Sunday 10 July 1983
Day ride: Lannacombe Beach
5 present: Matthew Burrows, Phil Burrows, Mark Morton, Kevin Presland, Andrew Winstanley
On July 10th Ttnes saw us turn up in an optimistic mood for the Lannacombe Beach run – what a day for swimming we thought. After sorting out the Highwayman (magazines, not Totnesians) we plodded up the High Street, through Harbertonford, Moreleigh and other such places, eventually arriving at Sherford, although we were never meant to go there.

Nearing the top of the hill there was a cry of, dare I say it, “Puncture!!!”, and who could that have come from apart from myself. Now Phil decided to time me, and this proved somewhat regrettable as I rushed the job and tied my chain into the most amazing knots. Luckily, I was the only one with a camera, and I was too busy with the chain rivet extractor!

We then proceeded with all speed to Lannacombe, only to find that a fog had descended. So only Mark and I faced the sea, and Mark got considerably wetter.

After lunch we turned tail and rushed – well, plodded – for Torcross and the café. We returned home via Strete and Harbertonford to end an over-energetic day’s cycling.

(Kevin Presland)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

[2 photos to follow from Kevin Presland]

Wednesday 13 July 1983
Evening ride: Buckfastleigh
2 present: Dave Eyre, Michael Jones
The next time, the second Wednesday, was to Michael’s for ice-cream (without wafers) and drinks.

(Dave Eyre)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 17 July 1983
Day ride: Dartmeet
2 present: Steven Bowles (13, Paignton), Colin Brierly
Hot sticky weather for our run on Dartmoor on the third Sunday in July, and after meeting up at Bickington we had the long hot climb to Haytor. A very necessary stop was made at Kevin’s to replenish bottles, and ice-creams were the order of the day at Haytor.

The through of Widecombe’s crowds and the hills between there and Dartmeet encouraged a change of plan and we turned to Cold East Cross and then towards Buckland. A shady spot for lunch, then on to Buckland and down to a very crowded Spitchwick for a few folks to have a swim – and all to have more ice-creams.

A lane route home through Broadhempston with a pause for a puncture and not surprising rumbles of thunder.

Stephen had been out for this, his first run.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Wednesday 20 July 1983
Evening ride: Shaldon
2 present: Dave Eyre, Michael Jones
The third Wednesday was to Shaldon for ice-creams, but the shop was shut so Michael and Andrew had chips and pizza.

(Dave Eyre)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 24 July 1983
Day ride: Ringmore
2 present: Steven Bowles, Colin Brierly
Stephen had no hesitation in joining us again on the next Sunday when Ringmore was the destination. A break in the dry spell with quite heavy rain during our ride from Avonwick to Ermington so that a large leafy Beech tree just beyond Sequers Bridge invited an early lunch stop.

The tree wasn’t too waterproof, but luckily the sun came out and hot weather was with us again and we gave the “Journey’s End” at Ringmore a little extra trade. The tide was low enough for us to use the tidal road to Aveton Gifford on our route home through Woodleigh and Harbertonford.

(Colin Brierly)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Wednesday 27 July 1983
Evening ride: Decided on the Day
2 present: Phil Burrows, Dave Eyre
The last Wednesday in July was around the lanes to see how many new roads we could take Phil on!

(Dave Eyre)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Saturday 30 July 1983Weekend ride: Camping Trip Day 1 Home to Postbridge
3 present: Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland
Saturday 30th July was the beginning of our joint camping/Fernworthy weekend. Only four members were able to support the camping, as many were involved in Scout camps, and they met at Buckfastleigh at 3pm.

It was nearly 4.30 by the time we had bought our food and other items in the town, and then it was simply a matter of cycling up over Hembury and Spitchwick in the sweltering heat. We made it in the end and arrived somewhat belatedly at Dury Farm, Postbridge, shortly after 7pm.

Supper was a long-drawn-out affair, hampered by our choice of food – soup, beef burgers, potatoes, peas, beans and rice – which was not ideally suited to preparation on a single stove. When we had finished washing up it was quite dark and time for bed, so we gave the evening drinks a miss.

(Michael Jones)

[1 photo to follow from Kevin Presland]

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Saturday 30 July 1983
Day ride: Fernworthy
1 present: Phil Burrows
No report available, but it met up with the weekenders at Kevin's house.

