The Diary - Part Twelve
Day 12 - Thursday 13th July
Today, like many before it, started with a visit to the bike mechanics. Both Doug and Matt's bikes needed attention this morning, so off we trundled to Oban Cycles.
Unfortunately, the owner of Oban cycles was not in quite as much of a hurry as we were, so by the time he turned up to work at 9.45am, we we already over an hour behind our intended schedule with two bike repairs still to be carried out! However, the mechanic set about helping us swiftly and efficiently and, after purchasing much junk food from the local Tesco, we finally left Oban at 11.15am.
Well, we tried to leave Oban at 11.15. Matt decided that he really needed to go back to the Youth Hostel because he had left his pasty in the fridge.
The first bit of cycling was unneccessarily arduous - a massive steep hill out of Oban got the blood circulating in the legs before we headed north towards Connell and over the bridge there (with some fantastic views)before reaching another bridge at Ballaculish.
Before today we had only met three JOGLErs - and that was by prior engagement down in Bristol. Just two days away from John O'Groats and we finally met up with some fellow LEJOGers at Ballaculish Bridge. We mistook the bandy-legged teenager and his mate for a couple of schoolkids out killing another day in the summer holidays. In fact, they had been completing the 1,000 mile end-to-end journey over the same time as we had. But they did it on BMXs.
The race was on. Each time we stopped for a breather, they caught us up. Each time they stopped to fix a puncture, we cycled on past. Soon enough the seven of us caught up with a second group of LEJOGers. For a brief moment, ten bikes took charge of the roads of Scotland.
A late lunch was had in the gardens at Fort William (at the foot of Ben Nevis) before cracking on past Loch Lochy and Loch Oich (great names - great views) to Fort Augustus at the south-western edge of Loch Ness. Here we stocked up on frozen lasagnes and oven chips and watched in awe as the locals placed bets at their annual plastic duck race down the river.
By now we were getting tired and, thanks to the particularly late start, it was beginning to get dark. Doug had developed a problem with his achilles tendon and we were all anxious to reach the Youth Hostel to get rested and fed for the night. The photo opportunity at Invermoriston was therefore pretty brief.
Just after 8pm, we arrived at Loch Ness SYHA and, after the robot on reception had checked us in, we decamped and set about cooking our lasagne. Later that evening, a young lad doing a solo JOGLE checked in to the hostel. He had set off from John O'Groats that morning, covering about 170 miles. Nutter.
Day: 12, Distance: 89.9miles, Cycling Time: 6 hrs 02 mins, Ave Speed: 14.9mph, Max Speed: 36.1mph.