[ blog » 2019 » UK_tour ] d05, Scotland pt. 3: Ullapool to Gairloch Gairloch (by Philipp Gesang)
2019-06-04

Now for something completely different: sunshine. Lots of it, in fact, about half a day's worth. The forecast was spot on -- the clouds dispersed in the afternoon to make way for the sun and blue sky. After four days on the road this is a welcome change.

A World of Pain

Though not everything was going well. Woke up with aching Achilles tendons. The king of pain that comes with going out of the saddle too much. Which I don't think I was overdoing these last four days. What gives? About halfway into today's route I noticed how I was moving my hip a lot while in the saddle -- turns out the saddle was about 3 cm too high. An unwanted side-effect from reassembling the bike in a hurry in an airport lobby. This slight misconfiguration was causing my legs to reach too far downward with each pedal stroke, stretching the feet as if standing. The painful experience was instantly gone when I moved the saddle down. Phew, I'm glad I noticed this early on.

Meeting of the Surlys

When I was about to leave the Inn after breakfast, two more tourers rolled in through the gates. Both on superb bikes with Surly Ogre frames. If you will the 28" big brother of my 26" Troll. Inevitably, the occasion turned into a technical discussion of the merits of both frames and our builds.

Movement

Today's route was the second shortest so far if we count the day of my landing on Orkney. Nevertheless, the 91 km stretch between Ullapool and Gairloch was by no means a rest day considering the 1300 m of climbing it involved. Most of these were due to the numerous short and steep slopes along the coast. Gradients of 15% and more aren't uncommon.

Two longer climbs worth mention were today's peak, the pass of the Meall an t-Sithe and the climb to Loch Tollie. Both proved surmountable with a bit of effort, not least thanks to the almost unnoticeable wind.

With the rain and the wind mostly out of the picture, mood improved considerably. Not just mine, but also that of the midges who made their first feast out of my bare legs today. Thankfully the amazing Gairloch campsite is situated on a windy hill which keeps the critters at bay. Oh, and it also just started raining again ...

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