Loch Lomand, 24 miles long, separates the Scottish lowlands from the highlands.
Barb cycling along the Loch Lomond, known by the song “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”, first published in 1841. “O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road, and I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye”. We asked a local if this song is popular. “Oh yea! At every wedding, we gather in a circle and sing this as the bride and groom leave.” He also said that weddings are held on Saturday, “as you may know that the Scots like to drink a wee bit, and we need Sunday to recover, and we nearly recover by Monday. He happens to work at the Ben Nevis distillery, located in the shadow of its namesake mountain. But he assured us he doesn’t drink while on the job!
Swooping along the lochs with peep holes for views, ever changing with the light.
When we are not pushing against it, we are propelled by it! And we are cycling by water everyday. Water and wind are a major source of alternative energy in scotland. We stopped at a huge hydro electric plant in Cruachan. Scotland has enough wind power to cover all its residential electricity needs in half the year! Most of it is from onshore wind. Yes, we know all about onshore wind. Crossing a bridge between lochs yesterday we could barely stay upright.
The wind whipped up whitecaps.
Cindy held onto the chain link fence along this long bridge separating two lochs in whipping wind that threatened to blow her away.
To celebrate after her successful bridge crossing, Cindy found a use for the wee bottle of Scotch that Buddy and Bully gave her in Glasgow.
This stone is part of a poem created inside a lovely stone wall by a group of school children. They obviously were not allowed to write “scotch soothes,” something Cindy might have suggested.
Windy days do pose hazards for others, too.
Cycling through Scotland is to be surrounded by shades of green and alternating blue, gray, and violet sky. From the lakes (lochs), we biked up into the mountains to a pass with the lovely name, “Rest and be thankful.” We were especially thankful that the highway maintenance crew held traffic so we could safely ride up the pass on the single lane without cars whizzing past.
Cars cueing for the single-lane passage. When bike paths ended, we had no option but to cycle north through the lochs on the A82 with no shoulder. A scary endeavor. We sandwich Cindy’s trike among our bikes for safety and had all our lights flashing. If we could swim the lochs, we would.
From “Rest and be thankful” pass. Ahh.
Heading the wise advice to “rest and be thankful.”
Today I had a glimpse of the highland mountain, Ben Nevis, mostly hidden by the rain clouds.
Our rainy start today in Fort William was fueled by my first taste of black pudding and Haggis and tatties (potato pancakes) plus salmon, tomatoes, eggs, yogurt, fruit….
Guisachan Guesthouse‘s breakfast was made by the amazing Carmen and Phill, the kindest B&B owners in Scotland.
Taking the train up into the highlands seemed very appealing in the rainy weather after consuming a huge breakfast. I stood at a bridge with two blokes, rain dripping off our hoods, all of us keen on watching the train rush by. Then we tightened our rain hoods and waved a cheerio and headed up into the highlands on foot and bike.
We meet all sorts of wonderful people. Yesterday I met Chris and Jill who are walking the entire coast of the UK. They started in November, 2019. 6,448 miles. This is not a typo! I noticed the needlepoint on Chris’s rucksack and got curious. I raise my water bottle for a toast: To Longevity for Chris and Jill! Chris started out with a three-week walk, liked it so much that he went home to Yorkshire “to button up their house and gardens,” convinced Jill to join (She clearly needed little convincing), and they set off for what will be a THREE-YEAR walk (interrupted by Covid lock-downs, weddings, and funerals). Next up for them? Possibly walking the Scottish isles. There are a LOT of isles and they will need longevity to complete them all.
The Scottish isles call.
A surprise sunny day in Glasgow earlier this week where a friendly Scotsman took our photo on one of many eclectic bridges crossing the River Clyde. We miss Kathy who is on the mend after an unpleasant fall injured her ribs. As she would likely point out, it also resulted in an early release from the hills of Scotland. She is healing, but of course, not resting, as she is preparing for another bike trip in Nova Scotia taking the high road again! Thank you Michele Obama (was she thinking about The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond?).