An early start for breakfast was needed given that we were on a tight time schedule, something that I am sure you will appreciate is not the Hitchcock’s fortè. This may sound a bit darish and not very charitable, but we did actually do a runner from the hotel (completely justified we thought). Primarily, there was no hot water for post cycle showers (some more things as well) - a major blow for team morale. We left our details at reception, told the owner to ring us and made a swift exit.
As we left the hotel in Crinan we set along a beautiful cycle path beside the canal. As most of the cycle paths we’ve cycled on, it abruptly came to an end and it seemed to signal the end of the dry atmosphere. The weather quickly developed from a refreshing light drizzle, to a downpour only comparable to the one seen in the film Jumanji. The terrain added to our sluggish start and the flat cycle path was all but a distant memory. The roads started weaving their way through the Scottish Highlands, but thankfully, as so often on this trip, we found solace at the bottom on the hill in the shape of a cake stop.
As soon as we’d thoroughly tested all of the cakes we jumped back on the bikes with a new found vigour and were ready to battle the elements. The new lease of life didn’t last long with the first hill sapping all of our instilled energy and confidence. Battling up the 13% hills and torrential rain it was a relief to see the fun bus parked at the ferry port with the thought of dry clothes and a rest bite from the biting wind very comforting.
With the first ferry trip over we rather sea sickly landed on the Isle of Aarren, then riding the 16 miles to the other side of the island (to catch another ferry). With lunchtime very much at the front of the mind the belly began to rumble. Arriving at the ferry port with 5 minutes to spare it seemed as though lunch was foregone, but it was fate that there happened to be a Fish & Chip shop in eyesight. Chips all around as well as a few battered Mars Bars (opinions were mixed, but I was a big fan) quickly scoffed to fuel us for the afternoon.
With only 15 miles left this afternoon it was a quick adjustment to urban cycling as flocks of sheep quickly changed into white cars. Eventually (after getting lost again) we have arrived at our hotel in Troon. Right next to the Royal Troon golf club with views over the sea and we are very lucky to be treated with a tasty looking restaurant. Sadly not the usual Friday night consumption of alcohol as the ferry over to Northern Ireland calls for an early start.
Also, I thought I’d tell you that I am writing with a renewed spirit as today signals our last day in Scotland! It seems one step closer to that finish line, something that seemed out of reach on that very first climb out of John O’Groats.
Onto our entertainment correspondence to update you with the latest X Factor results:
I'm pleased to announce that Esther won ‘Donkey Night’ with a perfect rendition of ‘Eee Ow’ from Winnie the Poo! Notable mentions are Harry, Ed and Caroline who were shortlisted.
Disclaimer: We are always looking at ways to improve our blog and raise more money so please let us know if you have any ideas!
Just in case you didn't know the just giving website is:
Some photos from today (sadly not too many due to the rain)