Sunday 31 July 1983
Weekend ride: Camping Trip Day 2
3 present: Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland
The night was fairly peaceful apart from a number of strange and initially worrying noises which later proved to have been caused by a dog and a horse roaming around outside the tent. Whilst Kevin was frying his breakfast in the morning, a chicken wandered up as bold as you please and began to eat out of the pan! Such is life on the farm.

The rain began shortly afterwards, causing consternation not only in our tent but also back at Bovey, where the Sunday mob were meeting. We stayed under cover until 11.30 when things brightened up a bit, and then set off for the Warren House Inn and the footpath to Fernworthy.

The others weren’t there when we arrived shortly after 2pm, so we headed back towards Haytor via Hound Tor in the hope of seeing them. Unfortunately, however, they were circling back the other way, having decided not to proceed to the reservoir, and we didn’t meet up until 4pm when we all arrived at Kevin’s for tea and a swim.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The rain held off until everyone had been in the pool, and then we settled down inside for a most delicious spread of tea. As usual we would like to thank Kevin’s parents for their hospitality, which nicely rounded off a good weekend’s cycling.

(Michael Jones)

Sunday 7 August 1983
Afternoon ride: Teigngrace
3 present: Dave Eyre, Kevin Presland, Matthew Tewson
There was some warm weather for the first run of the month, with fifteen turning out. We decided to head for Stover Lake via Newton Abbot and a rough path from Teigngrace. Whilst at the lake, some of us decided to climb trees, and this gave Matthew Tewson a chance to prove that he is not a monkey – he jumped for a branch, missed it and fell into a rhododendron bush!

We eventually made a move homewards via Bickington after Dave had mended a puncture.

(Kevin Presland)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Sunday 14 August 1983
Day ride: Sparkwell Wildlife Park
7 present: Martin Chesterfield, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Robert Spence, John Stuart, Matthew Tewson
On an already hot, cloudless morning we had a fast ride to the day’s pickup at Avonwick, where Colin turned back in company with Phil Burrows and some Plymouth compatriots, including Iris Buckler.

Eight of us headed along the ridge to drop down to Ivybridge, thence into Sparkwell via pleasant lanes. At the Wildlife Park we negotiated a reduction for parties - 60p per head can’t be bad, and that included old codgers like John, Kevin and myself who should have paid £1.80.

The animals had to wait for our “inspection”, food was our first need and we flopped down in the midst of foxes, eagles and peacocks. By the looks on some other visitors’ faces, we ravenous cyclists, always a strangely-attired bunch, needed peanuts to supplement our sandwiches.

Our wanderings among the wide variety of animals was punctuated by the shovelling-down of cold drinks and ices in the tea rooms where we stocked up on Mars bars to help us survive our newly-decided route back over the moors.

Cadover Bridge was heaving with grockles, but the water was too good to miss. We all got our feet wet, some got everything wet - a bathing run at last!

On to Burrator Dam for more ice-creams and photography before getting stuck into the superb track that climbs past Crazy Well Pool. Normal people don’t go that way, so we simply ran riot in the Devonport Leat. I didn’t know Y-Fronts came in so many colours!

Eight wet riders steamed into Princetown for, yes, you’ve guessed, more ice-creams, tea and the ubiquitous Mars bars. I assured Duncan that this was a typical Torbay Section club run, although I don’t think he was convinced.

Dartmeet has two rivers so this scored extra points for those famous water babes Kevin and Matthew, but the rest of us started the long grind upwards. They caught up only to say goodbye near New Bridge - they fancied a swim! John went his way also, so Duncan, Martin, Matthew, Richard and me descended on Ashburton at 7pm and flew through the lanes to Compton to part company at the end of a surprisingly satisfying day.

