Well well well. What have we here? A pub courtyard full of frumpy english tourists. Frowning while looking out at the vertiginous ridge lines of the Lakes District. Guess I am not in Scotland anymore.
After 5 weeks of cycling and 2 weeks of faffing around my touring in Scotland is pretty much complete. Yesterday I caught the train into Glasgow from Oban, put my bike in for service, drank excellent coffee, ate vegan chocolate banana cake (while maple icing) and piss-bolted out of the city which was clearly larger and busier than I was mentally prepared for. Having teed up with John from Lake District Stand Up paddle boards to head out for an overnight camp to see what SUP-touring would be like I made Keswick my destination, but more on that later (perhaps).
I figure after my not so grand tour of Shetland, Orkney, the Outer Hebridies and Skye I should give you some form of collection of thoughts on what my impression of Scotland has been.
● Shite coffee. Seriously bring your own coffee making implements. I thought remote parts of Australia were bad on the coffee front, but I genuinely had a guy ask me if he’d made my coffee well after serving a mug of instand coffee.
● Instant coffee has some benefits. It often comes with a price tag in the islands of scotland, and that gives you a right to sit in a warm dry place after cycling into wet head winds for 2hrs.
● Scotland is an excellent place to visit if you are a a lactard like myself. A surprisingly large range of cakes and biscuits are dairy free, including a few fancy shortbreads.
● The people are amazingly welcoming, helpful and friendly. They are always ready for a chat and often have the best info on where to go and what to see. They are mostly infuriatingly considerate drivers too.
● Otters are a myth. You will not see one, so don’t get your hopes up.
Happy adventures everyone!
The cycling in Scotland is undeniably excellent, with an amazing array of resources available for cycling including:
● Comprehensive cycling notes
● Cycling accessible public transport
● Free showers on most ferries.
● Legal right to go anywhere and camp anywhere within the extent of the right to roam.
● Towns so close together you could ride with out carry foods, camping gear and probably even water.
In summary. Go ride people!