Day 20 Ullapool to Applecross

Sunday  Dateicon  18.6.2017  Tigericon  523km Total:3380km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  3.89km Total:151.03km

Today would be a pretty short stint (I thought) as it was completely hopeless finding accommodation up here.
it's just 190kms to the next stay and with the weather being absolute crap even by Highlands standards they disappear pretty quick.
It's really great riding on mostly single track and the fact that the riding is so good makes the weather a lot more sufferable.
The last stretch along Loch Shieldaig is some of the finest riding I've done since getting to Scotland.
The fact that the ridings good and the constant rain means there aren't many stops and I'm at Hartfield House in Applecross around noon.

Way to early to check-in and since there's plenty of day left I decide to just unload the gear in reception and head out on the Isle of Skye.
Bealach na Bà, the road between A890 and Applecross (simply called Applecross) is one of if not the most famous bikers road in all of Great Britain.
It's pretty much the British Stelvio.
It's a single track mountain pass through some of the most scenic nature Scotland has to offer.
Since I rode this both from, to and then back over again the morning after I think I'm at least a bit qualified to give my thoughts on it and to be honest I wasn't really that impressed, at least not riding-wise.
It's the narrowest single track I've ridden in the Highlands and it is also the one with the most traffic which is a really terrible combo, it's basically a 20km chicken-race where you on the bike is destined to loose.
A bad day it's a chicken-race with little to no visibility on the mountain.
But if it's just pure adrenaline you're after this is definitely the place to go.

I stop at Sligachan Hotel on the Isle of Skye to get lunch.
Slowcooked Higland venison in an armchair by a crackling fire was just what the doctor ordered to recharge for the rest of todays ride.

The scenery was truly grand and the rain subsides to eventually stop completely which did wonders for my mood.
Actually I get in such a good mood I get the terrible idea to walk (or rather climb) all the way out on the cliffs of An Lethallt on the east coast.
It doesn't feel really stupid until I had to contemplate whether or not the bike gear would do me any good if any of the rams that looked pretty pissed that I had invaded their territory decided to hit me in the ding-dongs and put me over the side.
I almost regretted leaving the helmet on the bike.
But well in one piece out on the edge of the rock it was well worth both the effort and risk.

From here it isn't far to Quiraing Pass, a fantastic stretch of road that connect the two main roads on Skyes north eastern part.
Great ride, even if the rest of Skye had been boring (which it definitely isn't) it would have been worth it just go get to here.
I don't do many stops on the western part down, with todays route going from about 200 to 500kms I need to be getting back to my hotel.

That could have gotten a bit expensive.
Nearing Broadford a motorist is blinking with his headlights like crazy and in passing gives me a frenetic thumbs down.
I had just overtaken another car thus crossing into his lane so I just assumed he was critiquing my style but I thought it was a bit weird because I though that pass was completely by the book.
I've never seen a thumbs down to indicate a police checkpoint but that was obviously what he meant because as soon as I crossed the city line, there they where.
Even with the db-killer installed the exhaust is pretty load so acceleration and decelerations are rather obvious.
When I let go of the throttle and it sound like Braaaaaaaaaap you really don't need to be a genius to come to the conclusion that a there has just been a great reduction in speed.
It was just lucky for me they didn't have the laser up and had a sense of humour since they where both laughing at me as I went past, that one's on me.

When I get to Applecross for the second time the rain has picked up again, it's worse than ever and it's gotten really cold.
That same weather phenomenon has probably also contributed to the pea-soup fog up on the mountain, I'm riding around in a white foggy blur and at its worst I guess I had about 10m visibility in front of the bike and with the visor fogging up I probably had 10m visibility in 10 percent of my field of vision.
Luckily there weren't many others stupid enough to do this in these conditions because I almost shat myself every time a car appeared out of the fog.

It was total bliss arriving at the hotel even though in reality it was a pretty poorly insulated hostel, at least there was a shower and a bed.

 

The west coast below Ullapool

West coast near Applecross, some of the best riding I've ever done

Applecross, Highland cattle

Bealach na Bà, Applecross pass with the bay and the Island of Raasay in the background


Skye

Cliffs of An Lethallt



Don't mind me


Quaring Pass

It wasn't just the lack of visibility that made the ride back across Applecross exciting, there where also a flock of stags on the road which I just barely managed to get on camera

This picture makes it look a lot better than it was, or at least as it felt