(Robert Spence)

[The attendance list for this event is currently incomplete]

Thursday 18 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 1 Home to Rowardennan YHDry
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Richard, Andrew B and Duncan on the banks of Loch Lomond near Milarrochy
Writing luggage labels outside Newton Abbot station
Kevin, Matthew T and Matthew B - after a dip in the Loch
Matthew and Andrew W contemplating a swim in Loch Lomond
Rowardennan YH, on the east bank of Loch Lomond
Rowardennan YH
The group outside Rowardennan YH
The intrepid adventurers met up on Thursday 18 August at 7.45am outside Newton Abbot railway station - all except our fearless leader Mike who, having exhorted us to make sure we arrived on time, predictably failed to do so himself in spite of being the only member of the party to avail himself of the use of his parents' car to get him there! When he arrived at 7.55 he handed round the luggage labels that I remembered so well from last year, on which we were to write our name, address and destination and which were then to be attached to our bikes. This was to safeguard against British Rail being successful in their attempts to separate us from our machines during the journey, although as it happened they didn't really start trying until the return journey, of which more later. At this stage they confined themselves to omitting the carriage on which our seats were booked from the train, which meant that some of us had to stand during the latter part of the eight hour journey to Scotland.

Nonetheless we arrived safely at Glasgow Central station and rode through the centre of the city - which was a far less unpleasant experience than we had anticipated - to Glasgow Queen Street. From here we travelled on a Trans-Clyde train for three quarters of an hour. This resembled the London Underground in that it had automatic sliding doors and carriages isolated from one another, but differed from it in not being underground.

We arrived at our destination, Balloch Central, at about five o'clock and set off for Rowardennan youth hostel, eighteen miles away. For the last few miles of this we were cycling around the shores of Loch Lomond. This proved too much of a temptation for the more aquatically minded among us, namely Kevin, Matthew T and Matthew B, who had to have a dip while the rest of us sat around on the wall by the side of the road and tried to keep the vicious midges at bay.

We arrived at the hostel (which incidentally was an unusually beautiful and picturesque one) at about eight o'clock, unfortunately too late for the dinner provided but we set about feeding ourselves with enthusiasm. We set off for a stroll along the shores of the loch later on, but were soon put off by the increasing smell of sewage and went home to bed.

(Andrew Billington)

Friday 19 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 2 Rowardennan to Trossachs YHSunny
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Looking back at the YH from Rowardennan pier
Andrew Billington, Matthew Tewson & Richard Read at Rowardennan YH
Arrival at Inversnaid, Loch Lomond
Matthew Burrows on the Loch Lomond passenger ferry
Andrew Billington and others on the road from Inversnaid to Loch Arklet
Disembarking at Inversnaid, Loch Lomond
Loch Katrine from the cycle path
View of Loch Arklet from our lunch spot
Loch Katrine
Loch Katrine from the cycle path
Next morning we had to wait until twelve o'clock for a passenger ferry which would take us up the loch to Inversnaid, so we amused ourselves by skimming stones and dropping rocks in the water to splash each other - rather infantile, but vastly amusing. After the half hour ferry journey we climbed a steep hill and were forced to take a slightly earlier lunch than planned by Richard developing a puncture. Still, he chose a fairly good place to have it, by the side of Loch Arklet.

After lunch we continued to Loch Katrine with the sun shining all the way. We cycled along a road that was closed to motor vehicles, which made for very pleasant cycling indeed. The loch formed part of Glasgow's water supply, so swimming was unfortunately out of the question.

At four o'clock, having cycled nearly all the way round the loch, we arrived in the Trossachs at a grockle - sorry, tourist - area consisting of a car park, tea rooms, souvenir shop etc. After cycling in the heat a cup of tea and ice-cream were very welcome, though not both at the same time. Duncan bought himself a rather smart tartan hat, all the better to attract the local girls we assumed!

At the Trossachs youth hostel we were surprised, not to say disconcerted, to find that our dormitory had a sloping floor, as was evident by the fact that when Andrew W sent Michael's recently-acquired indoor bowls all over the floor they immediately headed for the far side of the room! The manner in which Andrew achieved this must not be revealed for fear that others might be tempted to imitate his bad behaviour, but I can reveal that it had something to do with giving Mike's bunk a hefty kick from underneath in an attempt to send Mike all over the floor.

We were also amazed to find that although the hostel was only a simple grade it boasted a table tennis table, a space invader machine, two pool tables and a television. Matthew Tewson and Andrew B went out for a quick exploration of the grounds in the dark and discovered the place to be crawling with frogs, one of which they took back to the games room: it didn't look too thrilled by this change of environment however so they took it back.

