After an excellent night’s sleep, we woke to brilliantly sunny conditions. By the time we’d had breakfast, loaded up the bike and paid the bill, it had clouded over a little. The first 11 miles were the toughest of the day, featuring the south Loch Carron road – road which as assumed mythic proportions in hour collective mind. It is, if truth be told, quite a hard road for the loaded tourer. Within a mile of leaving the hotel, we were grinding up a 15% gradient, with several climbs following, including a hugely long climb that takes one past the famous “Stromeferry (no ferry)” sign. We paused for a snack when that was done, then began a fast descent to the main road to the Skye bridge.
There was a huge volume of traffic heading for Skye – I wondered whether the island would be big enough to absorb them all – and this, together with pretty atrocious road surfaces made the ride to the bridge rather a hassle, particularly as our mobile phone rang at that point! The Skye Bridge is surprisingly steep, but not difficult to negotiate, and once over, we made good progress despite several photo stops. Eventually we turned off towards Armadale. The road initially takes one over some bare moorland, despite this we decided we had time for a stop for a snack and a cuppa.
Remounting, we hastened on to catch the 15:20 ferry. The road to Armadale is rather varied – one minute one’s riding through bare hillside, the next through attractive woodland; one moment grinding up a surprisingly steep bit of road, the next roaring along at a fine lick.
We reached the ferry terminal in good time: I bought a pair of Island Hopscotch tickets to cover the remaining ferry crossings. The guy at the desk alerted us to roadworks and consequent road closures on the road between Glenuig and Acharacle. This caused us a bit of concern, but when we reached the B&B we did a spot of Googling and found that the roadworks wouldn’t be happening tomorrow as it was a Scottish bank holiday (prior to the additional Jubilee bank holiday on Tuesday).
After arriving at the Western Isles B&B and cleaning up, we wandered into town and had dinner – cullen skink followed by crab wrapped in lemon sole (Carol) and scallops with cauliflower bhajis (me). After dinner we wandered about, were nosey-parkered at by a couple of seals in the harbour, then returned to the B&B.
So all looks well for our penultimate day in the saddle tomorrow. That sees us cycling from  Mallaig to Strontian. According to my iPad weather app, we may see our first rain of the trip tomorrow, though I’m hopeful that we can avoid it.