The End of the Road
Ardgour to Fort William 60 km
This was our lucky day. We looked out of the window at a dry, mild morning. Excited, we rushed breakfast and got underway after saying goodbye to our hosts, Anna and Norrie.
It would have been lovely to stay a little longer, but this was not the time to do that.
We dawdled unashamedly along quiet roads, past the Corran ferry and along the shores of Loch Linnhe. As we chased flocks of sheep down the single-track road with our bells jingling, we were treated to fantastic views of a snow-capped Ben Nevis; our home so close to the bottom.
Further along, we had a pang of hurt as a wee Border collie attached herself to us and joined in our ride. She reminded us so much of our best friend Bob, left behind; buried in our garden in Africa. We stopped at a farmhouse to ask if the man who lived there could hold the dog for a minute or two, to stop her following us too far. There was a moment I considered letting her follow us all the way.
We know this road well; it was one of our favourite day-rides a long time ago. We stopped at a familiar picnic spot and enjoyed the view, and a cup of tea from our flasks.
This side of the Loch is very quiet and we were only passed by a handful of vehicles. It was with a little disappointment that we rounded the head of the Loch to rejoin the “Road to the Isles” and the last stretch, of the last day, of our current journey.
As if the universe decided we needed a lift, a sea eagle rose out of a tree at the roadside, and flirted with us for a short time, until it got bored. We were very lucky to see a sea eagle in this spot, and it was just what we needed to lift the mood.
We jumped off the road onto a National Cycle Route and span the wheels easily into our road at Fort William. The road past our house is steep; very steep, and as we grunted and grinded, and dragged ourselves, and the bikes up the hill, our old pal John was running alongside cheering and taking photographs. It was like a Pyrenean stage in the Tour De France.
With a queue of bad tempered car drivers building up behind us, we stumbled and collapsed over our bikes on Ann and John’s path. This journey was finally over. We planned to stay at Ann and John’s for a few days, and as soon as the bikes were dumped in the garage, steaming mugs of tea were produced, with a tin of biscuits.
Later that evening, we walked into town, as we had always planned, to raise a glass and toast ourselves. Not only had we survived the journey, the animals, the diseases and the crazy bus drivers…we had survived being in each other’s company 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for three months.
This was possibly the biggest achievement!
Inevitably the end of the journey left a void; what did we plan to do tomorrow? We had nowhere to go. After one or two seconds thought, we decided to carry on…after all…why not?
Before we set off on the journey, and I was dithering about keeping up a blog and a Facebook page, I was mostly put off by the thought that nobody would ever read it, and I would be putting in effort for nothing. I have been genuinely surprised by the response I've had from the most unexpected quarters. I was genuinely humbled by the support and positive feeling that was freely given to us, often by people we hardly know. The messages of support and friendship were very welcome and believe it or not, made such a difference to us at times. Thank you all.