre|
The position so far:
|Total this Trip||295||474.8|
|Total to Date||440||708.1||£99.85|
|Left to Go||2,667||4,291.9||£4,900.15|
Remember, you can find out more about my “5K for £5K Challenge” here or make a donation by clicking the image below. Thank you.