The Scottish Highlands

Wednesday – Friday June 24-26  Oban, Scotland

Ed has spent most of the last 2 days in the room reading, taking light meds for pain and sleeping due to his cold and sore throat.. We’ve walked around town a few times, visited the War and Peace Museum, gone to the grocery store and done a little window shopping, planned the next few days and had the Visitor’s Center find places to stay.

Oban:

Our lodging in Oban
Our lodging in Oban

We are staying on the third (in Europe called the second) floor of this backpacker hotel.  From street level there are 61 steps to get to our floor (no elevator.) We are keeping in good shape.

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On Sunday we’ll will start heading for Troon, Scotland and the ferry to Ireland. In the mean time we will explore more of the Highlands by bike and ferry.

Friday

Ed’s cold and sore throat were under control. We were both ready for a bike ride despite the forecast of 90% chance of rain.

It started to rain just as we left the and did not stop until we were back to the hotel.  We did an out and back ride to Seil, a very small Island south of Oban with the distinction having the only bridge in the world over the Atlantic.  The bridge was built in 1791 and is still in use.   It is beautiful. and despite the rain we had a nice ride into the Scottish Highlands.  We stopped at a pub by the bridge for coffee. The wood stove (coal actually) was lit and we dried off a bit and warmed ourselves next to it. The views were muted by the rain and picture taking was at a minimum but even so it was very pretty. The colors of the flowers, and foliage and the misty views of the mountains were special.

1791 Bridge over the Atlantic Ocean
1791 Bridge over the Atlantic Ocean

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Refuge fro the rain and a cup of coffee
Refuge from the rain and a cup of coffee

We got back to town about 2 p.m., had lunch and returned to the room to dry out. We have ridden in the rain many times. This is one of the wettest rides we have ever done. The windy road was narrow.. The drivers were courteous.

At about 4 p.m. the sun came out for a wee bit.

Saturday, June 27 Oban

During the flight from Italy in the home made bike box, Maggie’s bike sustained a minor bend in the deraillier hanger and was occasionally shifting on it’s own.  Before heading out of town we stopped at the bike shop and had a minor straightening done.  We then took off for Port Appin heading north along the coast which was a 23 mile route mostly on bike path.

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We passed countless green hills and dales with sheep munching, three castles, and mountains in the background no matter which direction we looked. They were almost always under an umbrella of clouds. The mist and shadows were ever changing. This is beautiful, often rugged countryside even if the sun does not shine most of the time.

Our first goal was the small village of Port Appin….population 10 on a good day.  There is a bridge over a big lake (loch) at its narrowest point. When we crossed the bridge, the sun was shining to the south of the bridge, and it was cloudy to the north. Very picturesque.

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We then took a water taxi to the island of Lismore about ½ mile away. This ferry is very small and takes no cars. It does take bikes as do all of the ferries.

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It is a short ride, perhaps 20 minutes. Lismore is quite narrow,  only 3/4 mile at it widest, and about 7 miles long. The ferry dropped us in the north. It is a 5 ½ mile ride south on a narrow farm road to another ferry slip.  The ride was a meandering, up and down, scenic journey with lots of rock walls, rock buildings remains, sheep and an occasional house and car. It is a beautiful, bucolic ride that took us about 45 minutes with many stops for pictures. Despite some clouds, the weather held all the way.     38-IMG_2538

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We caught a larger car ferry that took us back to Oben.

The ferry ride took about 50 minutes which went by very quickly as we were taking pictures and talking to other passengers on board.  One man was a 94 yr. old barrister who is still working.  He’d been to Steamboat Springs skiing a number of years ago and thought Colorado snow was amazing.  He stopped skiing 8 years ago when he broke his leg falling off a ski lift. He and his partner, Caroline, have a cottage and boat on Lismore but live in London. He was very interesting and invited us to look him up when we get there next month.  The views in every direction were a feast.

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We saw a solar panel today on the roof of a house. It was the first and only one we have seen in 10 days in Scotland. It is most likely a disappointment to its owner.

Dinner back in Oban was fish and chips, naturally.

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