2009 Summer Tour – Day 6 (Broadford – Lochcarron)
We woke after a well-earned sleep, for an 8am breakfast. The plan for today was to ride over to Lochcarron, a short day in mileage terms, but one packed with steep climbs, particularly on the south side of Lochcarron (of which more later).
We rode off towards the Skye Bridge on a rather undistinguished road. Snce the bridge was built, it seems to me that the character of the motor traffic has changed, if not the character of the island. Stll, it afforded some good views of Skye and the mainland. The bridge itself is surprisingly steep, but quite manageable.
Once back on the mainland, we paused to look at the map. Being a bit fed up with the mainroads we’d been on since Lochailort on the previous day, we decided to take the winding and quite arduous unclassified roads from Kyle of Lochalsh, through several villages to rejoin the main road above Stromeferry. This route takes you through delightful broadleaf woods with cuckoos calling (and less fortunately midges, though at this time of year they’re not too much of a problem). We briefly stopped at Plockton station for a cuppa, but found the restaurant there had closed down. We stopped to brew up teas a little further down the road, by a patch of woodland with a bunch of cows – they seemed to find us fascinating and came to have a fair old nosey-parker!
Onwards, and we rejoined the main road above Stromeferry. Before the road along thesouth side of Loch Carron was built, a ferry operated across the narrow mouth of Loch Carron, between Stromeferry on the south side and Stromemore on the north. I don’t know when the ferry was stopped, but the sign now reads “Stromeferry (No ferry)”
We pressed on along the lochside road. The problem from our point of view is that there is a stonking 14% climb which, to add insult to injury, is followed immediately by a 14% descent. This trial over, it’s a nice flat ride into Lochcarron, a largely linear village lying alongside Loch Carron. At the far end, and on a side road in the direction of Stromemore and the ruins of Strome Castle, we found a room in The Old Manse B&B.
The room not being ready (this was about 2pm), we left our luggage and pedalled back into Lochcarron for a baguette in a tearoom. From there we made an excursion to the Stromemore jetty, and looked across to Stromeferry, We also looked at the ruins of Strome Castle, which apparently got blown up in a final conflict between two clans who over the years had exchanged possession (mostly forcibly). The final siege ended when the women of the defending garrison nipped out to collect water, but then, in the failing light, mistakenly tipped it into the wrong barrels and in so doing spoiled the gunpowder!
Back to the B&B to shower and change, then back into the village for dinner at the Rockvilla Hotel. No seafood tonight – I had local venison steaks, while Carol had smoked mackeral salad. Oh, and a couple of pints of Black Cuillin!
39.51 miles; 302.15 miles so far.