The 4.30 alarm was not welcome but heralded the start of our new trip. We quickly packed the car and set off to drive the 300 miles from Bewdley to Ardrossan. A breakfast stop at Tebay (no doubt the first of many) then over the border into ‘Nicola Land’. Will we need our passports soon I wonder. We reached Ardrossan by mid morning. Parked the car in a side street and packed the car. Relief as all the panniers fitted on the bikes (a Heath Robinson adaption yesterday after we realised the new front panniers I had brought did not fit our front rack – we really ought not test these things out at the last minute!) and off we pedalled for the ferry. We encountered the usual problem of trying to by half a litre of petrol for our camping stove but were directed to a petrol station that was happy to receive our 62p to ‘fill it up’. Various pre trip injuries (David broken rib and bad back and Bernie with a torn cruciate ligament in the knee) meant we had decided to do this trip the cheats way and not camp. That means we have a bed and shower every night (wow, every night) so that we did not have to use the trailers. But we decided that we could not forego our ‘brew ups’ so have packed a dedicated pannier for the camping stove, pans and mugs. We never travel light!
Scotland? Not Tblisi or some far off country ending in stan? Family things mean we need to stay closer to home this year but we have both really been looking forward to exploring Scotland, even if it is a slight diversion on the way to Australia. We last cycled in Scotland when we started our very first cycle trip and did Land’s End to John O Groats with our daughter, aged 18 months in a prototype cycle trailer. The design of trailer has come on somewhat since Becky was transported in something resembling a bright yellow upturned bucket . She has come on too – now aged 27, a beautiful young woman who is completing her Masters in Human Rights. We did wonder whether the trip would merit a blog but after strong representations (PW, you know who you are), here we go.
Back to the ferry in Ardrossan. We sat in beautiful warm sunshine waiting for the Campbelltown ferry to the bottom of the Kintyre peninsular. I was more worried about sea sickness than the fact that I had only been back on my bike for weeks and missed a month’s training (the physio having assured me I could not damage my knee further I promptly ignored his advise to increase my rides by 10 minutes a time by doing a crash fitness course and increase by 10 miles a time!). However the crossing was so sunny and calm even I could not feel the slightest bit sick.
We cruised into Campbelltown harbour and then we were off properly. Only a 10 mile ride in beautiful evening sun to the Argyll Hotel on Bellonchantuy Bay. Sitting on the terrace right on the beach still in evening sunshine (hope Scotland is always like this) out appetites whetted for tomorrow.