Gourock to Tarbert, via Helensburgh and Tighnabruaich

Day 29  Easter Sun, 27 March: Just before the sun rose it dawned on me that the plan to take the ferry across the Clyde from Gourock to Kilcreggan was based originally on a Saturday timetable. It was now Sunday. A quick check online confirmed that there are no sailings to anywhere near Helensburgh on a Sunday. A 34mile detour, up the South Bank of the Clyde via Greenock, Erskine Bridge and back via Dumbarton was unavoidable. A great reception at H’burgh, where many of the crew had gathered for their regular Sunday meeting/training session.  Another great bunch. Many thanks to Colin (LOM) and crew ( ) for a great tour of the Lifeboat Station and their Atlantic 75 IRB, and for the many words of encouragement and local advice and assistance regarding best route to the next LBStn at Tighnabruaich.

Back to Gourock for the Dunoon Ferry. The next 20 miles included some of the most typically Scottish beautiful scenery you’d expect. Loch-side castle ruins, narrow winding roads with passing places, hill climbs that go on for ever, then repay you with breathtaking views of lochs and mountains, thrilling/terrifying descents, hooded crows and red squirrel warning signs. Thank God those signs were there, I had no idea those cuties were such a serious hazard to cyclists. Must check to see if I need a gun licence.

It’s true, four seasons in a day is the norm up here. Dazzling sunshine, heavy rain, warm, cold, freezing hail. All within a 20 minute period on the run in to Tighnabruaich. Not so much a temperate, balmy climate. Just barmy. Thanks to Ronnie Irvine, LOM at T’bch for taking time out to meet us at the boathouse. Quick dash along the lochside,  slow grind up another significant climb and back down to the Portavadie to Tarbert ferry. A long, tiring, fantastic, painful, great day out. Highlight? I can’t really say. Perhaps the large Starfish pie supper with a pint of Kilt Lifter. My first ever.

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