Day 9 Dundonald to Connell

Memorial at Holy Loch

Memorial at Holy Loch

Watching the weather forecast on BBC was not very encouraging, heavy rain would be with us by 8am so the plan was an early start and then carry on as long as possible and any mileage achieved would be a bonus.

Setting off in grey skies and a stiff north-westerly wind I soon passed through Irvine and Dalry, they were both very quiet and it was very much a case of head down and pedal before enjoying a long and fast exhilarating descent into Largs.

The coastal road to Gourock

The coastal road to Gourock

Following the Firth of Clyde was a pleasant distraction, there is something calming about watching the sea and the road followed all along the coast to Gourock where I met Kaye for the 20 minute ferry crossing of the Clyde to Hunters Quay at the mouth of Holy Loch. My memory of history reminded me that Holy Loch was once home of the US Polaris nuclear submarine base and home to Alexander Robertson (boatbuilding) who built the classic 12 and 15 metre racing yachts, both are now gone and replaced by a marina development.

Still awaiting the forecast rain I enjoyed a spirited run along the bank of Loch Eck watching groups of children from Outward Bound schools getting lessons in canoeing that seemed to involve a lot of shouting. The steep-sided hills of the A815 followed the Loch edge all the way to Inveraray where I caught my first ever sight of a red squirrel, albeit rather inactive and flat lying on the road, this was followed by the first cuckoo song of the year. Passing Clachan I saw The Loch Fyne Oyster Works and Deli but time and shallow pockets meant I kept pedalling.

Inveraray before the rain.

Inveraray before the rain.

At Inveraray a couple of old wooden sailing boats were alongside the breakwater and taking my eye off the ball the Garmin had routed me up a forest track, as I retraced my steps to a main road route the rain finally arrived with a vengeance and after a brief lunch stop I decided to carry on for the last 30 miles to Connell.

Skin may be waterproof but when I finally arrived at North Ledaig Caravan Park at 4-30 I was soaked through and very cold, fortunately The Caravan Club main sites have amazing facilities and hot showers. The motorhome is now parked overlooking Ardmucknish Bay, I am told the views are spectacular but with driving rain, low cloud and zero visibility we can see nothing. Overall a good days mileage considering the forecast.

Stats

Dundonald to Connel 110.65
Total 724.50
Climbing 4823ft
avg speed 15.9mph

Campsite, North Ledaig Caravan Park

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