Small trip around Scotland

This trip was supposed to be a return trip to the Isle of Skye and a continuation of the my last trip to Skye with my friend. We did not manage to finish that previous trip because of very bad weather.

I did not have any training before doing this trip, and kind of just planned a route on google maps and went for it. Without the proper information I imagined I would be doing about 80mi a day and that the whole route would take me about 10 days. I planned on going from Glasgow to Denmark after this trip.


Day 1 (small bump on the road, great beginnings) – destination Oban

And this is what I looked like after the night, 6 stitches, a concussion, small fracture in the elbow(which I would later find out), bumps on the left shoulder and hip, right knee and hand. I couldn’t walk or chew food well, but  all in all I was lucky that it was not worse.


I began my trip on the 3rd of August 2014 from Glasgow Central by train to Gourock, then the ferry to Dunoon, after which I biked for about 5mi(8km). Quickly I was soaked by the rain and before I knew it, a nice couple ask if I wanted to have a ride. They were heading for Tarbert, exactly where I wanted to go.

After arriving in Tarbert, the weather turned, the sun was shining and so I decided to get on the bike. In Ardrishaig, I thought that it would be great to get myself some refreshments, so I got 2 liters of Irn bru (a local soda that is more popular in Scotland than cola).

The last 14mi went smooth, I had about 1 hour of sunlight left, and thought that I could make it near the town of Oban. So I rode just a bit faster and got more “streamline” by having my elbow on the handlebar while going downhill.

Just to be clear to everybody that wants to go on a bike tour, if you do not know this yet, WEAR A HELMET! And have your hand on the handlebar while going downhill not your elbows.


Weather : Rain 0.8mm Temp 18/12 Wind 12mph*

Distance approx 33mi • Time on the bike 4 hours • Rest N/A • Highest climb N/A

Day 2 (Hospital and a great archaeological sight) – somewhere outside Lochgilphead

After being released from the hospital and after fixing up my bike, I was ready to rock and roll. I went in to town to get my self some food and a new rain jacket, and afterwards rolled on the bike for about 20min until my head started to thump like a monkey on a drum kit. Remembering that the doctor told me not to strain my body just yet I got off the bike and walked for about a mile and wanted to find a spot where I could camp for the night.

I ended up camping on a small grass patch on top of a hill, and finally I could try my new Über bivy by Milesgear. (I have a review of it here.)

Even though I’m a photography student I take a surprisingly small amount of images, but I did take a picture of the view for this night.


The spot I found was great, it was a sight with prehistoric rock art (read more about it here)

Rain 0.1mm Temp 16/11 Wind 19mph*
Distance approx 33mi • Time on the bike 20 minutes • Rest N/A • Highest climb N/A

Day 3 (new rain coat and free ferry ride) – destination Corran

My route on this day took me past the place of the crash. I could not let go of the thought that I might crash again, so this time I did not go as fast as the first and I had my hand on the handlebar. Luckily no crash this time!

As a result of the crash though my saddle gave in 10mi from Oban and fell off. Since I couldn’t pop it back on I just continued.

In Oban I found a new rain coat and saddle, charged my energy and phone. I headed out to Corran and about 4 hours later arrived there without any further problems. On the plus side I did not have to pay for the ferry to the other side. After trying to find a spot to sleep for about an hour I finally settled near the coast and cooked some food. Later, while the midges were having a party, I dosed right off into the dream world.

Rain 0.5mm Temp 18/10 Wind 11mph*
Distance 68mi  • Time on the bike 7h • Rest 3h • Highest climb 469 ft

Day 4 (The up and the downs) – destination Mallaig

I headed off to a Scottish version of a “clear” sky, and about 20 minutes later the rain started. And it never stopped during the whole day! To make it more fun, the road decided that it would turn into a roller coaster track. It took me about 7 hours to get to Mallaig.

With everything going so well, my phone also ran out of juice. Luckily another cyclist, on a guided tour from Berlin heading for Inverness, helped me out.

Getting to Mallaig I had to do a bit of shopping and celebrate. After two pints, I found a spot to sleep near the harbour.

Rain 3.5/0.1mm Temp 19/12 Wind 7mph*
Distance 61mi  • Time on the bike 6h • Rest 1h • Highest climb 407 ft

Day 5 (Fast driving cars and slow flying midges) – destination Invermoriston

The next morning before heading of to Armadale, I thought that the rain was just waiting for me on Skye.

Waking up in the morning can be bautiful


Luckily it all passed upon arrival with the ferry, but as I did not have mud guards on the bike, I had to enjoy the rain from the road…not great!

Initially I had planned another day for exploring the Isle of Skye, but my accident put me behind schedule, which is why I had to let go of the original plan and instead head from Armadale to Kyle of Lochalsh directly.

When I got into Kyle of Lochalsh, I enjoyed my dinner and a talk with two others cyclists from the Netherlands. Touring across Europe was what they did every summer…Respect to the two!

Again I don’t think that I can emphasise enough how important it is to plan a good route. I had to endure one of the busiest roads I’ve ever been on until now with fast passing cars on a single road stretch. Also, just a week before, a student from my school passed away in a car crash on the very same road, which made the whole experience even more unsettling.

Soon after passing the turn to Fort William, the passing cars thinned out and the view was one of the greatest I’ve seen up until now. I arrived in Invermoriston around 5pm, found a good spot to spend the night and enjoyed the evening.

