So the first day is over. Starting out from Mallaig with a slight breeze following us and a balmy 4 degrees we sent off. The first hour clipped by at a nippy 35km an hour and all seemed to be running ahead of time. During this first hour we met with Peter Berrie, a local from Fort William who provided his wisdom on the route taken, was great company and let us know about what was going to be the biggest disappointment of the day – a secret road from Kinlochleven to Fort William, avoiding the A82 didn’t actually exist!
We slowed as we approached Ardnamurchan High School and met Debbie White and Thomas Larasser, two Christian teachers who provided lunch and prayer and fellowship. Setting off again we had 45 minutes to get to the Coran Ferry 15 miles away – missing this, now in the rain and riding into the previously beneficial headwind was the second big disappointment.
Now delayed we clipped along to Glencoe Outdoor Centre, where a member of the team there and SU volunteer – Fiona Wynne – provided coffee and biscuits before suggesting that we shouldn’t bother going to Kinlochleven School and just head to Fort William. Whilst there was a good deal of wisdom in the suggestion, it struck me over the next few miles as I did indeed ride to Kinlochleven that this was the right choice. Not only was it a key part of the challenge but it also mirrored a principle in SU Scotland that we are committed to young people across Scotland and willing to engage in work with them wherever they are based.
The last stage of the day was from Kinlochleven to Fort William. By this time it was past 5:30pm and the light was beginning to fail so the lights were attached to the bike for the journey along the busy A82 which had in parts a semi-finished and bumpy cycle track in parallel with the road (ouch!). Good speed was made and Lochaber High was reached by 7:00pm for the necessary photograph in the gloom outside the school sign.
A good pasta based meal, a log burning stove and the company of SU supporters who are hosting us for the evening has helped bring some recovery before a good night’s sleep beckons.
- 163km/101 miles travelled in 6 hours and 30 minutes of riding (and 9 hours and 30 mins from start to finish)
- Average temperature 3 degrees
- 4 secondary schools visited
- Top speed 61km/h, 38m/h
- Average speed 25km/h
- Food eaten – Whole chocolate orange! Pecan slice, Danish pastry, 3 bottles of Lucozade, empire biscuits, whole quiche, tortilla chips, 2 energy gel’s, energy bar, 3 scrambled eggs and toast with fruit and fibre – probably more along the way.