Hamilton to Fort William
I woke up at 4 am, crawled out of my cosy sleeping bag, put on my cycling kit (already prepared the night before), deflated the mattress and packed my bag. This was my daily routine, followed by a big breakfast, filling of water bottles and stocking up on energy bars. Today was a start in the dark on a very cold morning at 6 am. The most strenuous day of RAB ahead:126 miles and 6,842 ft of climbing.
Sunrise was at 7 am by which time I was already in the Trossachs and seeing the beginning of majestic countryside ahead.
The first pit stop was a primary school where for £3 I bought a mug of tea and chocolate cakes made by the children. Every year they greet the RAB’ers and raise funds for their local causes.
From there the route gently climbed towards Callender. Loch Lubnaib was stunning, serene and tranquil. Then uphill through Glen Ogle before a beautiful fast descent to pit stop 2 at the Old Mill Cafe in the picturesque Dochart Valley.
“Welcome to the Highlands” with spectacular views all round and a few further hill climbs. My stops to admire the views often contributed to the very long day on the road. Today there was an extra pit stop. Just as well as it gave me opportunity for a much-needed energy boost as I then rode into a biting cold headwind through Glencoe. The descent down to Loch Linnhe was fast and scenic.
So when I arrived at the camp around 6:20 pm I was shattered and exhausted after the longest cycle ride - 126 miles - that I have ever completed in one day.
That this should happen on a glorious day of sunshine in the most spectacular scenery through the Highlands between Glasgow and Fort William was overwhelming.
This is truly a beautiful country.