Day Nine: Edinburgh to Crianlarich

or, The One Where Tony Gets Wind

Well…whilst I didn’t formally get introduced to my ‘roomies’, they made sure I was aware of their presence as they stumbled back into the hostel at half past one. Sigh.

Actually, that’s a bit harsh. There were five others in the room I left in the morning…it was just the three Australians that created the hullabaloo. No, really. Australians. Being loud. I’m shocked too…

Anyway…two of them came…sorry, stumbled in first. I think they were boyfriend and girlfriend, but only because they were in the same bed as I was leaving. They chatted for a bit before their mate Jason came in with what must have been twenty pounds worth of McDonalds which took him half an hour to eat.

The couple were amazed at their drunken state as they’d ‘only drunk half as much as last night’, although I’d be tempted to agree that it probably was ‘the five Jaeger-Bombs at the start’ that ruined them.

They got off to sleep, or more accurately passed out, as Jason moved onto his apple pie (who buys a McDonalds apple pie when under the influence?!)…the girl, in a style only Antipodeans can really pull off, slumped half out of the bed with her head in the bin as she thought she was ‘gonna hurl’. Well done buddy, she’s a keeper!

Enough about them, this is supposed to be about the journey! I was up at six o’clock to take advantage of the ‘simple breakfast’ they offer. Simple it was, but the self-service tea, toast and cornflakes were welcome.

There were a fair number of people in running kit up and about and, after enquiring, I found out it was the day of the Edinburgh marathon. Now, whilst this explains the difficulty I had in finding somewhere in the city to stay for the night and the odd road closures, I’ve not got a clue as to why on Earth you’d prepare yourself for a marathon with a night at Caledonian Backpackers?!

Anyway…I was up and out of the room and ready to get going by half past seven (so much for the earl…oh!). As if to mock my calling for cooler weather yesterday a cool rain was falling as I battled against Edinburgh’s seemingly random road network once again as I looked to join the Forth Road Bridge.

After ten miles of back roads (‘cos you’re not allowed on the A70 on your bike…which they don’t tell you ’til you get to it!) I reached the bridge and admired the view…

…or not. A real ‘pea souper’ had enveloped the structure with visibility no more than two hundred yards. Which was a shame.

As the day wore on and the sun came out (not used to this), it burnt the water off the road surface – eerie ‘smoke’ peeling up and off the tarmac as I clocked through the miles.

The journey was a good one, with reasonable road surfaces for the majority of the day (some dreadful ones too though, really jarring despite the carbon forks and seatpost which slowed me down somewhat).

I passed through some lovely little towns and got to see some amazing scenery. Circling Loch Lubnaig, with the mountains in the background and the sun glistening off the water’s surface was picture postcard perfect and I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to be seeing it in the way I was…a way so few people are lucky enough to do so.

Then I got towards the end of the journey for the day and it all went s little squiffy. Remember that head wind I’ve mentioned before in this write-up? Well it returned…with a vengeance. The last twenty miles was going to be bad enough with a six hundred foot climb to take on. The headwind made it far, far worse…I was crawling along at 8mph for spells, literally being held up in the wind!

If anybody up there is looking down on me…can I please have some Southerlies for the rest of the week? Or none at all! Just not any more Northerlies, pur-lease!

Despite the struggle of the last twenty miles or so, with the early start I’d managed to get it was nice to take a look down at the GPS and see it displaying 3.50 miles to go as opposed to 35.0 come the time four o’clock rolled round! An early finish for the day (yay!) as I arrived into my stop for the night.

Crianlarich is a lovely little village in the shadow of a couple of huge mountains (I’m calling them mountains, the locals probably think of them as mere slopes). I grabbed dinner in the local pub…venison burger and chips followed by apple tart and custard. It was excellent.

The hostel is exactly what I was expecting, full of walkers and people here to enjoy the area rather than the bars and clubs within it. Should get a good night’s sleep in here, no worries. I love it!

Only problem though is that there’s no signal on the o2 network anywhere so I’ve had to update this blog via the hostel’s extortionate wi-fi network (one pound for twenty minutes?! That’s obscene!).i have a feeling this’ll be the case for much of the rest of my journey so I’m hoping there’s somewhere in Loch Ness, Tongue and finally John O’Groats that I’m able to do the same. So if you are trying to get hold of me and I don’t answer, that’ll probably be the reason why!

It’s a bit scary to think I’m now three quarters of the way through this trip and I’m down to (in theory!) less than three hundred miles until I cross that finish line. Or, more childishly…

…three more sleeps! On to Loch Ness tomorrow (just need to follow one road again!), and if I manage another early start and get the tricky first half of the journey done quickly enough I should have time for a bit of Nessie hunting!

Stats for the day

Distance for the day: 84 miles
Time in saddle for the day: 6hrs 31mins
Average speed for the day: 12.8mph
Maximum speed for the day: 34.3mph

Total distance to date: 778 miles
Total time in saddle to date: 58hrs 22mins
Average speed for trip to date: 13.3mph

Route for the day…

Day Nine: Route

Route profile for the day…

Day Nine: Route Profile

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5 Responses to “Day Nine: Edinburgh to Crianlarich”

  1. Daniel Littleboy Says:

    Keep pedalling mate. Not far now!

  2. Deej Says:

    Massive pedant that I am, I can’t help but pick you up on one thing:

    “sun burning the water off the road with smoke coming off the tarmac”?

    Something tells me you didn’t pay much attention in science lessons! That’ll be the sun evaporating the water and the evaporation (aka steam) coming off the tarmac.

    Seriously though, keep chugging on; hopefully you did get ahead of time and are now enjoying a boat ride on Loch Ness – we did that on our hols in the highlands in the summer of ’07. Lovely. We stayed near Fort William and the A82 is a fantastic road through the mountains (inc. Ben Nevis) – if you’re going that way. We can recommend Urquhart castle ruins at Strone which is about halfway along Loch Ness on the northern bank (A82). Probably should’ve mentioned this yesterday so that you could read it before you left today, but you might read this when you stop. Have a look at the Caledonian Canal as well whilst you’re there (at the base of Loch Ness); it’s an amazing series of locks that runs right through the mountains from Inverness on the east coast to Fort William on the west coast.

  3. Clayts Says:

    Aussie Aussie Aussie – Oi Oi Oi!! I feel so proud that my fellow countrymen are keeping us in such high regard…

    Actually, no, I apologise profusely and hold out hope that they were really New Zealanders…!

  4. Phil Says:

    How do you remember all these details? I went for a ‘leisurely’ 10mile cycle yesterday (me, on a bike? There must be some mistake!) and I could barely remember my own name.

  5. Ian R Says:

    Hey Tony, excellent blog as expected, keep up the good work. We’ve rented your room out to some nice alergian miners, so you may have to share a bed when you get back.
    Laters
    Ian.

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