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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day Three: Saturday 23rd July

After camping at Invergarry, we had decided to take the low level route around the Lochs and past Laggan to Newtonmore. We still had the trailer but this was to be a much easier day as there were few big climbs as most of the route followed the edge of Loch Oich and Loch Lochy.

The beginning of the day was spend gliding through some fantastic forest roads, every now and then catching a wonderful view of the lochs before heading past Gairlochy where we stopped by the Caledonian Canal and rested our legs in the gorgeous sunshine. The day had begun well and it was as if there was no trailer at all... or maybe that was because Sven was pulling it so far!

After stopping in Spean Bridge to refill our water bladders and check the phones for messages from home, I took over with the trailer and we managed to pick up a great little single track which led on to a beautiful stretch of farm track that took us alongside the river, past herds of cows, herds of Boy Scouts, grumpy farmer's wives and a helpful old farmer who pointed us towards a footbridge. However, he failed to tell us which fork in the track to take and so following the prominent downhill one, I had to pull the trailer all the way up again after it led down to a ford in the river that only a very hardy Landrover would have managed. Certainly too rocky, deep, wide and fast for us. The footbridge on the other hand was a much better way to cross, even if it did have a 4 person weight limit. How many people would 60lb be equivalent to? Well, I'm sure it was less risky than trying to climb down the slippery cliffs to fill a water bottle with water from the rapids below which is what one boy was trying to do and paying little heed to Sven's shouts of advice from the bridge! He did see sense in the end though.

Having by-passed Roybridge we joined the main road and from here and it was a long slog to Newtonmore. We tried a short sprint thinking that we could get to Strathmashie to the bike shop in order to get my wheel fixed but that was just too much. Having passed Loch Laggen I really ran out of steam and even though I had managed to consume a handful of wholemeal bread whilst cycling, I welcomed a rest, sandwiches and shortbread.

The road to Laggon was much easier after refuelling. Especially as we enjoyed a hard earned rest on the beach at Glenbogle. I was surprised that the estate was so open to visitors and the guy from the quad bike hire across the road said that wild campers were welcome. It was very tempting but we had to push on and by the time we reached the little shop we were only in need of some groceries for the next day as well as taking the opportunity for a treat. My treat was an orange Lucozade whilst Sven opted to try a Monster energy drink. He seemed to enjoy it at first with the little rocket propulsion apparent between Laggan and Newtonmore.

We were both running on empty by the time we reached Newtonmore and after finding a convenient place to pitch the tent (not so convenient if you were trying to play golf on Newtonmore's golf course the following morning though!) and headed to the nearest hotel.

After a pint at The Highlander, a phone charge and a freshen up, the staff were unbelievably helpful and even agreed to lock our trailer away on the condition that someone came to pick it up in the next couple of days. I had a great sleep that night in the knowledge that this was really the start of a great mountain bike experience for Sven who up until now had been doing the majority of the trailer pulling. Sven, on the other hand, was not dreaming of much. He found that Monster energy drinks and coffee do not equal a good nights sleep. Well, other than the risk of golfer's using us as target practice, nothing was going to stop us now. The dead boar would no longer be hauled!

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