(Andrew Billington)

Saturday 20 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 3 Trossachs to Crianlarich YHSunny start, then showers
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Matthew B, Glen, Richard R, Kevin, Duncan and Matthew T at Trossachs YH
The group outside Trossachs YH
Water fun at the Falls of Leny
Andrew Winstanley at Trossachs YH
Kevin, Simon and Matthew B at the Falls of Leny
Matthew Tewson at the Falls of Leny
Andrew B, Andrew W, Richard R and Glen decide to watch the water babies from a safe vantage point
Saturday dawned sunny and warm. We set off at a reasonable time and cycled along the side of the loch to Callander to buy something for lunch. We also found time to visit a local amusement arcade: Duncan won four pounds on a lottery of some sort and celebrated by buying himself some very pretty earrings.

We cycled a couple of miles to the picturesque Falls of Leny where we stayed for lunch. We were entertained by the Water Babies (now including Simon) splashing about among the rocks.

When food had been eaten, photographs taken and bodies dried we hit the road again and headed for Strathyre where young Matthew had a puncture. While this was fixed Matthew, Duncan and Andrew B wandered off to sample the local shops and buy the ubiquitous cornettos.

We then proceeded towards Lochearnhead and after a while took a right hand turn as instructed by Mike. Five of us pelted off down the road until the message reached us that we were only taking this road to see some pretty views: we had to turn back and re-join the main road.

After a brief stop at Lochearnhead for refreshments the first rain of the tour broke out with a vengeance. We dived for the shelter of a barn and donned waterproofs before setting off up Glen Ogle. We rode down the other side and along an up-and-down road (thankfully no longer in the rain) to Crianlarich hostel, which was a bit cramped but interestingly situated right next to a railway station. It also boasted solid fuel burners with low stone walls around them that were cunningly situated so as to trip you up as you walked from end to end of the kitchen.

(Andrew Billington)

Sunday 21 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 4 Crianlarich to Glencoe YHSunny
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Lochan na h-Achlaise
Crianlarich YH
Matthew Burrows, Andrew Winstanley and Simon Haly
An American cyclist chats with us over lunch opposite Loch Bà
Glen Powling
Richard Read, Duncan Scott and Andrew Billington
Going up the ski lift at the Glencoe Mountain Resort
On the road towards Glencoe
Returning to the car park on the ski lift
View from the top of the ski lift
Andrew B, Richard R, Simon H, Matthew B and Matthew T prepare for a dip in the cool waters
A water break at Glencoe Falls in the Pass of Glencoe
Matthew B, Andrew B, Kevin P, Matthew T and Simon H on the Glencoe Waterfall
There's nothing as refreshing as in icy dip in a mountain waterfall on a hot day
View down the Pass of Glencoe to Glencoe Cottage
The Glencoe Waterfall from the road
The River Coe near Glencoe
The Three Sisters, Pass of Glencoe
Sunday morning the weather was fine and remained so all day. We took the A82 to Tyndrum, then up a longish hill and down the other side to the Bridge of Orchy. We decided not to stop for lunch but continued past Loch Tulla up a long, long hill. Beef burgers were definitely required at the top, and a kiosk provided them. Fifteen minutes later we stopped by the shores of a loch for lunch. At first we thought it would be a good idea to sit by the loch and eat, but a swarm of hungry midges speedily convinced us otherwise and we beat a hasty retreat back to the road. As we were eating an American cyclist turned up and stopped for a chat. We were particularly interested in his water bottle which was attached to his bike by means of a Velcro fastener.

Continuing on our way we climbed for a while then dropped at a cracking pace for three and a half exhilarating miles. Spotting a sign indicating the existence of a chairlift in the vicinity we followed its directions and found ourselves at the lift. The journey up was pretty hair-raising at first; dangling in mid-air some fifty feet above ground level sitting on a seat without any form of safety belt is somewhat worrying when you're not used to it. However the journey passed safely enough and we all admired the view as we drank tea in the cafe at the top. I must admit though that it was probably the worst tea I've ever tasted.

