Day 34 Sat 2 April: In the cool light of a new day it all makes sense. This IS the Oban I visited 20 years ago. On approaching the harbour from a different angle it is much more recognisable. Even the sea food shack is still here and although bigger than before, is now dwarfed by the ‘new’ Cal-Mac Ferry Terminal building and a parade of new shops. Ferry crossing number seven this week, Oban to Mull. A full load of motor vehicles and one bicycle. Dear Fondo. Looking a bit sad & grubby after a day of splashing though grimy puddles and being sprayed by many a passing lorry. As was I. Just a few moments of tlc before boarding, to check tyres, clean brake blocks & wheel rims, lubricate chainset and most importantly, pat the saddle affectionately.
Another smooth, flat calm crossing after some complex route options deliberated at length last night. Still a day behind schedule, the timetabled Saturday crossing from Tobermory to Kilchoan would now be needed on Sunday. Not possible, being one of the smaller ferries that doesn’t run on Sunday. As informed by David, the Tobermory Lifeboat Cox’n who’d also suggested local accommodation at the Mishnish Hotel, there was an alternative ferry crossing from Fishnish. This, however would incur much additional mileage and put us another half day behind. So, having by-passed the optional Fishnish ferry and rejected the Mishnish offer, we settled for the fish dish lunch in Tobermory and a Saturday crossing to the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Confused? So was I. But it worked. Great to meet a good number of the Tobermory crew. The boat house was immaculate, apparently due to the routine Saturday crew meeting. And perhaps something to do with the big day tomorrow with the visiting dignitaries attending the rededicating ceremony for the upgraded, refitted Severn Class Lifeboat. Thanks to Mick (crew,LPO) and David for the full tour of your immaculate Lifeboat.
Highly recommended: fish&chips at the cafe on the quay between the Mishnish and the Lifeboat before boarding the ferry. Just one vehicle (our van), four bikes and 8 passengers on this second crossing of the day. More great views, including a glimpse of a very distant, very big, snow capped peak beyond the nearer wee ones. Ben Nevis. Back on land at Ardnamurchan, the most westerly point of mainland Britain. 13 more miles cycling on the best roads so far, all the way to our overnight stop at the Glenborrodale bunk house. Much to tell about this later. Gotta get some sleep, so just check out http://www.wildhighlandtours.co.uk . That’s where we are tonight.