Saturday, 31 May 2014

Leg 5, Day 1: Oban- Tobermory- Oban- Castlebay, Barra


We pulled into Oban railway station at 9:30pm but it felt much earlier with the sun going down later further north. It was a beautiful evening, calm water, a light breeze and a warm evening sun, quite different to departing from Oban a year earlier in the pouring rain. 

We cycled the couple of hundred metres to Oban RNLI lifeboat station and was met by John, a crew member at that station. He gave us a quick tour of the station, gave us a key and let us unpack our gear as today was an early start. 

We departed on the 07:30 ferry from Oban to Craignure, on the east coast of Mull. From there we had a very simple out and back journey up the coastal road to Tobermorey, a small fishing village famous for its row of colourful houses and star of a certain children's TV program.  It was some of the best cycling we've had all Tour- great roads, no wind, sunny weather. 

34km later we arrived at a steep decent into Tobermorey and after getting our mandatory photo of the RNLI station, we popped into a bakery for an apple strudel and had a sit down for 10 mins by the very scenic if slightly manufactured village. 

The 34km return journey was interrupted with a variety of unmissable photo opportunities but we had made good progress so was not too concerned about making the 12:30 ferry, which was in any case delayed by 30 mins. This time we were safe as our connecting ferry, taking us back past Tobermory (without stopping) and on to the Outer Hebrides. 

Before then we had a very enjoyable lunch with my mother and the Fabricious', some family friends who just happened to be moored in Oban as part of their equally impressive sailing adventure from Falmouth to Oban via Dublin! They have been loyal supporters of the Tour of Britain in the past both via generous donations and in terms of interest so it was a fitting lunch indeed. 

We left lunch to jump onto the 4 hour CalMac ferry from Oban to Castlebay which is a town on the southern end of Barra, which is in turn on the southern end of the Outer Hebrides. 

We are making a conscious effort to ensure we relax and enjoy ourselves - with so many ferries to catch some of which only occur once a week, we really don't want to let the trip feel like a continuous series of days where we are panicking hit deadlines. Imagine a week of hat feeling you have when you're running late for a flight! 

In short today was a relatively light day- 64km in good weather. I am, however slightly concerned with how tired we are, clearly the lack of training is showing already! Oh well, not much we can do about it now but have another beer!


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