We have had another sunny, scenic day in the North West Highlands. 55 miles with 4,000 feet of ascent, including the biggest hill so far on our Lejog adventure.
Leaving Sail Mhor Croft Hostel behind at 08:00, we had a couple of fairly flat miles, weaving our way through a herd of goats before the long ascent towards Braemore Junction. Our cuckoo was with us, so all was well. The river that runs beside the road fell down the hill through spectacular, deep gorges and the sight and sound of the tumbling water distracted us from the protracted climb. This was our longest, highest hill so far and we climbed for the best part of an hour. An Teallach at 1062m dominated the scene we were leaving, with the snow topped Fannichs ahead.The top at 1450′ was a deserted place but there was evidence that it was once inhabited with the remains of buildings and field boundaries. It was difficult to imagine how people subsisted on this poor soil, in this inhospitable place before The Clearances.
This was definitely an occasion for a flag photo. Especially as it hung limply in a rare moment with no wind. The day was beautiful and sunny and we appreciated our good fortune in being there.
Down the way at speed as far as the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach. This is a popular tourist spot but today it was all ours. The Gorge is very deep and the suspension bridge very wobbly (not my favourite thing) but it was definitely worth stopping to look.
At Braemore Junction we joined the A835. The traffic was still very light. The views along Loch Broom were vibrant on this perfect clear blue day.
The next flag photo was at Ullapool city limits after which we rode into this thriving highland fishing port and enjoyed brunch.
Leaving Ullapool the sign just said ‘North’. Soon followed by another, that promised John O’ Groats in 170 miles. This still feels like a very long way to go, after 15 days cycling! The scenery opening up as we headed up the Strath Canaird was extraordinary. After ascending yet another 850′ hill the sight of deserted, rough, empty, boggy moorland out of which rose wonderful, spectacular, distinctive shaped mountains like Stac Pollaidh and Cul Mor was breathtaking. It was very quiet, just an occasional camper van and the cuckoo of course.
We descended to Elphin with fine views of Suilven. I was first here in 1977 and, apart from improvements to the road, it appears to be unchanged.
Onwards to Ledmore Junction and the A837. Another deserted A road. Our last ascent of the day was gently up to Loch Awe after which we dropped down, accompanied by the River Loanan to Inchnadamph. We arrived in the afternoon with plenty of time to enjoy and appreciate this very special place.
The GPX file for today’s ride is here.