After an hour at the top we took the return journey back down the hillside, which was considerably less nerve-racking than the upward run. We cycled a few more miles, mostly downhill, until we came to the Pass of Glencoe which boasts a spectacular three-tiered waterfall. This time nearly all of us went in. Even those of us who lacked the foresight to bring swimming trunks, namely the two Andrews, made the best of it and went in in their underwear. It was worth it: for many that swim was the high point of the tour. Splashing about up to your neck in icy cold water with a waterfall pounding down on your head is an amazingly enlivening experience.

Two and a half miles later we reached Glencoe hostel, and what an excellent hostel it was. We were warmly welcomed by the Canadian lady warden and investigation of the dormitories revealed really nice wood panelled bunks with duvets. Soothing music helped us unwind as we prepared our evening meals. This may sound like a ghastly idea, but it was quite pleasant just for a change.

(Andrew Billington)

Sunday 21 August 1983
Day ride: Haydon Common
2 present: Fred Chesterfield, Martin Chesterfield
Owing to such reasons as rain and the Junior Tour, Fred and Martin Chesterfield were the only two to turn up at Newton on 21st August. Martin headed home to leave Fred to a wet return ride to Teignmouth.

(Kevin Presland)

Monday 22 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 5 Glencoe to Tobermory YHDry
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Preparing to leave Glencoe YH
Richard, Andrew W, Duncan, Glen, Simon, Andrew B and Kevin with the wardens at Glencoe YH
Matthew B, Richard and Duncan at Glencoe YH
Glen, Simon, Andrew B, Kevin and Andrew W at Glencoe YH
Loch Sunart viewed from near Strontian
The climb through Glen Tarbert, from Inversanda to Strontian
Loch Sunart
Looking back along Loch Sunart from beyond Strontian
Approaching Tobermory harbour on the small 1830 passenger ferry from Mingary
Looking back along Loch Sunart, from near Glenborrodale
Next morning, on retrieving our YHA membership cards, we were surprised to find that the spaces for photographs had been filled! Mine boasted a rather nice picture of a cat and others included cartoon characters and babies. After the usual procedure of photographing the hostel we took to the road and headed for Ballachulish. Once there we spent several hours wandering about the shops and a large information centre, but eventually set off again.

After crossing a bridge to North Ballachulish we took a ferry across the Corran narrows of Loch Linne and had lunch ten miles later. On reaching Strontian we spent an enjoyable half hour playing on swings. Next stop was Salen, where we stocked up with food from a large but rather sparsely-stocked shop. We then took a B-road to Glenborrodale and en route were attracted by a house with a sign advertising homemade cookies for sale. Stopping to sample these goodies the exceptional abundance of midges soon became painfully apparent, and Mike demonstrated his outstanding qualities of leadership by producing a bottle of midge lotion which saved us from further torment.

Further along the road a pottery works appeared that also sold coffee, and Mike decided that we had time to make a short visit. So we did just that. However, it turned out not to be short enough as we realised we were cutting our timing a bit fine if we were to catch the only ferry to the Isle of Mull. So we took off at high speed into the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The scenery was impressive but we had no time to admire it as we pedalled furiously over the hillside.

We reached the ferry at Mingary with precisely three minutes to spare and loaded our bikes onto it. The boat was only just large enough for us and our machines, and as we travelled across the water we were able to dangle our hands in it and watch the floating jellyfish as we went by. Kevin and Richard almost convinced us that they were not only edible but were likely to appear on the menu at Tobermory hostel - but not quite.

Half an hour later we disembarked and cycled all of one hundred metres to the hostel, which was not particularly prepossessing from the outside but was quite comfortable inside. Being tired Andrew B declined the offer of a walk to a lighthouse later on in the evening, but six of our merry band set off for it and later assured him that it had been well worthwhile: he was happy to take their word for it.

(Andrew Billington)

