We had established last night that most of the cyclists staying in the Gatliff (and there were quite a few) that were heading north were all headed for the same place as us – the Gatliff in Berneray. The Gatliffs don’t take bookings and operate on a first come first served basis, so in my head at least it was kind of a race to try and get there before the others in order to secure a bed.
So we were upski, offski and outski before 8am and today was the longest day with 60 miles ahead of us. Thankfully the wind was still being windy and pushed us along. We didn’t go straight up the main road as Adam needed to fulfil his explorer’s gene so once again we went off onto the small lanes at the side, which were lovely.
It was a bit grey when we left so once again I put most of my clothes on expecting to get cold and wet. We left behind the bleak and quite flat South Uist and cycled onto Benbecula. Obviously our cycling karma glass was empty as we passed a café and a bakery and they were both closed .
After pushing into some very ferocious wind up a hill just near the airport in Benbecula, I actually got quite hot and sweaty and so needed to strip off slightly. We found a bus shelter (are we still on an audax?) and I decided to eat some tasty snacks. The hill and the wind and the rather unsightly bits of Benbecula had clearly affected my mood.
After refuelling we set off again and thankfully we turned so that the wind was behind us once again and I cheered up. We cycled for miles without seeing any cars and the sky was clearing and things were looking up. With the sun out we stopped to take the obligatory photos of our bikes loaded up and of the empty roads and the views so that I could send them to people at work.
We were making good progress, helped by the wind. We stopped at a Salmon smokery and bought some very delicious and very expensive salmon that we could have for dinner. I justified it to Adam by pointing out that so far I had not had any wine to drink on holiday and this was NOT RIGHT.
And then we were in for a real treat cycling round the west coast of North Uist which was just beautiful. We even found a tucked away café on a campsite (this one) that did delicious prawn rolls.
We arrived at the Gatliff a good two hours ahead of our closest rivals (yay!) and some never turned up at all. This made me feel strong and hardy. We had a lovely four course meal sat outside and we even managed to buy some wine as well so order was restored to the world and I didn’t have anything to complain about anymore. The wind went from howling to non-existent and the world was very peaceful and very beautiful.
The hardy family also turned up to camp at the Gatliff, as did a few others we recognised from the road. Including the bloke on the orange Salsa Veja, who we still didn’t know was billplumtree.
Miles cycled: 58. Islands visited: South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, Berneray