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Callanish

A few beers last night and a comfortable bed and we slept until 9.15 am. We wolfed down the complimentary breakfast, packed, and then were back on the bikes and plodding up the steep climb out of Tarbert.

Our legs felt good and we made fast progress to the top, before a glorious descent – the rugged landscape opening up before us, with grey-black clouds scudding across the sky chased by the gusting winds, thankfully pushing us northwards.

We settled into a good rhythm, with the boys pulling effortlessly away on the climbs, while I worked hard to catch them on the downhill and flat.

The rain came and went, but thankfully didn’t last too long, and the odd patches of sunshine and the wind dried us almost instantly.

We sheltered from the wind in a bus stop for a quick lunch of gnocchi, before turning east towards Callanish and it’s famous Neolithic standing stones.

We had to work harder cycling across the wind, but with only a few kilometres to go we were in good spirits.

Arrived at our camping pod on the shore of a loch we quickly settled in before grabbing tea and cake at the standing stones visitor centre. The stones themselves are very impressive and you can walk freely amongst them. These Neolithic people were tough!

Outer Hebridean Adventure

We rose at dawn and left Glasgow Queens station headed for Oban and the start of our adventure in the Outer Hebrides.

Departing Glasgow

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.

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