Saturday 14th April
I’m pleased to report that I woke up this morning feeling refreshed (if still somewhat groggy) and ready to cycle again. It wasn’t long ago that a day like yesterday would have wiped me out for a whole week, so I feel proud of how my body coped with yesterday and I shouldn’t shy away from the fact that I do need to stop and rest sometimes.
We had a plan to see the northern most peninsula of Skye which involved cycling 25 miles to a campsite at Portree, setting up our tent and ditching our luggage before continuing in a loop of the peninsula.
Along the road to Luib we were flagged down by a passing car who seemed incredibly excited to see me. It was Glyn, a fellow trike rider, who rode with me and also hosted me back in Merseyside. He is one of the most inspiring people I’ve met on my journey so far and it was brilliant to run into him on the island – he was here holidaying and cycling too.
We continued along the main road and over some big hills before arriving in Portree at around 11am. We found the campsite and pitched our tent before unloading all of our heavy luggage – that’s right, we were going to cycle the rest of the day unloaded! A rare treat for me on this trip.
The idea was to ride a 45 mile loop on the northern peninsular and at the same time bag one of the second top 100 climbs – the Quiraing. We set off up the hill and I found myself riding a good few miles an hour faster than usual – I was putting in the same amount of effort but it was really telling that I wasn’t carrying my luggage! Don’t get me wrong the riding was still hard – Danny reminded me of Greg Lemond’s famous quote “it never gets easier, you just go faster” and this seemed quite apt.
We briefly stopped for lunch at a cafe before tackling the Quiraing – a stunning stretch of road which cuts from west to east across this peninsular and over the top of a large mountainous ridge. It was just over two miles in length with a maximum gradient of 15% and without my luggage I felt ready to attack this and give it my all! When I uploaded my ride to Strava later on I was so proud to see that I was the 35th fastest women ever up the climb!
Once down the other side we turned south and headed back to the campsite. It was at this point we realised we had had a generous tail wind when going north and that the final 15 miles of a 70 mile day would be gruelling and unrelenting as we battled the wind. We pressed on but the wind was too much and we had to pull over to shelter and have a rest. We were thankful when we made it back to Portree and into the welcome arms of a local pub!
After being on the coast for so long I had tired of fish and chips and wanted something different. We tried a local Indian restaurant who were able to do me a dish without onion and garlic and it was just fantastic – a real change to the norm and something which capped off an incredible day’s cycling on the Isle of Skye. It was made even better by be fact that we had pitched our tent earlier in the day so all we had to do was clean our teeth and crawl into our sleeping bags…💤