I am not a morning person. What I mean by that is that I like my peace and quiet when I wake up, I like to drink coffee in silence and not see or hear other people until I’m ready for that. Unfortunately my bedroom was above the kitchen which seemed to have turned into a bit of a breakfast party for everyone that was up. The situation was made worse by knowing there was no coffee in the house and I knew I will have to wait until we stop.
But the excitement of a whole day of riding in Scotland meant I wasn’t even grumpy about it. I was the last to get up but I wasn’t the last to be ready and on the bike!
First we rode a whole 5 minutes from the house to look at an old abbey which was well worth it. We’ve spotted it the previous night on the way to the restaurant and it would have been a shame to have missed it.
The next stop was a coffee shop where some of us had breakfast and everyone else had coffee and ended up hiding in a shade. It was a hot start of the day, so very un-Scottish but we weren’t complaining.
Jules arranged to meet Scottish Paul at a certain time in Dumbarton but we were a group of faffers so of course, we were late. However, we arrived in style, engines rumbling and exhausts shouting and it was great to see Paul. To add to the drama Roey locked his keys in his top box. In true Top Gear style most of us left him to it and got some lunch while he found a mechanic with a hacksaw and gained access to his keys. Luckily Deli had a ratchet strap to keep it all together for the rest of the trip.
Having Paul with us meant we won’t get lost as he was our chosen leader and we were delighted when he agreed to show us around his home turf.
After Roey got his keys out of the top box and we’ve been fed and watered again we followed Paul and this is where the scenery changed and the roads turned into a playground. A few times I nearly forgot to look where I was going and a corner appeared closer than anticipated because I was busy looking around! I had to have a stern talking to myself to start paying attention to the road. It wasn’t difficult. A sweeping corner after a sweeping corner and a group of riders with similar riding level made it a real joy.
We’ve stopped at Rest and Be Thankful so that Paul could count all of his chickens and check in on us. This was our first ride out together and especially Paul seemed keen to ensure we are happy with his speed and riding. He didn’t have to ask, really. All we could say was “wow” and “that’s amazing” and some more of “wow”. Rest and Be Thankful is the highest point on the A83 scenic route and it divides Glen Kinglas from Glen Croe.
The tour continued until we reached Inveraray where my personal highlight was the bridge with the view of the castle. Sadly a traffic light operated one way traffic only on the bridge and no opportunity to stop for a photo but it’s stored well in my mind. It was a spectacular sight.
We stopped by the lake for a break and to take in the views.
Our final stop was Oban where our accommodation was booked. Half of the crew was stopping in a hostel and the other half in a Premier Inn.
Paul came well prepared, as you know and Jules, Paul and I had a glass of Prosecco before we headed out to meet with the others at the Oban Inn.
We were all starving but were told the kitchen was closed. By then we have already ordered a round of drinks and sat outside in their beer garden. I spotted a pizzeria across the road and thought I’d be polite and ask the pub that given they’re no longer serving food and we are happy drinking there, would they mind if we bring pizzas in. I was told no. But I’ve heard go. So Paul and I brought pizzas to the table and ate them sneakily. Or so we thought. The rest of the crew went to a local fish and chips shop and did the same. The bar staff saw us, of course, and I was giggling so much I nearly wet my knickers when a young bar man (boy – he looked 12 and yes, I know I’m showing my age here) and told us we are all barred from the pub.
That’s quite ok, we took our money elsewhere and were rewarded with a proper bar that served various types of gin, used proper wine glasses and had a good selection of whiskey, too.
The day was Thursday 19th September and we’ve covered 206 miles.