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Thursday, 12 April 2012

All Alone In The Wilds

With the Easter long weekend approaching I decided to plan a lengthy and more challenging cycle. So full of enthusiasm I phoned Duff. Surely everyone gets time off at Easter. But there was to be bad news as the manic work schedule wouldn't allow it. This was not a good start. Trying not to let the loss of my good buddy get to me I decided I'm a respectable 30 years old man. I have my own house and car. Not to mention outdoor gardening broom. 

Things quickly fell into place as I found out both my sisters families would be in Tighnabruaich at the family holiday home. It was around 60 miles away and manageable. So I planned my route and decided to leave on Good Friday.

In the text and pictures below you can follow me on what was a journey full of fun and enjoyment.

As I awoke at 7.15 with a planned departure of 8 I  took my first pick. I can look much worse at 7.15.
So "take lots of pictures for the blog" I thought. "chart the whole journey. It'll make great reading" I thought. This would be the making of me!

Quick as a flash I was on my bike. This was my first opportunity to take a picture for the blog. Please see my first pictures below.

 This was going badly. Turned out things weren't as easy without my friend Duff. Heroically I showed my steely resolve and set off. It was raining but there was little wind and conditions were good.  I enjoy the freedom and peacefulness of cycling for miles and I was looking forward to the trip.

My first stop was Bridge of Weir. Below is my noble steed on what must surely be the Bridge of Weir.

 After a 5 minute stop, a mars bar and a sip of my water I set off. As I got to Kilmacolm I came across these warriors. They are excellent. I didn't want to stop as an old man with a beard was stopped. So, I took this pic on the hoof. There was a white warrior on the other side. Pip from work said it is the creation of some artist. I liked it.
 Rolling on I saw the peaks of the Port Glasgow castles (see below).
Port Glasgow seems to be known for its street artistry. Andy seems to be the YP number 1. I think FTP stands for friend to the people. What a nice place.

The pic below I think was after I passed the port glasgow/Greenock border. These derelict  houses didn't look so healthy and I wondered what I was cycling into.
  I was cycling into this great view!
Why people don't want to stay here is beyond me. The view is terrific. As I cycled on I must have seen at least 12 mattresses and 3 hoovers. This was basically free household goods for anyone who wants to come and pick them up. Unfortunately, I then missed a turning. I ended up on a street. Immediately I realised I should've seen a sign. As I turned round I noticed I was on the top street of Greenock. The houses didn't look so smiley. I looked at the street name it said Mackie Street but had been graffited with some genius wit. A little concerned I decided not to take a picture and head back to the path. I regretted this decision for.. In fact I still regret not taking a picture so I have recreated the scene below
There is no need for the y but it still made me laugh.

I felt the van above was worth a picture. If ever you need an egg in Greenock you should go to this bloke for the slogan alone. 

 I new the cycle track linked up with the ferry to Dunoon. I had taken the ferry many times as a youngster when I was going on holiday. However, the ferry I new was a big car ferry and this was just a passenger ferry. It definitely said Dunoon. That was good enough for me and I hopped on.

Rammed to capacity

I had travelled about 33 mainly flat miles. I new the next 26 mile section was to be more challenging. I cycled up hill for over ten miles and stopped at Loch Tarsan. See below

My video footage isn't super. I sound like a big slow ned.

 It was still raining and I saw no point in stopping. I did, however, have to stop twice on the steepest hill. My Dad said it's called ballachabuch or something like that. Anyway, great news was to follow as I reached the view point. I new this wasn't far from Tighnabruaich. I also new it was mainly down hill.

 I arrived at 1.45. The afternoon was super. We went out on the gnu with Ricky and the kids and later I went to the pub with my sisters.

As I left to go home the weather wasn't at its best. the scene below is the same as the viewpoint above. I think I was in a cloud.

I tried to take a picture of Ballachabuch to show its incredible gradient. This picture just doesn't do it justice.

Again I stopped at Loch Tarsan as I new it was mainly down hill from here on in. I checked my texts to see my Mum had text to say ferries were one per hour. It was 10.10am. I felt the 10.50 ferry was worth a try. It was roughly 11 miles away. I had a sporting chance. If I could keep the speedo above 16mph I could make it. I set off with jet heels. The wind was at my back and I flew down the hills.

Careering along the front towards Dunoon I was on target. I could see the boat. As I arrived I looked to go down the jetty only for a man to shout "you've missed it, next ones in an hour". I checked my watch and it was 10.49. I had misjudged my mileage and had done 13.5 since I stopped. Oh well, it was Sunday and I wasn't in a hurry. I videoed the ferry sailing off and decided to cycle two miles back to the car ferry. I should just've got it in the first place. 

 The music on the handlebar radio in the video was the Sunday morning sidewalk by Johnny Cash. It was pure coincidence that it was Sunday morning and I was on the sidewalk.

Below is the car ferry. The men were pleasant and friendly and asked where I had been. One man told me he used to go to Tighnabruaich in his mini and could only make it up balachabuch in reverse. We laughed and I decided this was a nicer ferry to be on anyway.

I continued at good speeds on the way home although the wind in my face slowed me down. All in this was a great trip and I realised again how much extra freedom I had since retiring from football in January. Hopefully these pages will be filled with Duff in the next update and the uberchallenge will continue with a full compliment and twice the fun.

1 comment:

  1. LOL.

    I thought you knew the difference between new and knew?