The Hannover Bike Boys

2001 Scotland: from Newcastle to Oban: Log and Links

Day 1,   June 13th,   Hannover to Amsterdam.
We meet for breakfast at sSchahroch's before setting off to catch the ferry from Amsterdam (Ijmuiden) to Newcastle. This is an overnight crossing run by DFDS. We left the car at the harbour, loaded up the bikes with our luggage and boarded on the bikes. There is a good buffet on the boot - a seafood buffet in the evening and a good breakfast buffet in the morning.

Day 2,   June 14th,   Newcaslte to Alnwick, 74 km
After disembarking it takes us some tike to find the cycle path out of Tynemouth. We are planning to follow the Coast and Castle Cycle Route from the National Cycle Network using an excellent map from sustrans to reach Edinburgh. A spoke breaks on Shari's bike. The route takes us along the coast via Whitly Bay, Blyth and Amble to Alnmouth. The route is pretty good apart from a tricky section at nature reserve at Druridge Bay. It's cold and overcast so we give up on the plan to camp and go inland to look for a B&B at Alnwick and end up at the excellent Bailiffgate Bed & Breakfast.

Day 3,   June 15th,   Alnwick to Norham, 80 km
We rejoin the cycleroute at Embelton, stop in a teansho a Seahouse to warm up, and push on for Berwick. The last stretch approaching Berwick is quite challenging along the cliff tops. Great view but the weather is miserable. We stop at a teamroom in Berwick to gather strength and warm up. Shari has problems with his shoulder so we decide to visit a doctor which work out well nobody is intersted in health insurance or payment!. We cross the border and go to Paxton but there are no B&B's and we follow a tip and in heavy rain we head for the Threeways B&B at Norham. I had phoned beforehand (01289-382795)and John and Pat Lauder welcome us when we arrive and take our soaking clothes to the drying room. Nice evening in the local pub with a very freindly landlord and his wife.

Day 4,   June 16th,   Norham to Innerliethen, 88km
Great breakfast and we debate with Pat and John whether to carry on cycling in the rain or go back to Berwick and take the train to Edinburgh. Shari's shoulder is hurting and the cold weather is not helping. John checks the train times for us. Eventually we decide to go back to Berwick but after a few minutes change our minds - the bike boys never turn back. The weather turns out fine, the roads are good to cycle, the countryside marvellous and we make good progress via Coldstream and Kelso.
At Newton St.Boswells we stop in a nice cosy pub with a coal fire (in June!)for lunch. Another group of cyclists arrive who are on the inaugural tour of the North Sea Cycle Route. The next section is quite a slog taking us to Innerliethen. It still not weather for camping, we can't find a B&B and end up with a room in the Corner House Hotel on the main street. We test all three pubs in the main street and meet some interesting characters.

Day 5,   June 17th,   Innerliethen to Edinburgh, 83km
This is the day when we do some serious hill climbing over the Moorfoot Hills. There is a cold headwind but the views towards Edinburgh when you reach the top are great. The roads are quiet and again good to cycle. The descent into Edinburgh takes us through Dalkieth and Musselborough and we pass Arthur's Seat in the way to the city centre. After a quick pint in one of Rose Street's many pubs we reach Trinity where my mother-in-law had a huge meal waiting for us.

Day 6,   June 18th,   Edinburgh sightseeing

Day 7,   June 19th,   Edinburgh to Brodick (Arran), 60 km
We leave Trinity in the rain and catch a train to Glasgow. No problem with bikes on the train. It's now warm and sunny as we follow the cycle path through Glasgow, along the Clyde and past Paisley and Linwood where the path follows an old train line. We are following the Glasgow to Carlisle from the National Cycle Network using a map from sustrans. At the south end of Kilbirnie Loch we stop for a a picnic.The cycle route takes us on to Ardrossan, and we arriving in heavy rain.
The ferry to Brodick (Caledonian MacBrayne) is fairly quiet but the weather is awful and there is quite a swell. It is still pouring when we arrive and a nice lass at the tourist information arranges a B&B for us. We share a fairly cramped room in the B&B which is next to James' Chocolate Shop.
Great meal in the evening in the Brodick Bar.

Day 8,   June 20th,   On Arran Brodick to Lochranza
We wake to bright sunshine and a fantastic view across the bay. Shari has another broken spoke so we head for the local bicycle shop. The repair tales a while so we decide on an easy day and opt for the short way round the island to Lochranza. Shortly after leaving Brodick is Arran Aromatics and the Cheese Shop. In the tearoom we discuss the delights of millionaires shortbread. The weather has changed again and we have a hard climb then a thrilling descent to reack Lochranza. The distillery provides a good means of warming up - it's a fairly new one but does a good tour. The campsite is nearby and as the sun appears again we decide for the first time to camp and pitch the tents close to a stream and have a nice picnic. Then it off to look for a pub and we end up in the bar at the Catacol Bay Hotel. The first beers are off but the views are fantastic.

Day 9,   June 21st,   Lochranza to Arduaine Point
There was some light rain in the night but the morning is bright and sunny and we cook some breakfast before heading for the fery at Cloanaig (Caledonian MacBrayne). The crossing takes about 30 minutes to Tarbert and we enjoy the views and the sunshine. On arrival, we set off accross the hills to Lochgilphead where we have picnic on the green. The lads are not impressed with the fly cemetries. We push on to the next campsite at Arduaine Point (now closed). Nice spot on the shore with great views. Top class meal in the bar of the nearby Loch Melfort Hotel. The boys order the lobster and we finish with sricky toffee pudding. Back at the campsite we try to sit outsdie to enjoy the view but discover about midgies.

Day 10,   June 22nd,   Arduaine Point to Oban
We wake up to a beautiful morning and go for a swim! This gives us an appetite so we cook breakfast and enjoy the view. The National Trust gardens at Arduanie are worth a visit. There are some hard climbs on the way to Oban but we make it by early afternoon. The campsite is good, with fine views, but a bit our of town. We explore the town but the evening meal is not a success - expensive, tiny portions. The chips aftrewards are not good either - feed them to the seagulls.

Day 11,   June 23rd,   Oban to Newcastle (by train)
The train journey from Oban to Glasgow is marvellous - great views, lots to see. Change at Glasgow for the train to Newcastle. Overnight on the ferry.

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