Travel-blog10

Here is a round up of our last week on tour. We have left the far north and begin the last leg of our journey at Inverness. Cycling is not quite so user friendly in Scotland with not so many quiet country roads and often not much of a shoulder for emergency exit stage left. Here we tackle a no car pathway on a Scottish version of the NZ Coast to Coast.

By Inverness Castle at the official start / finish line of the Great Glen Walkway - also open to cyclists but not many idiots had panniers loaded with gear.

The scenic river ness on the outskirts of Inverness.

Frankly Were eyeing up one of the many monsters along the way.

The high point along the Great Glen.

Travelling along enjoying the very varied scenery along the way.

Still in amongst the trees - they're growing really fast.

A view of Loch Ness along the way.

A crystal clear view over Loch Ness and Urquart Castle. No monsters in sight.

Lunch near Urquart Castle enjoying a clearer view of a miniature version.

Frankly Were enjoying the heaps of bracken fern that looks way more healthy than in NZ.

Frankly Were enjoying a view up a stream feeding into Loch Ness at a place called Invermoriston This was our home for a night.

Louise into a bit of upper body strength training and French tart damage control. There was just the odd short section on the Great Glen Way that was a bit too steep and loose for pedalling a bike up. Otherwise great with much of the trip not being too exposed with plenty of tree cover in between some great views.

What the? Grandma out doing some of the Great Glen Way. She had not just overtaken us - really.

Fort Augustus and the canal system. Nice place.

Father like son. Following in Sam's footsteps at Loch Ness.

This one was for Spider. He was after a shot of scantily clad Scottish lasses. There are a lot about and they are easy to pick as while we have about 4 layers of clothes from head to toe they have just a T shirt and not much more. The plan was to go one better with my clothing and they would all come flocking around. Back to the drawing board as plan did not work. Did attract a flock of Japanese tourists and their cameras. Where did I go wrong?

Scenic shot. The lochs and hills. Many of the surrounding land had been denuded of trees over the years but after the last war the Canadians helped out with some replanting - mainly Douglas Fir. Around much of Scotland and UK you could see a lot of examples of where kiwis got the idea to cut down everything. It was good to see the trend changing and now they are into encouraging reveg with natives.

On a stream running into Loch Ness we came across this. We overheard the explanation. "Weel offisher we ad only one weee dram and were on ow way home when thish bloody big monster shuddenly appeared in the muddle of the road ...." - Yeah Right.

This boat and castle look like they may have had a dram or 2 too many as well.

The end of the Caledonian Canal near Fort William

A fisherman fishing at a tail race where water from a hydro scheme runs into the river. Rods bending over - must have snagged the bottom.

Wow - an Atlantic Salmon!

He was Scottish but nay a Sinclair - he put the bugger back.

Frankly Were enjoying Ben Nevis in the company of a flowering hebe. He be a fellow kiwi. Quite a few spotted in the UK and even France.

Frankly Were enjoying the view to Ben Nevis at Fort William from on top of a mole hill.

When you come from a rugby nation and there is something sort of oval teed up on a mound what do you do? Especially after the little bastard has still not pushed a pedal.

Some big oaks along the cool cycle way that is off road for most of the way between Fort William and Oban.

A lonely Scottish Castle bathed in sunshine.

A couple of kiwis clowning around at the Marine Park along the journey.

3 squirrels having a chat on the park bench. One introduced grey and two native reds. This could be up for editing .

Frankly Were impressed by a couple of playful otters.

In the UK when they put in a cycle way it's pretty flash. Here we are not far from Oban at the end of a days ride.

The cycle ways get even better.

Here we are at Oban which is a cool seaside Village on the western side that is one of the main ports to service all the islands and cart tourists all around. A dusty forecast to the north confirmed our decision to spend 3 days exploring Oban and the surrounding area. Great place.

Here we bike across the Atlantic. It's true as this bridge is called the Atlantic Bridge and connects this island to the mainland.

Coming into Easdale on the right. Off the end of the peninsula is a small island with quite a few houses. There used to be a bridge but it got cleaned out in a storm. Now they ring a bell and a boat pops across. In the distance is the island Mull of Kintyre.

A view looking back into part of the Village of Easdale. It was a slate quarry but the seawall broke and it all got a bit wet. Now it's a training ground area for people that like diving in icecubes. Nice clear water though - very tempting.

From Oban we give the bikes a break and depart to Glasgow via a very pretty train ride. Check out this building aka Greek style on top of the hill. There was a bagpipes display up there the night before. It was built on the whim of a wealthy dude to give the stone masons some spare work in the winter times a few years ago when there was ot much on. Never quite got finished.

One of the many great scenes along the towpath and old railway line cycle way on our way out to check out some of Louises ancestry at Strathblane from Glasgow.

Another one of the many great views along the way.

Along the way Louise celebrates joining the 3,000km club.

Here we are struggling to find castles but this is one of the Arbuckle & Dobbie headstones in the local church at Strathblane.

If the clan had stayed in Strathblane this could have been Louises School.

A cycle path in the middle of Glasgow with a. Stream and a dude fishing. He even has a fish on the end of the line but not quite up to Fort William standard. Having said that the fisherman reckoned 240 salmon had been caught in this stream this year.

Pretty cool street just off the main street in Glasgow. Glasgow was packed with people and fair buzzing with lots of new buildings etc getting set for the Commonwealth Games. Their had just been the Orange parade and by chance we were both on our bikes in bright orange shirts. Louise the turncoat.

Frankly Were checks out the bright lights of Glasgow and Whale Rider strikes again.

Here we are at Congleton, the home of the famous Congleton Cycle club that included 3 of the Atlantic to Med crew. We stopped over here just in time to see Andy thrash Novac in the Wimbledon final

Frankly Were the new owner of the Lion & Swan.

We check out digs at the Lion & Swan - a classic historic English pub.

Catching up with Bob who led the cycle tour in France, and his wife Georgina at Sandbach. Close to Congleton.

With Our kind hosts Tom & Nessie from Potters Bar as we are about to enter the best Indian restaurant in the UK. Better than any curry we have had in NZ as well. If you like a curry come to this place - you even enjoy a view of cows in the front paddock through the window.

Enjoying a local room temperature beer with Tom. We also had a bad taste toast to Margaret with a Thatchers cider.

Frankly Were sorting out Nessie and Toms staffy, Piglet.

And totally dominates Sky

Celebrating on the way home with champagne with breakfast. Frankly Were on water - someone had to drive.

If you are Helen, Moira, George, Shona or someone else from Scotland scroll down no further – this is the end.

For you other folk see if you can spot the difference in the next 2 pictures which helps understand why Grandad moving to NZ wasn’t all bad.

Mid summer in Scotland, John O'Groats.

Mid winter in New Zealand as we approach the final Col in our journey biking up the home strait.

Whanau reunion at Kariotahi Beach

 

Enjoying winter at the beach

 

 
Well we’ve covered a bit of territory on a well prepared venture thanks to Louise. We have seen some amazing sights, met some awesome folk and had non stop adventure. Here we are back home and it’s not bad here to.
Aurevoir.
The End