Jonathan: After an uneventful voyage from Oban via Castlebay, I arrived at Lochboisdale and pushing my bike up the ramp was first off the boat – and immediately could see Denise waving to me from the car. Absolutely lovely to be home at last!
Jonathan: Fish & Chips sitting on a bench on the North Pier: feeding the seagulls with the scraps – holding them out for them to take on the wing. Next I cycled north around Dunollie Castle and winding around the coast to Ganavan Sands. Large development of showy houses being built that will effectively appropriate the sandy beach to the residents, despite the long-standing public access to the beach and the large public car park. I can see conflicts arising between the new residents (though I wonder how many will just be holiday homes or lets) and the public. Ganavan Sands aside, it really is lovely along this road, though judging from the very wide footway and widenened shore-side lane it’s clear in summer it must be extremely busy! Looking at my phone could see the time was running out – nearly 2pm and I need to be back at the ferry terminal by 1430hrs. Getting there, I was surprised that the ferry hadn’t already berthed – in fact no-where to be seen. Then in dawned on me that the clocks went back last night, and I’d forgotten all about it. They must have thought I was extremely keen to leave the hostel this morning – at about 7:30am!! So another hour to wait … oh dear!
Jonathan: I’m writing this using the free WiFi hotspot at Calmac ferry terminal. After a really good night’s sleep and a leisurely good breakfast, I repacked all my stuff and got out onto the streets. Cold but still and thankfully dry: in fact the sun is shining. Bought my ticket and then looked out for things to amuse me until the ferry at 1500hrs. Ferry to Lismore going soon, but wouldn’t get back in time (unless I just went for a there-and-back). How about Kerrera? I cycled down that really beautiful lane to Gallanach, but the ferry had just gone, and the next wouldn’t be until 1230. So not this time. I cycled on southward down to the far end of the road, where the private road starts. This turned out be a real delight, with a wonderful winding lane, spectacular cliffs and woods and views across the sea and islands. I stopped to talk to an otter which was playing around on the rocks and in the water just below me at one point: rather than dive under the surface and disappear, it just watched me, then seemed to lie back the water and play with its tail for a bit, then watch me a bit more or listen to me talking to it! There were also robins, eider ducks, herons and other creatures I couldn’t recognize. There were larger diving creatures too – humans going out in boats with their diving gear, setting off from the Puffin diving centre. A really beautiful length of road, this, though in the morning it is in the shadow of the high cliffs.
I do have such good feelings about Oban: if I’m spending any time here it’s because I’m waiting for a ferry to go home, and as it happens don’t think I’ve ever been here and the sun not be shining! Anyway, it’s now almost 12 noon, and I shall find something to eat for lunch. With the weather so nice I shall cycle in the other direction towards Dunollie Castle, and then no doubt it will be time to join the queue for the ferry.
Jonathan: Writing this in front of a huge log fire in the lounge/dining/games/kitchen area of the Oban Backpackers Hostel. Just £19 for a bunk and breakfast, and a nice relaxed atmosphere. As it happens I’ve got room to myself, so that’s handy as I can spread out all my stuff to dry on abover or near the heating radiator: Just after I left the station it started to rain, and quickly it came down like a deluge. By the time I’d cycled to the hostel I was really wet! Mobile phone contract now cancelled to save money so I went out to look for a phone box, but none I found worked properly. Denise must be wondering what’s happened to me: have I been mugged, the money and valuable taken, and left for dead? After this post I shall get back to reading a book about the island of Kerrera, which is a lovely little place just by Oban, and then I’ll make it an early night.
Jonathan: Queen Street is such an easy station to get around and it took just a few minutes to get round to the Oban train, get the bike stored properly in the special bike racks (train has capacity for 12, which 4 times more than the HST to Edinburgh!). Now dark, so unfortunately I won’t get to see any of the wonderful scenery, which is a pity as this is the first time I’ve used the train between Glasgow and Oban. Time to raid my panniers for goodies to eat, and then put my head down for a rest after the excitement earlier.