Day 8 – Broadford to Salen
Today’s ride was the longest in this year’s tour, estimated at around 53 miles, and would take us to Salen near Acharacle, at the base of the Arnamurchan peninsula. From Broadford, the ride down to Armadale starts out on pretty bare moorland, but further on you ride through some of the most delightful broadleaf woodland bursting with bluebells and garlic. It didn’t take long to reach Armadale and we ended up having to wait for over an hour for the ferry.
At Armadale, I bought aHopscotch 7 ticket, which covers Armadale-Mallaig, Kilchoan-Tobermory and Craignure-Oban. Those ferries would take us back to our starting point.
We didn’t stick about in Mallaig, because we had a fair old distance to ride. We stayed on the new main road as far as Lochailort. It’s not a terribly great road – since it’s quite new, it has that “blasted out of the hills” appearance. While it’s quite wide for the most part, it does have quite a lot of climbs and descents at least on this trip we weren’t hassled by driver bellowing at us that we should be on the (entirely inappropriate) cycle path. Eventually I got rather hot and had to take my jacket off. Goodness me!
At Lochailort, we turned right alongside Loch Ailort. here we ride past a decaying mansion, Inverailort House. We’ve always wondered about this place – coincidentally a few days later saw this obituary of Barbara Mackintosh in the Daily Telegraph while staying in Edinburgh on the way back from holiday, which provides some background to the house.
We stopped beside the loch to have lunch in the form of Kashmiri chickpea curry. Then pressed on along the side of the loch. There’s been loads of development of what looklike holiday homes along here, and some seem really quite grand. But there’s also several quite seedy groups of caravans.
Eventually, we reached the climb over to Loch Moidart from Glenuig. This was tough, but managed to cruise over in good style. Then there was a lovely descent to Glen Moidart inevitably followed by a big climb up the new road (it was being contructed back in 2012, I think, when we passed this way) over to Acharacle. This certainly had the sweat flying!
With only a few miles to Salen, we didn’t stop as originally intended for ice creams, but rode the final big climb of the day to reach the Salen Hotel just before 5pm. We were followed up the last climb by a group of cyclists.
We checked into the Salen Hotel and once cleaned up, went down to the bar and had a couple of pints of Belhaven IPA (I was very, very thirsty!) before dinner. For dinner, we both had spicy butternut squash soup for us, followed by seafood linguine for Carol and roast duck for me. We skipped dessert. Then a postprandial walk down to Salen and back before retiring for the night.
I haven’t posted any photos – I didn’t take many, and those I did weren’t very interesting!