NC 500 Day Two

NC 500 Day Two
2018-05-22

From your Yorkshire correspondent...

Early start today as we hoped to get up and over the first big climb ahead of the traffic, as the road is narrow and tortuous. The staff at the hotel had produced an early breakfast for us, and at least one rider with a stronger constitution than me opted for the kippers. Everyone seemed in good spirits, no injuries and no bicycle issues, and we soon rolled off to about 500m of level ground and then the road turned up hill.  

The Bealach Na Ba was the big ticket climb for the whole route and the turn off for it was in around 5 miles. Low cloud shrouded the summit as we began the early gentle slopes. We knew there were hairpin bends at the top, but the drag just prior to these was actually the worst of the climb. As we approached the summit the cloud descended and the wind picked up, making it pretty unpleasant on top, so we re-grouped and set off gingerly into the cross wind. Later, Prof Heys managed to pick up the only injury of the day as he got blown over in the summit car park while posing for a selfie.

We all survived the descent, though some had to dismount in the worst of the wind, and several of us had a close pass from a lunatic 4x4 driver. Coffee and cakes in the café in Applecross refortified us while the whole group rolled in safely. The staff were quite flustered by the influx, which was to become a pattern at our food halts for the day. 

The next section along the coast to Shieldaig was absolutely beautiful, rolling, sunny and with a tailwind - bliss! Unfortunately one of the team became unwell, but a ride to a local house and a support vehicle alter, and all was well. Great lunch with huge fish portions, as the ran out of child size portions, after they ran out of fishcakes. We expected 3 more smaller climbs from here and we got over the first before the rain began. Not heavy, but enough to make you wet.

The group were riding well in the wind and we managed to pick up the average speed a little after we rejoined the main A road, though it was single-track. Passing the hulk of Beinn Eighe we were constantly calling ‘car’, and negotiating past oncoming and following vehicles in the passing places, which broke up the flow a little.A final stop in the Whistle Stop Café where we were served by an Angus Young/ Jimmy Crankie lookalike, brought us to Kinlochewe where some of the group were to stop. We pressed on to Loch Maree to lose one of our group and then over a final climb to Gairloch. After we managed to find our hotel, not by the harbour but over another lump in the main village, I had 85 miles and 7,235ft of climbing on my computer. A great day out awarded with a pint in the bar while Rona delivered our luggage, what service!

Published by The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen

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