With just under 700 miles pedalled since leaving Portland Bill, we have arrived at Oban about 100 miles north west of Glasgow. The last three days, since leaving Dumfries, have been notable for the increasingly wild, mountainous terrain. Overnighting in the Ayrshire town of Tarbolton and the youth hostel at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran there have been two ferry crossings and a number of long, long hills to climb, but with the reward of exhilarating freewheeling down the other sides.
Wildlife abounds, with birds of prey circling the open moorland, Maree and Gavin spotted a red squirrel and red deer roam freely around on Arran. It was lovely, not to mention fitting, to see a couple of fields full of beautiful Belted Galloway cattle whilst we were in Dumfries and Galloway and of course the sheep on Arran, those jumpers have to come from somewhere. On the downside Ayrshire disappointed with the only dairy cows on view being of the black and white varieties. Unfortunately Phil caught the sharp end of all this nature when a bee stung him just behind an ear.
The scenery has been a mix of farmland, with plenty of grain crops still unharvested, wild moorland and as we made our way up the Kintyre Peninsula, sea lochs and relics of ancient times including standing stones and burial mounds. Arran is very special particularly in the soft evening light.
It is noticeably colder here, made worse by the strong northwesterly headwinds which made the going harder than it should have been all the way from Dumfries to Arran, not all bad though – two days without rain. Thankfully the wind had dropped for Saturday’s 62 mile ride up the Kintyre coast, but we did catch a couple of fairly heavy showers. Arriving in Oban to clear skies we were fortunate to witness a glorious sunset over the western Isles.
We have a free morning to chill and explore Oban before boarding the ferry 4 & 3/4 hour trip to the tiny island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.