Out of the rainJuly 22nd, 2015 | Posted by in UK
Lochgilphead to Oban
Distance: 67 km
Next time I’m home and struggling to stir myself out of bed, I will remember this morning. For the second night in a row, my tent had sheltered me from slashes of rain and wind. Wetness surrounded me. A small pool had collected by the flap of my tent door, the ground felt soft with the water underneath, and lifting my thermarest revealed yet more dampness. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time I peered out the tent to see a dismal grey sky. The forecast I’d seen for today showed full heavy rain for the entire day. I suppose I should call this grey but dry sky good sky. I packed as hastily as I could and then moved my sodden tent to flap as dry as it could while my Dad and I sheltered in the lean-to to eat breakfast.
We called my Mum for help. For the next half an hour or so, my Mum looked up hotels and B&Bs in Oban on her iPad, several hundred miles away, and fed us numbers to call. We called one, we called another. Then another. But everywhere was full. By this time, my tent had flapped enough to be near-ish dry and so we packed up and went on our way.
It rained on and off all morning. I had an extra thermal on to keep off the cold. How on earth do Scottish people cope? Is this really their idea of summer? Nonetheless, the cycling was easy enough as the strong wind pushed us up the many contours. We learnt to identify how close we were to the summit and what the path would do next by looking at the streams. After so much rain, the streams were full of life, gushing with white water down the rocks. It was pleasing to mark our ascent by seeing the fast flowing water coming down and then, having passed a small watershed, to start cycling downstream on the other side of the summit.
There wasn’t much life beyond the trees, the sheep and the lively water. The road was pretty quiet and only two, maybe three, clusters of houses en route were big enough to warrant a village sign. We pushed to Oban in search of somewhere warm and dry.
My Dad led us to a lovely restaurant that apparently I had been to some 14 years ago (I don’t remember the restaurant though I do remember eating Irn Bru ice cream in Oban). We took a window seat by the waterfront restaurant from where we could see the ferry boats coming and going, loaded with tourists. I munched my way through, first, a mini haggis pie, then, smoked salmon and scrambled egg and then I polished off the remnant of my Dad’s burger and chips (he’d decided he didn’t really like burger half way through, either that or the beer had gone to his head because he became weary and stopped eating). Joy of joys, as I looked out the window again a large patch of blue sky had appeared. Not quite believing our luck, I checked the weather forecast online using the restaurant wifi to find full sun and warmth forecast for the rest of the day. Who needs a B&B in his glorious weather? Hurrah!
Done cycling for the day, we pottered around the town, collecting goodies from the distillery and supermarket before heading to the campsite to have a well-needed wash and rest. We laundered our stinky cycling clothes and while they flapped in the cool sunshine, we flopped. Another day done.