Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Friday, 3 September 2010

To Durness? Well, should have been - July 26th 2010

A very cold night so wrapped the sleeping bag in a survival blanket. Awoke to find very thick fog, very still conditions and the usual attendant insect life. Avon Skin So Soft -ed up and set off along Loch Shin. Fog soon went and what a glorious day; blue sky and almost no wind, beautiful views and a very flat road.

Stopped for a very close summer plumaged black-throated diver and enjoyed the views of the moorland, hills and eventually mountains along this superb road.
Stopped to ask for some water and this, as usual, turned into a long chat. So thanks Billy and Dee for that and the Jaffa Cakes!

Got to Laxford Bridge, turned up towards Durness, cycled a further 6 miles or so and then - plunk! Back wheel rim split and couldn't move the bike. A passing couple of German cyclists stopped and offered assistance but nothing could be done. Stared to think of how far it was going to be to push the bike to the nearest cycle shop. Thurso? 100 miles. Better get moving. Actually had pushed it around another 6 miles when a bus going the opposite way stopped to ask whether I needed help. "There's a bike shop in Ullapool" the driver said so onboard I got. Now this bus goes from Inverness to Durness and is called the 'Bike us' and as strange as it felt to be taking carbon transport again after all this time, the views along the way were spectacular. Sea lochs, moorlands and mountains and a stop to view a ruined castle whilst the bus went on a circular route before returning to the same drop off point.
No cycle shop in Ullapool so on to Strathpeffer where SQUARE WHEELS, the most wonderful cycle shop in the World is located. I say this becuase Steve, the owner, came out to rescue my situaltion, repkaced the errant wheel, put me up for the night and chatted about cycling and a rock group I'd really forgotten about named Little Feat. I remembered having seen them in 1976 at Carlton Athletic Football Club when The Who headlined in the rain. Widowmakers, Streetwalkers, The Outlaws, Little Feat, SAHB and The Who; not a bad line up and the pouring rain saved for The Who's set added to the fun.
Steve and The Wife, according to his Facebook page, Carly, together with their son, Angus were lovely and I am so very grateful for their help.

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