Tuesday 23 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 6 Tobermory to Oban YHWet
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Tobermory harbour (11:55)
Tobermory YH, Isle of Mull
Probably view towards mainland from near Tobermory
Probably view towards mainland from near Tobermory, with Andrew B
Matt Burrows walking along path towards Loch Ba
Probably the start of our walk to Loch Ba
The 7pm Oban ferry arrives at Craignure, Isle of Mull
Benmore Lodge on the edge of the scenic Loch Ba
Duart Castle, Mull, from the Oban ferry
Leaving Craignure on the Oban ferry
Arriving at Oban on the ferry
Next morning we were rudely awakened at 6.30 by the sound of a fire alarm going off. It sounded not unlike the sirens on American police cars, only about eight times as loud, and as it was situated in the middle of the ceiling of our dorm it must have taken all of 0.3 seconds to bring us from deep sleep to full alert. As it was pouring with rain outside we did not think it likely that there was a serious fire, and this was confirmed when the siren stopped as soon as we had put our trousers on ready to go and take a look. We later learned that it had been caused by smoke from burnt toast activating the smoke detector in the kitchen. As hostel rules require that silence be maintained before 7.00 we had amusing visions of the look on the guilty hosteller's face when, having crept out of bed, tiptoed downstairs and silently begun to prepare breakfast, the alarm started and he realised that he had just woken everyone in the hostel, warden included.

The torrential rain continued throughout the morning and developed into a thunderstorm. It was almost midday by the time the weather had calmed down enough for us to venture out in it, and as it was still somewhat dicey arguments ensued between those who favoured a long picturesque ride around the coast of the island and those who were keen to reach our destination with the minimum amount of effort and risk of getting wet. A compromise was reached and we set off, stopping for lunch nowhere in particular after an hour's cycling.

Later on in the afternoon an ice-cream stop at Salen turned into a two hour break during which five of us explored a nearby loch having been promised exciting views by Mike. The most noteworthy view, however, proved to be a rubbish dump.

The remaining twelves miles to Craignure were covered at a fast pace in spite of being into a headwind, and we arrived with an hour and a half to spare. This time was divided between sitting in a nearby cafe and making totally unsuccessful attempts to persuade the jellyfish that inhabited the harbour to do something other than just float about by throwing things at them.

The ferry, when it arrived, turned out to be an enormous steamer that was big enough to have had yesterday's ferry hidden in it. On the way back to the mainland Richard claimed to have seen a seal. Matthew immediately began to scour the sea in an attempt to match this achievement and was quite upset when he failed to do so.

We arrived at Oban at 8.15 and soon found the hostel. It was a bit hotel-like and somewhat impersonal, which is perhaps what you'd expect as Oban is quite a large town. It was certainly luxurious however. We met up with Jackie Lofty, who stayed with us for the rest of the tour.

(Andrew Billington)

Wednesday 24 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 7 Oban to Inverary YHDry
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
Preparing to leave Oban YH
Oban YH
Andrew B and Richard on Deadh Choimhead
Probably Glen Lonan valley road from Oban
View to Loch Etive and Taynuilt from Deadh Choimhead
Matthew B and Andrew B on Deadh Choimhead
Andrew B and Matt B on the way down Deadh Choimhead
Matt B, Andrew B, Richard and Kevin on the way down Deadh Choimhead, looking towards the road and Loch Nell
Refreshment stop by Loch Awe near Cruachan
Richard, Mat B, Simon, Kevin and Andrew B returning to the bikes from Deadh Choimhead
Andrew W, Duncan, Richard, Matthew T and Andrew B beside Loch Awe
On Wednesday morning we made a comparatively early start at 10.30. The day's activities began with a visit to Oban glassworks, where we saw paperweight makers at work. After wandering around and admiring the craftsmanship for a while we left and headed for the hills. An hour's cycling brought us to the foot of Deadh Choimhead (a mountain) and as it was now one o'clock we stopped for lunch at a river by its foot. After heated discussion about whether or not it was worth climbing up the mountain, the top of which looked a very long way away indeed, six of us set off to scale the 1250 feet in search of the fabulous views promised by Mike's handbook. This worthy document assured us that tourists found the ascent irresistible. After struggling through bogs, dead trees and all manner of unfriendly undergrowth we found it difficult to understand why this should be so.

It took us well over an hour to reach the top of that mountain, but it was worth it. The views were fabulous as promised; the sun was shining and crags stretched as far as the eye could see, becoming swathed in mist as they disappeared in the distance. The summit, however, was guarded by a swarm of aggressive flying ants which soon saw us off and pursued us down off the top to make sure of their victory.

