Day 8 – Elvanfoot to Tarbet

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Derek: Today was a relatively un-eventful day. On this sort of event, that is exactly what we like to experience. The roads heading towards Glasgow were generally quite good, except for some areas where the road surface was as smooth as my bottom feels right now.

Some of the back roads were quite busy – especially around a quarry near Boghead. It was shortly after this that we had a bit of a scare – I’ll leave it to Mike to fill in the details on that one.

We crossed the Erskine bridge which I think was quite lovely, but I was watching the road most of the time.

The ride then carried on the a82 into Tarbet which is on the banks of Loch Lomond. While we didn’t get to see much of this while cycling, we do have a glorious view of it from the lounge of the B&B we’re in tonight – a rather pleasant room, based on the TARDIS and locked in a time-warp from the 70’s. The lady running it appears to be Austrian and comes complete with chirping cookoo clock and a lovely pink bathroom.

We wandered down the road to a converted church which appears to be the only restaurant in the area that’s open to the public. This was very nice, but obviously targeted at middle-aged American tourists – who were there in the plenty and splendour savouring the highly authentic replica’s of everything.

While eating, Mike and I found yet another scary similarity in that when it came time for pud, and the waiter went through the specials, we both instantly went for the Treacle Pud and Custard (note: not Creme Anglais up here in Scotland!).

On a side note – today we’ve been told by Becky that we’re looking really well, and also apparently the waitress in the pub at lunchtime told Jayne that we looked really fit. Maybe it’s the hazy Scottish air impeding their vision?

Mike: Today was a bit of a late start and we commenced the journey down the familiar B road with all its bumps and holes etc.  There was one stretch that seemed to have every possible variant of surface over a 1 mile.  I came to the conclusion they must be experimenting (to see which would be most uncomfortable for poor saddle-sore cyclists).

One detail that perhaps should not be shared is that we are both wearing 3 pairs of shorts now due to the saddle pressure (not chafing, just the same feeling one gets from sitting on a bench for hours, magnified by a few hundred times)

As Derek mentioned the roads were a bit busy from time to time – and some cars came close, one very close…close enough to knock the back of my hand from the handlebars with it’s door mirror.  The driver, who I am fairly sure was on a handheld mobile, was nice enough to wave an apology as he continued driving up the road.  However, we made good time to Glasgow nonetheless.

This afternoon was almost entirely by the side of Loch Lomond and we achieved probably the best consistent speed of the trip so far (I was pretty much in a zone today, but fortunately Derek didnt complain so I guess he was feeling fit too!)

Today we said goodbye to Jayne, who had been supporting us admirably over the weekend.  Her replacement is Becky who was flying up from Heathrow this afternoon but unfortunately her flight wasnt until quite late and was then delayed.  Jayne brought some of our luggage to the B&B in Tarbet and then drove the car back to Glasgow (leaving it in our company office car park).  By the time Becky arrived in Tarbet, Derek and I had eaten and I had already tucked into a hot chocolate.

So tomorrow is up to edge of Loch Ness…with some hills included apparently.  And there was me thinking Scotland was flat.

Beer of the Day: Maverick – A dark robust ale with distinct character, warm roasted malt flavours matched with a fruity hop aroma, brewed at the head of Loch Fyne.
(The above was “written” by Derek, having read it on the bottle….the real description would be dark and hoppy!)

Whisky of the Day:  The eatery (The Ben Lomond) didnt have much of a selection (surprisingly) and I left it to the waiter to bring us the most local one, which turned out to be The Macallan (not that local really).  Crisp, clean and almost refreshing, without so much of a hint of smokiness (This really was written by Mike!)

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