A nice day at last! The weather forecasts were for pretty much wall to wall sun, at least until we were likely to reach Oban to collect the car. We planned to catch the 12.45pm Lochaline to Fishnish ferry, then the 3.00pm Craignure-Oban ferry. This would mean that we’d be hanging around at Craignure for a bit, but the next Lochaline ferry wasn’t until 2.45pm (it would seem ferry men need a lunchbreak!). This schedule worried Carol, who was by now in the grip of a nasty cold and said her legs felt all wobbly. Oh, and symptoms were gaining fast on me too…

Out of the hotel, and up a whole series of climbs, some big, some steep, all strength sapping. Through Salen at the base of the Ardnamurchan peninsula and over to Loch Sunart. The scenery was delightful, with a particularly idyllic campsite over at Resipole. On along past Loch Sunart, and the road got flatter and flatter as we approached Strontian (the village where the element Strontium was discovered). Through Strontian, and we could see the big climb we were going to have to get over in order to reach Lochaline. All too soon, we were heading up.

Fortunately, I’d got a bit of a grip on which Rohloff gears to use for this sort of stuff. Too low, and it’s hard to balance, particularly when cars pass on singletrack. Too high, and you don’t get anywhere! This climb was hot work, particularly with a sick stoker (who did really very well). Once on the top, there’s a welcome descent, before the road rises again, though much less savagely than before. One of the problems with this road is that there can be quite a bit of motor traffic over to Lochaline and back which interferes with setting up a decent rhythm, and can make one rather anxious about meeting the ferry departure time.

The last 8 miles or so to Lochaline are again delightful – varied landscape with lots of wooded riverside fields. We reached Lochaline quite quickly, and could see the 11.45am ferry about to load passengers. We quickly zoomed to the front of the motor queue along with a large number of middle aged german blokes on motorcycles. So we got on the ferry before the motorists who’d pushed past us on the climbs! Minutes later, we were on the way over to Mull.

We may have been the first on the ferry, but we were the last off – just as well, since there’s an uphill road from the Fishnish jetty to the road! It’s only 5.6 miles to Craignure, and these mile ticked by quite quickly. Indeed, we reached Craignure in time for the 1pm ferry – only having to wait a few minutes before boarding with the other dozen cyclists (and before the cars).

40 minutes later, we rolled out into Oban, grabbed some lunch and collected the car for the drive south…