The journey down was quicker than the journey up but just as perilous, and by the time we re-joined the others we were bedraggled and weary. We set off at a cracking pace, however, to cover the remaining thirty five miles to Inveraray hostel. We stopped at a garage for ice-cream on the way and then covered the last ten miles in twenty six minutes. We nearly cycled straight past the hostel as it was on a downhill stretch and we were moving quite rapidly, but we spotted it out of the corners of our eyes as we were speeding past and piled in to collapse on our beds.

Inveraray is a purpose-built hostel that has been open for six years. It is quite well equipped but the warden was somewhat officious and there were "Keep off the grass" signs up. However it boasted something that very few hostels can lay claim to, namely tennis courts. Kevin in particular was anxious not to let this opportunity pass by and started asking around for a partner. He ended up with rather more partners than he required.

(Andrew Billington)

Thursday 25 August 1983Tour: Scotland Day 8 Inverary to Loch Lomond YHDry
10 present: Andrew Billington, Matthew Burrows, Simon Haly, Michael Jones, Glenn Powling, Kevin Presland, Richard Read, Duncan Scott, Matthew Tewson, Andrew Winstanley
The group at the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint near Loch Restil
Inveraray YH
Probably Loch Long
Matthew T, Duncan, Andrew W, Andrew B and Matt B at the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint
Probably view of Gare Loch from the winding hill near Faslane
And so it was that at seven o'clock next morning six of us dragged ourselves out to take advantage of this unusual facility. Kevin had read that racquets were available from the nearby police houses. Imagining that these would be inhabited by police officials of some description we had no hesitation in knocking loudly on the door. As we stood waiting for a reply however, the private and residential appearance of the houses began to impress itself on us. It occurred to us that a police house was not at all the same as a police station, and probably meant a house that was owned by the police and rented out. Clumpy-down-stairs noises began to come from the houses and a light went on. As the horrible realisation dawned on us that that we had just woken a private citizen from his slumber, the door opened and an enormous bearded man in a nightgown looked balefully down on us out of red rimmed eyes.

"Er, I'm sorry, did we wake you?" asked Kevin.
"Yes," replied the giant briefly.

Fortunately he did turn out to be the tender of the tennis paraphernalia, which he lent to us when we had explained that this was what we wanted, and we left a generous donation in the tennis ball box when we returned it after an enjoyable hour whacking the balls about.

First on the day's official agenda was a visit to Inveraray castle. When we arrived there however, few of us were keen to part with the extortionate sum of money required to gain entrance, so most of us lounged about in the car park while Duncan and Glenn (I think) had a look round the castle. We then set off on the road round Loch Fyne and stopped for lunch in a woodland clearing by the roadside. We were soon joined by a lot of ants.

Lunchtime over we re-joined the road which took us through Glen Kinglas. This turned out to be a very strange stretch of road indeed. It was one of those optical illusion roads that occur sometimes in mountainous regions, appearing to be going downhill when in fact they are going up. So you look at the road sloping away in front of you and prepare for a pleasant bit of freewheeling, then find yourself having to pedal hard to just keep moving. This is, I assure you, an incredibly frustrating experience, and even when you realise what's going on it's almost impossible to accept that what your eyes are telling you is a lie.

After several miles of this we reached the bona fide top, a viewpoint that was aptly named Rest and Be Thankful. We relaxed over ice creams and contemplated the prospect of some genuine downhill cycling. We sailed joyfully down the hill to Ardgarten, by Loch Long, and then rode around the loch to Arrochar where we stopped for exotically flavoured ice creams. We then followed an A-road to Garelochhead along Loch Long, and after four miles turned left up a steep and winding hill. This took us first over a railway line and then past a military establishment, the boundary fences of which scarred the hillside for miles.

Regaining the main road we followed the side of Loch Long until we left it behind and reached Loch Lomond. Realising that this was our last chance we stopped for a dip. After splashing happily about for a while we continued on our way and soon reached Loch Lomond hostel. This really was quite a remarkable building. One of the enjoyable things about hostelling is that you never know what the hostels are going to be like, and this one proved exceptional. A former stately home, it was quite easy to get "lost in". We had to climb about three flights of stairs and navigate endless corridors in order to reach our dormitory, from which there was an impressive view of the surrounding countryside. Most of the evening was spent in the piano room where our revered leader Mike, in a rare display of one of his lesser-known talents, treated us to immaculate renditions of our favourite songs on the baby grand.

(Andrew Billington)

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