Picture of Ken and Linda with their tandem

Title: End to End by Tandem. Ken & Linda Hardy

 Day 12: September 21 st , Kilmartin to Fort William

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Our hosts mentioned over breakfast this morning that the road we were about to take to Oban was very hilly: "all the roads seem to go up the way". And so it proved to be, along with something of an opposing wind, not exactly a headwind but enough to slow us down a little. However, the scenery more than compensated and our spirits remained good. There were views of the mountains and the coast, with several small sea lochs to go round.

The hills we had to climb over gradually got smaller as we approached Oban and there was a longish steep downhill run into the town (which also meant that there was a climb out of it later!).

We stopped for a while in Oban to do some shopping and decided that, since we were both quite hungry, we'd have a hot meal in the supermarket restaurant and buy enough for a sandwich meal for when we got to a B&B for the evening.

Back on the road, the hills continued to become easier until, as we got closer to Fort William, it was almost flat. Still the scenery was wonderful, with views of the mountains, and we were trying to decide which one was Ben Nevis. However, the wind was getting stronger and as we crossed the Ballachulish bridge we got blown about somewhat. We stopped for a short break on the other side of the bridge and as we were there it started to rain. As we continued towards Fort William, alongside Loch Linnhe, the rain got heavier and blotted out the views, which was a shame.

As we got within a few miles of the town we were fed up and just wanted to find somewhere for the night. Spotting a sign outside a hotel displaying a reasonable price per room we decided to go there even though we prefer small, private B&Bs - we'd had enough for that day! Unfortunately, as we turned into the car park, it went up a steep rise to the front door. We changed down into bottom gear and tried to climb up the rise but the chain came off, so we ended up pushing the bike the last bit up to the door. Later examination revealed that the little chainring had completely buckled and was useless. We think that a couple of the mounting bolts had worked loose and dropped out at some point and the extra strain of pushing up that rise had been too much for it. Fortunately, the bike was still rideable and there was a bike shop in Ft. William so we hoped to get it fixed in the morning.

Day 12 - Mileage: Day 71; Cumulative 764