We rose at dawn and left Glasgow Queens station headed for Oban and the start of our adventure in the Outer Hebrides.
Our three road bikes meticulously packed for a week long traversal of the Outer Hebridean island chain, from south to north, starting with Barra, and its little cousin to the south, Vatersay.
We will be mostly wild camping so have been obsessively checking the weather forecast and debating what to pack. Forecast is fair, with occasional rain gusting in from the Atlantic. May the wind be at our backs!
No visit to Oban would be complete without a wee dram of the Good Stuff, so we duly booked ourselves in for a whiskey tasting. A delicious, if rather alcoholic, liquid lunch!
Suitably fortified we wheeled (two by two?) our steeds onto the CalMac ferry for the 6 hour trip to Barra, threading our way through the inner islands and an ever changing seascape of blues, greys and greens.
We spotted a pair of dolphins surfing the bow wake of the ferry and flocks of Kittiwakes dive bombing for fish. All was not peace and light however as our slumbers on the ferry were accompanied by the sounds of retching seasick passengers!
Upon arrival in Castlebay we turned left and cycled about 10 km to Traigh a Baigh beach on Vatersay. The locals have thoughtfully provided toilets and showers and we filled up our water bottles, before popping one pound in the honesty box.
We laid out our tarp overlooking the bay, lulled by the turquoise waves crashing onto the white sands. We appreciated our dinner of rehydrated vegetable and rice Tika, Bilar, and cereal bars – but it won’t trouble the Michelin guide!
We had a rather restless night, the wind flapping the hastily erected tarp and the odd rain shower blowing through. In the morning we had a nice hot shower (luxury!) before repacking and starting our trip northwards.