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Oban, Mull, Isle of Iona, Lochaline, Corran ferry, Kentallen, Oban, Scotland.
(4 day bike-pack)
Wed 18 Mar - Sun 22 Mar 2015

Wed 18 Mar 2015

Wed 18 Mar 2015
Thu 19 Mar 2015
Fri 20 Mar 2015
Sat 21 Mar 2015
Sun 22 Mar 2015
Heading back to Scotland, this time with my bike. The plan is to catch the 12 noon ferry from Oban so I needed to be away around 05:30am. It was 05:35 when I left and had a good drive to the Cumbernauld area where the traffic was very busy due to the rush hour. Through Callander I had a mostly clear drive all the way to Oban where I arrived around 11am. I parked at the Longlands Road park and cycled down to the Calmac office to buy my ticket.

Ferry at Oban

I'd noticed from the timetables the fares seemed less than last year. The lady told me that was because we were now still on the winter timetables. By buying all my tickets on a Hopscotch ticket I saved quite bit of money. I also needed to book a place on the last ferry to Iona at 18:00. It only runs if pre-booked. Total price was 10.80. I wheeled my bike in to the hold of the ferry and then up to the observation lounge. It was sunny and felt warm in the shade. The ship was due to leave at 12:00 but was underway at 11:55am. It was a pleasant crossing. At Craignure I called briefly into the Calmac office to re-check the last Iona ferry was OK then set off.

Ferry hold almost empty

Even with hazy sunshine it felt quite chilly at first. The weather forecast had predicted head winds, which was correct, but they were fairly light. The climb over Glen More didn't seem as long as the last time I rode over.

Old bothy by the road near Glen More

17 miles to the Iona ferry

Stranded boat

With plenty of time to reach the ferry I rode steadily, enjoying the views and taking occasional photos. I stopped to look at a monument to Mary Macdonald (1789 -1872) poetess, though nothing else was said about her other than her place of birth and death. On the final approach to the ferry jetty at Fionnphort I saw the ferry leaving. There wasn't a scheduled sailing then. When it returned it was empty and I was told the next would be the last for the day at 18:00. I waited in the waiting room and when I saw some vehicles drive on board around 17:40 I followed them. We were late leaving as we had to wait for the bus which didn't arrive till 18:05.

Ferry at Fionnphort to Iona

At the Iona end Stella was waiting. We walked to Bishop's House where I firstly wheeled my bike down the garden to pitch my tent on the small patch of grass above the rocky shore. Back in the house I joined the staff at 19:00 for a magnificent home cooked evening meal.

Night work on the ferry slipway

Later went for a walk to the Abbey in the dark. I used the red light on my head torch to preserve my night vision so I could see the stars better. Last night there had been a good view of the northern lights but tonight there was nothing. Back at the ferry slipway the men were working into the night, working by floodlights. They can only work at low tide so must do that whenever the weather allows.

Night work on the ferry slipway