>Tuesday 30th June brought the start of part two of my attempt at LEJoG.
After a day at work, I was to ride up to Euston to get the sleeper train to Crianlarich and start off next breakfast time on my trip to JoG, some 280 miles of cycling.
I had managed to get a first class sleeper ticket so could use the first class lounge at Euston. The receptionist there looked on open mouthed as a scruffy cyclist walked into the lounge with his bike and proceeded to park it in the entrance hall. After proving I had a first class ticket, I was able to avail myself of the showers, tea, coffee, computers and even phone charger.
Boarding the train brought the first worry of the night. I was booked in coach G, but there appeared to be 3 separate carriages all coach G. The train is about 20 carriages long when it leaves Euston and gradually splits into separate trains to Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen. When I asked about the guards van for the Fort William sleeper, I was told there wasn’t one until Edinburgh and I would have to rely on the staff at Edinburgh moving my bike from the Aberdeen sleeper train to the Fort William one. That sounded like a recipe for disaster. I had visions of waking up in Crianlarich but my bike being in Aberdeen. Fortunately the “host” on the carriage I was sleeping in managed to put the bike in the spare pantry on that carriage, so I would be able to sleep safely knowing my bike was going with me to Crianlarich.
The “host” however had bad news for me in that the air conditioning in the sleeper compartments was not working & the windows in the compartments do not open, meaning the night was going to be very hot and sweaty – despite being alone.
I did eventually get to sleep after a fashion. When I woke the next morning, I had a shock in that the train was now moving in the opposite direction to the way it had been when I went to sleep! this must have been when it split at Edinburgh at some silly hour in the morning.
A knock on the door at 7am brought a nice cooked breakfast and the morning papers. Reading the Scottish view on the world is interesting. The paper was discussing the English Rugby Football Union being awarded the 2015 World Cup Final and started it was going to be a great decade for BRITISH sport, with London holding the 2012 Olympics, England hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup and potentially England hosting the Football World Cup Finals in 2018.
0735 the train arrives at Crianlarich early (due in 742). Bike disembarked, and I’m off… well all of 2 yards anyway… I have a flat front tyre. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh the fairy has been travelling on the train. I changed the inner tube but could not find a hole in the original tube. That was something I would investigate later. I rode up to Tyndrum (5 miles) and met my parents, dumping my saddle bag with them and raiding the fridge for snacks. Then it was off on towards Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe and beyond.
The weather was very hot, but I did have a tail wind. I had intended to make an early tea stop, but was making such good progress that I did not stop till after I had been over Rannoch Moor and into Glen Coe.
A tea stop in Glen Coe and communication with my parents left me realising I wouldn’t be meeting them there for coffee. They were still on their campsite. I was now over 30 miles ahead of them. We agreed to meet in Fort William for lunch. This would be 52 miles in before lunch. I reached there around 12noon.
Arriving at McDonalds in Fort William, I found the fairy had visited again, and another flat front tyre. I was waiting for my parents, so examined the tyre. There was no puncture in the tube, it seems that I had a dodgy valve on this inner tube. I also examined the tube I replaced at Crianlarich and found that it did not have a puncture either, just a dodgy valve which I was able to fix and used that tube again.
I had done 52 miles before lunch out of a hoped for 83 miles. This was an extension of the original plan to do 76 miles. My parents were staying on a campsite at Fort Augustus at the start of Loch Ness. I carried on from Fort William and reached Fort Augustus by around 15:30 pm. The weather was great, I was feeling good, so what do I do? Yes, I carried on eventually reaching Drumnadrochit some 20 or so miles up the road from Fort Augustus. I had done 104 miles by then, my longest ever ride and at an average speed of 16.4mph. My fastest ride on LEJoG.
I then had to persuade my parents to bring my bag to Drumnadrochit as I had nothing other than my very smelly cycling kit that I stood in. They came to my hotel and we dined together there and made plans for the next day.
After studying the maps, I decided to change my routes for the rest of the trip. I decided to take the hilly but shorter routes.
GLEN COE MASSACRE – A HISTORY LESSON
Glen Coe was the scene of the famous massacre of the McDonalds by the Campbells. There is a big visitors centre there telling you the history of the incident. I didn’t have time to stop there though.
I had plenty of time to muse over the incident whilst cycling and thing about its consequences. History will record that despite being massacred at Glen Coe, the McDonalds have had the last laugh.
Just think about it- how many kids these days eat Campbell’s soup compared to the number who eat Big Macs etc.
Distance: 104 miles
Time Taken: 06:20
Av speed 16.4 mph
Distance Climbed 4569 feet