Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tour d'Ecosse 2016 Planning

We are nearly there. Our 'Grand Depart' is on Saturday 2nd July from Ardrossan, where we will hopefully return two weeks later after:
15 islands 14 nights 13 ferries 12(000)m ascent
11 islands 10(00)km 9 B&Bs 8 shoes
7 Puffins 6 pairs cycling shorts 5 seals 4 hostels
3 spare inner tubes  2 hearts 1 dream.

Well the puffins and seals are hopeful!

Meanwhile a 1000km south of Ardrossan the Tour de France kicks off in Brittany!
We have detailed routes for every day which roughly adds up to this whole (this map includes ferry kilometres). I have the nerdiest of nerdy spreadsheets with all route details, ferry times, accommodation details and places of interest, based on the excellent Cycling in the Herbrides guide by Richard Barrett and published by Cicerone Press.

Basically we have to ride Plan A otherwise Plan B takes effect. A bit like the referendum, we don't really have a Plan B other than we can get a train from Oban, Kyle or Mallaig back to Glasgow and Ardrossan if disaster strikes. Between us we have a heart condition and a knee replacement so we are only carrying the minimum, which rules out camping, and we have to have accommodation booked or run the risk of hypothermia! Cal Mac ferry timetable rules the plan. if we miss a ferry we're up the loch without a paddle.

For instance, on Sunday, we cannot get from Arran to Islay without wasting the whole day, any other day of the week is fine. We have to be off Arran on Saturday by 18.30 ferry, so a B&B is booked on Kintyre peninsula that night. We cannot get a ferry from Islay to Oban as that only runs on a Saturday and a Wednesday, we tried reversing the route or starting in Oban, but no option has us on Islay on the right day without wasting time, so we are getting the Jura Passenger Ferry to Tayvallich from Jura, and riding up to Oban (as the ferry is not on Ride w GPS it would not let me route that way so the above is not quite accurate)

Travelling light.....
Oh, and we're supposedly going over Bealach na Baa from Applecross. The highest road pass in the UK.

It will be wet, it will be windy, there will be midges. We can't wait. I had better go and finish stuffing all that lot into panniers before we shoot up to Penrith tomorrow night to stay with my parents for 6 hours and head for the 11.05 am ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick on Saturday.

Weather forecast for Saturday, Lightening/storm at 11am and heavy rain with sunny intervals and a stiff westerly all afternoon.

Tour d'Ecosse quick links:

Day 1 Isle of Arran and a little Mull of Kintyre
Day 2 Inner Hebrides: Isles of Islay and Jura
Day 3 Inner Hebrides: Isle of Jura-Tayvallich to Oban
Day 4 Oban to Outer Hebrides: Barra and Vatersay
Day 5 Outer Hebrides: Isles of Barra Eriskay South Uist Benbecula Grimsay North Uist Beneray and Harris
Day 6 Outer Hebrides: Isles of Harris and Lewis to Callanish Stones
Day 7 Outer Hebrides: Butt of Ness to Stornoway and Ullapool
Day 8 Ullapool to Gairloch
Day 9 Gairloch to Shieldaig - Applecross Peninsula
Day 10 Bealach na Bà from Applecross to Plockton
Day 11 Plockton to Inner Hebrides: Isle of Skye Armadale
Day 12 Inner Hebrides: Isle of Skye Armadale to Ardnamurchan
Day 13 Ardnamurchan to Inner Hebrides: Isle of Mull to Oban to Loch Melfort
Day 14 Loch Melfort to Tarbert, Loch Fyne
Day 15 Tarbert Loch Fyne to Ardrossan THE END!

No comments:

Post a Comment