Published: May 6th 2012May 5th 2012
The hills, the hills ! They seem to have taken over from the wind on this very arduous day from Whitehouse to Connell just above Oban. It was climb after climb with a few nasty ones on the road to Seil Island, which is reached by going over the Atlantic Bridge, which has a very steep arch and is very attractive. Unfortunately I could not take a photograph of it for this current blog because I need it to be on this I Pad and we had left our bags holding it in a disused telephone box near the Oban Road. The pub by the bridge is named in Gallic and means 'The House of Trousers' since when kilts were banned on the Scottish mainland the locals used to take off their kilts and change to trousers for their trip to Scotland and changed back on their return. We rode about eight miles to the bridge onto Seil and then another three to the small ferry at Seal Island Village to take us onto the dump that is Easdale. Easdale is very small and consists of slate and is occupied by small single storey cottages as you would find in a Wales slate village. Apparently it is well known for its annual World stone skimming competition but tonight the main attraction in the village hall is the band called 'String Driven'. They were making their way across on the microferry at the rime we were crossing so we helped them overload the ferry and scrambled on top of their instruments to make our journey across. It was such a disappointment we jumped back on the ferry 10 minutes later. The ferry captain to Luing was quite deft at landing sideways on the sloping dock to allow drivers to point the right way for driving away. On our way north we had stopped in Ardrishaig for a coffee and scone and then followed the Crinian canal, which was rather scenic as the canal rose through 12 locks to its summit, just after which we left it turning right to rejoin the main Oban road. This is when the hills started - I knew we should not have stopped. Eventually we arrived in Oban as it was getting much colder and we stopped at Lidl to stock up on carbos to help us do the last 5 miles to friend David's house in Connell just over the large iron bridge.
Summary of our first week.
We have now visited 10 Islands and covered over 400 miles in what must be some of the most picturesque scenry in the British Isles. We have been lucky that it has stayed fine for us and quite sunny, in fact my face looks like it has cought the sun or has suffered a sever case of wind rash. Each island is different and has some unique feature to show, whether it be rugged coastline and sandy beaches or hills of every shape and contour. The wildlife has also been quite an eyeopener with many species of bird seen which are rare, or seldom seen, south of the border. We have also been met with great hospitality by everyone and many have helped with free accommodarion on most nights and people have given most generously to our chosen charity of Cancer Research wherever we have gone. Excellent week, let us hope that it continues.