Back at the campsite we had a nice quiet evening, then walked to the pub for a meal.
The next morning turned out to be pretty dry (for the Hebrides). As we had a reasonably cycle ahead of us, we decided to take out time about getting packed up and start the morning properly with some coffee.
After coffee, back to the familiar routine of rolling up the sleeping bags, packing up the tent, and trying to remember how to fit everything on the back of the bike 😉 Then, heading back along the road to Pennyghael, hopefully in time to miss the endless stream of tourist coach tours that run back and forth from Craignure to the Iona ferry.
The plan was to cycle up along the B road (avoiding the tourist coaches) and look into camping at the Killiechronan… Moz isn’t too sure about heading to Ulva. I suspect he’s still feeling pretty tired from Monday. I suppose fine dining in Italy, with only a bit of cricket for exercise isn’t great preparation for a cycling trip. I decide to just go with the flow: life at home has been somewhat stressful with job insecurity etc, so it’s nice just to spend the afternoon pedalling along the quiet roads in the sun.
The road nicely trundles along across the open landscape
We stop off again at Pennyghael, this time for a bacon roll, coffee and slice of lemon cake. You know, it’s important to eat well on trips like this.
Just after Pennyghael we turn west onto the quiet B-road. Very few cars, and the traffic is mainly made up of sheep.
The cycle up and over the peninsular took a while. We had a cheese and oatcake picnic near the top, and then up and over and a nice long downhill.
The weather has been surprisingly good… sunny enough that putting sun-cream on seems like a good idea!
We finally get to the campsite by the middle of the afternoon. It turns out to be pretty much in the middle of nowhere, with not much in the way of facilities, and it looks like there is going to be a group of kids staying there (working on their Duke of Edinburgh award). I suggest that we could just keep on cycling and get to the Ulva ferry by five pm. Moz doesn’t seem to sure but eventually decides its worth a shot. It’s not like we’d have much to do between now and sunset. So back on the bikes and off we go. It’s only another 7 miles or so anyway.
Turns out there’s a bit of hard work required to get up and over the final headland, and Moz comes close to running out of steam:
We finally made it though, and just in time to wave the ferry man over to pick us up before he finished work for the day.
We’re a little apprehensive getting to Ulva as we arrive just after 5pm, and the Boathouse cafe. However in more good news, they’re happy to sell us some drinks and cake while they’re shutting up for the day.
After a pint, I think even Moz agrees that the effort was worthwhile. Ulva is very quiet and tranquil. Just what I need really. And they have beer from the micro-brewery on Colonsay!
We stock up on supplies (as much beer as we can carry on the bikes) and head inland to find somewhere to camp. It turns out Ulva doesn’t have much in the way of roads.
Not exactly the best terrain for a tour bike. Not when we’ve already had a puncture. And, the road becomes more broken and rockier as we progress. Part of it is close to just walking up a steam – it’s a good thing it hasn’t been raining a lot recently. We end up dropping some of the bags off by the side of the road to pick up later.
We find a nice quiet camping spot by the old church. We would have liked to have explored a little more, and maybe camped by the coast, but you’d need an off-road bike (or travel by foot) to explore properly.
It’s quite a melancholy building when you consider the size of it. I think it was built just before the clearances reached the island.
The weather held, and we had a great evening cooking our camping food, drinking the beer (well worth the effort of carrying it up here) and watching the stars. I even saw a couple of shooting stars. Sadly, there’s no way my camera would do the starscape justice.