Kath’s adventures at The Waterfront in Scotland continue in the penultimate entry below.
Wednesday 28 September 2011
Yesterday’s bike ride got postponed but there was no way I was going to get out of it today! We awoke to our glorious view bathed in sunshine and proceeded to don our gear and join what was to be many other ‘lycra and pointy hat people’ out in the great outdoors.
We found a route that would take us around the back of Fort William up the hill and over the tops to Kinlochleven, in fact it is the latter part of the West Highland Way. It all sounded great, especially since my boss had recommended a restaurant to eat at on the way back. A late lunch sounded superb and the perfect end to a good ride.
My partner Ian is notorious for rides that I call ‘dumping me right in it’ – this is ‘poetic’ for a long, arduous difficult ride. Strangely I always seem to fall for it… I really do need to have a word with myself as he surpassed himself this time!
The hill out of Fort William was a huge clue – 1:6 I reckon but my thought pattern at the time was, ‘what goes up must come down’, besides which, I live in the Yorkshire Dales so I’m used to them… except in this case it carried on going up and up and… up. By now of course I’m too far in to turn back and waste my efforts thus far so I carry on huffing and puffing my way up the road.
Eventually the road evens out and my horizon starts to look a little rosier – the views are absolutely fantastic, long reaching and made all the more enjoyable by the sunshine. Then we hit another hill, and another and another and another. I didn’t actually think it could get much worse but suddenly it did… we were up there, next step to heaven, when the road ran out to be replaced with boulders, shale, sand and water. This was a road of a fashion but my tyres weren’t really up to the surface so off I get and push. It’s ok, I thought, it’s only short lived – the road (as such) will be better around the next corner… of course you guessed, it wasn’t and it didn’t!
10 miles later I was still pushing. There were lot’s of corners, all gave me the same thought: ‘It might be better round this one.’ My feet were sopping wet from the many mountain streams (verging on rivers from the previous day’s rain) my body however was slowly poaching in my lycra from the full on sun. Could it get any worse? The answer is on some days things just don’t go to plan… so yes, it could.
The descent loomed via what is ‘affectionally’ known as ‘The Devil’s Staircase’ the clue is in the name. We had stopped to chat and I have to say laugh at ourselves for severe lack of planning with a fellow biker. He described our descent as very steep and very challenging with a lot of technical skill required. I swear he left us with a smirk on his face…
We recognised the staircase as soon as we met it so decided to stop for a rest that included bananas and water from Ian’s rucksack. No packed lunch prepared as we were stopping at that lovely restaurant by the side of the loch on the way back! We took a few last pics of what ironically was the thing that kept me going, the absolutely stunning scenery and headed down. It was as our friend had said… challenging, but at least it was down.
Lunch was very late… more like supper in actual fact, but boy was it good. Fresh seafood a go go and flavours that are top of this world. Did I say die for? Did I say top of this world? Hmm – much like today’s ride really.
If you do decide on this route certainly take a mountain bike and absolutely visit Lochleven Sea Food Cafe but most of all definitely enjoy the views!
If you’d like more info, or to make a booking, please visit the property’s listing on cottages4you.