It was a brilliant weekend
continued from previous page
Crossing the river on a footbridge to Amat Lodge I continued to Glancalvie Lodge. Then back and up to Croik church which really is a must see place. Firstly as an example of a 19th Century Parliamentary Church. But it's fame is the story from the clearances featured in The Times 2nd June 1845. It was reports like this in The Times which helped set up the Crofters Commission. Returning to Ardgay I stopped to admire the magnificent lichens hanging from the trees, the falls on the Carron and chat to walkers completing this part of their walk. Cycling slowly, chatting with a walker the last few miles to Bonar Bridge where we had time for soup, a roll and a pint before being given a lift to Ullapool. There were magnificent views of the Assynt hills but what shocked was how the countryside looked like it was still winter showing no sign of Spring. In the hotel theree was enough time for a hot shower, a wee sleep before supper. A pleasant chatty evening with all doing the walk followed with the all important raffle to finance the vitals for the Scouts mid way camp. It had been a special day, enjoyable, satisfying with beautiful scenery and great people.
Sunday dawned with rain and storm force SW winds. At least the wind would be behind us. The cyclists later start suited me with three of us setting of together in the rain. The couple were fitter than me but I could keep up, helped by the gates we needed to open and close. Those seven loch side miles flew by before the first hill and time to walk. Once over the coll it was a steady cycle with gale, snow, hail and rain lashing. The wild day was exhilarating. My heart was behaving and I was having a whale of a time. No wonder teachers find their school children excited on windy days! My inner child was loving it. We passed a group doing their DofE award, showing real grit having camped out and now walking into the gale. One of my companions had a “mechanical”. On his exhortation we had gone on but returned into the teeth of the gale – glad our route was going with the wind. Knowing there was plenty of safety cover we agreed to go on leaving him to bravely sort his bike to a single speed in order to complete the ride. The event is like that. It makes you want to finish whatever the odds. But help is always to hand. The two of us went on rattling at high speed down the rough track to the half way Scout Camp set up at the bridge they had built to give us a dry shod river crossing. Hot soup, rolls, chocolate – what more could you ask for? Well they had that as well plus great company. Cyclists and walkers stopped a while in the tent hiding from the storm, sharing stories and conversation. The horse riders arrived with their ponies giving insight into how others tackle the event.
As we left the weather slowly improved with less rain and more sunshine but still that following wind. I came of my bike as my front wheel bogged into soft ground on a fast descent. No harm done. So after cleaning the mud from my helmet it was onto the next coffee stop before heading down the final road section to Bonar Bridge in glorious sunshine. It had been a wonderful day with good company all the way, friendships made reflected the shared experience of a wild day making an exhilarating crossing of Scotland from sea to sea.
Thanks is due to all on the walk for their company, their warmth and unassuming friendship. A special thanks goes to May and her wonderful band of helpers for all their work and their chat. Very greatly appreciated.
Thank you all.