LEJOG - Day 11 (Loch Lomond > Glen Coe)

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3rd August 2010 - We set off at around 09:00 after a decent Scottish breakfast. The day before had been one of our shortest LEJOG days so we were relatively fresh. While being short, it was still a hard day due to the open landscape and strong headwinds. One thing we learnt, no matter which direction we cycled in, there seemed to be a headwind. So in the end we just learnt to accept it.

We cycled along a cycle path that runs around Loch Lomond all the way to the very top (which is around 30km or more). It was perfect cycling along a wide, well tarmaced path, with the loch on our right and midgies not able to keep up. We took plenty of photos enjoying the views. So much so our pace was quite slow and we had to push quite a lot harder later. We also randomly ended up on the private drive of Loch Lomond golf course after going through a swing gate. I wasn't sure if we should be there, but we didn't care and cycled along. We did come to a big gate and weren't sure if we were on the public or private side of the gate (we were on the private side!), but the guard was fine and let us through. If you can find it, it's worth going down and no one seems to care.

After leaving the cycle path we rejoined the A82 which was no longer dual carriageway. It wasn't very enjoyable though. The tarmac was the high vibration sort which drained the arms and legs. And drivers seemed to become idiots when faced with cyclist in their way. It's no joke that every day they have crashes along there. The round winds left and right meaning there are a lot of blind turns but cars still over take each other and at high speed. I tended to stick closer to the middle of the lane if a dangerous opportunity approached to deter drivers behind me from trying to overtake even if they found it annoying. Usually Daryl was at the back creating the Daryl car train (a theme throughout the trip) so had to handle that pressure. We saw a 4x4 that had rolled a number of times probably only 20 minutes before we got there. So there was glass everywhere and the police had arrived to tape off the area.

The roads never really got any better in that area, going all the way to Glen Coe. Being quite remote, there's typically only one road you can take and no country lanes like in England (where we were spoilt). It was very picturesque though passing lochs and between the surround hills. Around the half way mark we stopped off for a fish and chips at the Real Food Cafe. On the outside it didn't look great, but inside the service was good and food very tasty. It had been drizzling for the past hour two, so while an unplanned stop, it was nice to get out of the rain.

After lunch we upped the pace as we were a little behind schedule. I can't remember too much of this part of the stage, apart from that the roads were long and open, and head winds strong. It wasn't the most enjoyable cycling in my opinion, but we got on with it. Daryl got clipped by a wing mirror but thankfully no damage was done (to the car). As we approached Glen Coe though, the scenary becaming quite amazing and the strong head winds even stronger (it was like being in a wind tunnel between the hills). My rear rain cover kept coming off (still held by the ties) and would act like a rear parachute which was annoying.

We arrived at the hostel at around 6pm. I had made a booking mistake, well partly. The awful Scottish YHA website doesn't respond to back clicks very well. I had set the correct date, clicked back to add breakfast, and the site had modified the booking date to a day or so after the date when I was booking. So we turned up 2 months after our booked date, without a booking for today during peak season. Luckily we got the last 3 beds otherwise I don't know where we would have gone as everywhere was fully booked. The hostel wasn't up to much and the midges were everywhere much to Daryl's displeasure (he managed to get bites on his forehead). We went to the local pub, The Clachaig Inn, which was absolutely packed. The food was good though (apart from Dayrl's and the stingy portion of veg they gave him). After a cheeky beer we walked back to the hostel and got to bed.

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