Steady rain through the night at Invercambie eased and stopped by morning, which made packing the bikes easier. A nice spot and good showers makes this a recommended site to stop at, though probably busier in the summer.

Off to Mallaig via the old coast round, with Matt maneouvering the tank (aka Pan European) carefully around the bends giving the more nimble but slower bikes the chance to catch up. Got to Mallaig in plenty of time for 10h55 to Armadale. Bought the ‘Hopscotch’ tickets from Caladonian Macbrayne (Calmac) which at £130.00 for rider and bike for 5 ferry crossings doesn’t seen too bad.

The route chosen was Mallaig -> Armadale (on Skye), Uig -> Tarbet (Harris), Leverhulme (Harris) -> Berneray (North Uist), Eriskay -> Barra, and finally the long route home from Castlebay on Barra back to Oban.

The 30 minute crossing from Mallaig to Armadale was straightforward, though got stuck behind a very large coach, which unlike most of the tourist and locals alike didn’t fancy pulling over as we made our way up through Sleat. The view back over towards Morar and Knoydart were excellent, though became obscured by some large black clouds.

Road to Portree

Up to the main road and through Broadford, where the weather opened up and as we came round towards Sconser the clouds descended from the Black Cuillen and it rained nice and hard. Ruined the views of the peaks and of Raasay and also meant it hurt whilst riding over 50 mph, put the current strategy meant we weren’t going much faster than that. Stopped in the Sligachan Inn for lunch, which had the added entertainment of watching the landlord take the piss out of a swiss couple who were having trouble with the concept on a venison burger. He then tore into a couple of lads drying their kit in the bar, just for an encore. The soup was ok, but you never know what added ‘sassenach’ ingredients were in it.

A wet run over to Carbost on Mingnish and a visit to Talisker Distillery. Always a little dissappointing to find that rather than the small independent image of marketing, Talisker is owned by Diageo and the first part of the process (the malting) is done near Inverness. As we walked into the room with stills, Matt brightened up, quoting “excellent, this is all a bit more Willy Wonka”. Anyway, the tour ended up in the shop and though we did get a voucher for £3 off a bottle, no room on the bikes for the bottles.

Across the mountain road towards Portree, and then after some confusion around Peiness, headed back up on the A87 to Uig. More rain and the long sloping hill down into the village. The campsite was right next to pier and was soaked and after a quick search located a couple of dry spots next to the fence.

Road over the hill

After putting up the tent, went back to the B&B place by the pier which had some static caravans for rent outside. However, £20 per van would have been good, £20 per person per night was a bit steep, despite the rain still falling. Whacked on the Dragonfly and made a brew under the bascha streched between a couple of benches.

Anyway, still raining as we headed back up the road for a mile to the Ferry Inn which looked slightly more homey than the bar in Uig Pier. A little worrying when the lady serving the drinks insisted on us using coasters for our beer, but it became apparrent that this was because of the significant slope of the table and infact the whole bar and the coaster prevented your pint hitting the wall.

They did let us eat in the restaurant after stripping off the bike clothes in the bar and some classically moody service ensued, especially on asking for mayonnaise, twice. After a somewhat shakey meal, its was still raing as headed back to the campsite. Ferry for 09h40 the next day and hopefully the rain was going to pass.

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