This was to be the longest day’s mileage – around 68 miles. I’d phoned the previous evening to book a double at the Strathcarron Hotel, so at least we knew we had somewhere to stay. After breakfast, we set off out of Ullapool, along a whole series of tough old climbs. Actually, the road didn’t get at all easy until we’d reached Loch Glascarnoch (very depleted of water after a long dry period). I was concerned about my sore neck, so we stopped every ten or twelve miles to stretch and eat snacks. This section of the day’s cycling was pretty bleak, with no obvious wildlife to be seen bar a few red deer carcases on the road side. Mid-way between Loch Glascarnoch and Gorstan, we stopped at a hotel with tearoom for tea and scones. Rather exorbitant, however!
From Gorstan, we were on the road to Achnasheen, where we planned to stop for refreshments. The cycling was pretty easy, as we’d picked up a tailwind. The countryside became barer as we proceeded towards Achnasheen, with very little in the way of accommodation, so we were pleased to have planned ahead.
There’s a gift shop and tea room by the rail station at Achnasheen, where we stopped for a (very nice) capuccino. We also admired some motorcycles being refurbished ouside! Actually, from past experience, they do a rather nice smoked venison salad. But we didn’t linger, and set out on the final 21 mile leg to Strathcarron.
From Achnasheen, the road rises through bare landscape, then descends to more wooded countryside as it approaches Loch Carron. At times we were exceeding 30 mph, though the road reverts to singletrack. We arrived at the Strathcarron Hotel at about 4.30, to a warm welcome. After cleaning up a bit, we had a beer (Red Cuillin), before retiring to our room to plan the last two nights’ accommodation in Mallaig and Stontian. After that, a rather good dinner in the bar – monkfish and salmon kebab washed down with McEwans 80/-, followed by crannachan.