DAY 54 – Shieldaig to Poolewe

Wednesday 18th April

After a slight lie in (we still got up at 6:30am) I was feeling refreshed and ready to go…if only our bikes could say the same. Danny had developed a flat front tyre overnight so whilst he changed the inner tube I took the opportunity to clean and re-lube my chain as it was getting pretty filthy. All fixed we set off but only 10m down the road I heard a shout…Danny had punctured again (or more accurately what caused the original puncture wasn’t correctly fixed). This time we took off his entire tyre and realise that the rim tape – which keeps the inner tube from hitting the spoke holes – was completely bent out of shape and curling in on itself. It had worked itself away from one of the spoke holes and subsequently caused the inner tube to rupture. Danny had never previously punctured on this bike so had no reason to check that this was okay. After some quick thinking from me, I remembered I had been given some green electrical tape by the guys who made me the makeshift flag in Wales so we used that to seal the rim before replacing the tyre and inflating (another) new inner tube. We crossed all our fingers as we were out of options if this didn’t work, but luckily it held and has done all day!

Finally we got on the road a few hours later than planned but still in good spirits. As is usually the case there was a steep climb almost immediately after setting off but after that came a lovely downhill section followed by a gradual uphill through the valley floor in the shadow of Beinn Eighe.

We were incredibly lucky to ride past two fully grown stags, standing atop a mound in all their glory. It was a real privilege to witness such stunning animals in their natural habitat, although it was slightly ironic they were only 50 yards from a massive information board on red deer!

We continued on along a nice downhill stretch to Kinlochewe where we went to the local pub/hotel for lunch. There we met Wendy and her husband Hamid who were really interested in my trike, and astounded by my coastline challenge. We chatted to them throughout lunch and swapped stories about Scotland and the surrounding areas. They were so lovely and out of then blue insisted on paying our lunch bill. We were truly grateful for this spontaneous act of kindness, and I am still not used to this happening even after 53 days of being on the road.

After lunch we had a 20 mile cycle to reach Gairloch where there was a local post office which I used to send home the 2kg of stuff I had culled from my possessions during my rest day. I am hoping this was the right decision and that the weather doesn’t get worse again!

From Gairloch we decided to cycle the extra six miles up and over a big hill to reach Poolewe where there was a nice campsite waiting for us. This was a tough addition to an already long day but it meant making tomorrow easier as it is set to be a battle of trike vs hills as we navigate our way to Ullapool.

As I write this we are hunkered down in our tent with the wind howling outside – hopefully all of our possessions will still be here in the morning, no doubt I’ll let you know if this is not the case!

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