Here’s a view of my camping situation:

Weather : Rain 0.1/0.0mm Temp 15/6 Wind 11/5mph*
Distance 72.8mi • Time on the bike 7h • Rest 3h • Highest climb 902 ft

Day 6 (Loch Ness and day of defeat) – destination Inverness

This day began well, no rain, no clouds, just beautiful.
Somehow I did not know that Loch Ness was that big. But that loch is huge, and it seemingly went on forever, just astonishing. I arrived in Inverness around 1pm noon and having done some shopping left an hour later.

And there is comes again, my mantra: Planning of the route is important!

When I planned the route I coded in one that would lead me out of the town. This one sure did that, but what I had not expected was that it was a motorway. I had to walk for about a mile of the motorway back on to a normal road. I tried to find a route to get out of Inverness but could not, so I had to contact one of my friends who helped me out by finding a nice hostel as well as a route that would eventually lead me from Inverness to Pitlochry (know as route 7).

Weather : Rain 0.1/0.0mm Temp 18/8 Wind 7/6mph*
Distance 28.2mi  • Time on the bike 4h • Rest 1h • Highest climb 581 ft

Day 7 (Largest national park, highest point and the milkyway) – destination Pitlochly

Having had a good night sleep and a decent breakfast, I finally found my way out of Inverness. Soon afterwards the small climb began and lead to the Cairngorms National park, a very beautiful and much larger area than I had imagined.

route 7
A message from a very unhappy customer

Cycling through the mountains in this clear weather was like a scene from a movie, pure highland ways and hills from one end to another, and best of all there were no cars to bother the sight of it all.

Later on I came across a stretch of road covered with small stones and gravel. I had not expected that and because I didn’t have adequate tires I feared that at some point a puncture was imminent.

IMAG1800  IMAG1802

After the 7 days I can definitely say that this stretch of road -through farmlands, national landmarks, the forest and vast highlands – was by far one of the most divers and beautiful routes I had ever been on.

Weather : Rain 3.0/0.0mm Temp 18/7 Wind 2/13mph*
Distance 104mi  • Time on the bike 9h • Rest 3h • Highest climb 1,506 ft

Day 8 (Hypothermia from a girl name Bertha) – destination Glasgow

After waking up, packing my tent and getting some breakfast and coffee, I set out to enjoy the last day of my trip, but only about an hour later the rain began.

What I didn’t know was that the tropical storm Bertha was just about to hit the UK. I thought ‘well, since it’s the last day, it would be nice with a little rain.’ But the temperature dropped and a relatively long climb form 10mi from Pitlochly for about  3mi lay ahead of me. About half way to Crieff I was totally soaked, cold and freezing, up to the point that I started shaking and could not feel my hands or feet.

Arriving in town, I found out it was a Sunday, but luckily there was a public bathroom that was open. I spent almost an hour heating my feet and changing to a new set of dry clothes only to find myself soaking wet again, 5 minutes after I had gotten back onto the bike. A car gave me one of the biggest puddle showers one can possibly get.

Long story short, as soon as I got to Sterling, I bought myself a train ticket, fish & chips and a cup of coffee, and got my cold butt on a train to Glasgow. And I stayed there for about 14 day until I set off for Denmark.

Weather : Rain 5.6/0.4mm Temp 14/3 Wind 8/3mph*
Distance 60.4mi  • Time on the bike 6h • Rest 1h • Highest climb 1322 ft

After the trip I can only say that I learned so many things, some/most of them I guess that I should have know before I took off.

Firstly the gear: A helmet! I guess that my cockiness from never wearing a helmet since my first ride on a bike and the combination of the feeling that I was “ever” in any danger of hurting myself, I did not feel the need to wear one, well lesson learned and now with a scar for the rest of my life I will never forget. I still don’t wear a helmet when biking in the city, but on longer trips, for me that is a must.

Waterproofing is key in Scotland or at least places that will rain often, if the rain can’t get through, the could will have a harder time to settle in.

Having a large backpack is not a good idea, it tends to start out light but as the time goes, it will always be overpacked and it will be to much for the back and too heavy. Especially with food.


Boardman bought from eBay for £260.99 • SRAM Apex GXP chainset/cranks with Shimano 105 chainrings – inc. GXP BB £51 P&P • 1x specialized inner tube • Blackburn minipump • puncture kit • cateye front and rear light • extra front and rear lights

cec9932e-b654-4b4e-87d6-5c489c4d2750_ IMAG1796

Dueter speed light 30 backpack • Platypus 3L hydration pack • Topeak Hexus II 16 Function Multi Tool • 230g Propane fuel • HiGear Inferno Folding Gas Stove • 2xPOD strap • two dry sacks(POD 30L & Lifeventure 70L) • North Face Lynx sleeping bag • Über bivy • Olympus OM 10 with 1 colour film

Mountain Chugach Jacket • Three pairs of sucks • three pairs of underwear • The North Face Warm Long Sleeve • one pair of jeorts(jean-shorts) • Endura Thermolite Knee Warmers • Lifeventure SoftFibre Trek Towel

Mainly consist of Müsli bars x 3-4 per day • Digestives dark and light chocolate • Batchelors Super rice for dinner • Homemade müsli • Haribo candy • Pumpernickel bread • Frankfurter • Lever paté

HTC desire 601 with OruxMaps app(Here’s a small review of the app)

The planed map:

*Weather data taken from worldweatheronline


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