Great Escape pt 1.8

Day 15 and 16 represented the last hike of my trip and the beginnings of my journey southwards. I was really happy with my decision to head home early as I realised it was the right one for me. I’ve always noticed that on the last day of a trip I’m always eager to head home as soon as possible. I guess happy for one thing to end so another can begin. The last day of a trip is the end so there's no point being coy about that fact (right?).  

 

Day 15 - Quirang

I could still tell I was tired and wouldn’t want to hike another 900m+ mountain, so I opted to check out the Quirang which is in the same area is The Storr (Trotternish ridge), but a little lower at about 540m summit. It was an opportunity to do some nice riding in other parts of the island and I knew the scenery would be dope. 

The weather was a little dull and overcast, but the ride out was good and I only got lost once. When I reached the main car park for the Quirang, I squeezed in on the end (it was very busy) and got changed into my hiking gear.

I set off to do the climbing part of the walk first, heading slowly up the hill towards a cairn by the cliff, and then towards the summit itself further inland. The views of the various rock formations were neat, and ‘the table’ looked lush and grassy despite the weather.

Windy roads by the Quirang

Windy roads by the Quirang

Heading down the other side I found a cool spot by a cliff edge to do some reading (super safe). It was a shame the weather was cold and dull as after an hour I became chilled and needed to move on to keep warm. But at least I was able to partially realise my dream of 'stopping' and truly chilling out. 

Whilst I was reading, I heard a loud american family making their way from the ridge and down the path back to the car park. They were super over-protective of their kids, telling them to keep on the path (which had loose dirt and was far less secure than the grass at the edge of the path). As I made my way along the path, passing them in the process, I could only imagine the frantic panic they would have at certain part of the path (there were a few hairy bits).

The Quirang was a really cool place and I wish I could’ve seen it in better light; its definitely a location to revisit but preferably not alone. 

On my way back I was determined to have some really good fish and chips after the Fort William disappointment. The Broadford fish and chip shop did wonders and provided me with one of the best fish and chip meals I’d had in a very long time. I ate them looking out to sea, albeit in the spotting rain (I try to be of the hardy variety). 

To finish I bought myself a carton of juice (orange and mango) and headed back to the Airbnb to prep all my gear and chill out. 
 

Day 16 - Back to Edinburgh

As I readied my bike for the ride down south, the weather was looking really good. It was a shame as I wouldn’t be able to do any walks as I was planning to meet some friends who would be reaching Edinburgh that day. But I was super excited for the ride and to get to my next stop. 

I had 200 miles to cover so I set off with an aim to make good ground. Shortly after of course I stopped to take photographs of something I spotted on my way to Kyle. It was an old fishing boat tied up on the beach. To me it looked really cool and I had to get a few photographs as I'd put it as one of my favourite sights of the trip. 

From then on I made quick progress aiming diagonally southeast towards Perth. The roads were flowing with nice long corners, passing between mountains and lochs for the first hour until I came upon the A9. From there I was able to leapfrog groups of cars on my way down the A9, avoiding slow vehicles and caravans until I made my way to Perth.

Fortunately I ran right into a fuel station as I was growing concerned about being down to two bars again (but all the while I was on the A9 there were no service stations). I then headed into Perth to park. It was my second time here this trip, each time it had been a fleeting visit.

This time however I was able to sample a local Wetherspoons for a small bite to eat, and to escape the sun. I’m a big fan of Wetherspoons, and whilst pretty sad I do enjoy seeing how the price of different dishes varies in different parts of the country. Perth prices were almost as cheap as Nottingham, whereas Oban had been about as expensive as London. Fascinating stuff.

The last 50 miles or so from Perth to Edinburgh were really very windy. To the point where controlling the bike was becoming exhausting, so I pulled into a services and lay down on the grass for half an hour. It was sunny so it was pretty nicw, but the elements had really made my shoulders ache (I probably needed to chill out more). I then went to check into my very green Airbnb room, before heading back into Edinburgh to meet friends.

Ice cream is my one weakness

Ice cream is my one weakness

This was the second time I had met up with friends on the trip and I was really glad that I had done so. It was great to catch up and see friendly faces, eat good food and go exploring. It reminded that in the future my dreams are to make adventures like this a joint thing. After food in a cool bar, we headed for drinks at a fancy gin bar (it was really awesome) although I was sticking to juice. 

That night I headed home and slept like a log. 

 

Day 17 - Edinburgh to Heanor

By this point my desire to get home was quite strong. I ended up setting off at 8, topped up fuel at 8:50. Stopped to buy some travelling snacks at 9:50. After that time tends to blend together from what I can recall. 

I was feeling pretty tired from all the travelling and sights. I also knew that the weather and views had been spoiling me without others to share them with. I was excited to head home so that I didn't overdo my travelling, so I could begin to realise my other plans and be recharged for my trip to Yorkshire. 

The whole journey back too me about 7 hours. I remember getting back home about 3 o clock as kids where milling about from school. For at least half of that time it was raining steadily or spotting lightly. I was grateful it wasn't raining heavily as the cold may have soaked in to deeply and probably meant the journey would've taken much longer

I do remember stopping at one point for a hot chocolate at a McCafe (breaking my vow in a moment of need). I spent almost an hour inside the services, trying to warm up and editing some photos. As the journey wore on, I became a little hardened and toughed against the elements, able to put up without extra rests, food and ignore the cold. 

The biggest disappointment about my last day; it was so windy on the motorway it was really screwing with my mpg. 

 

Outro

I'm actually posting this after just returning from my Harrogate trip at the end of the week. It is what it is. I'm doing the best I can. I'm chuffed that I've been working on these travel entries as it's been a nice creative outlet. I'm thinking to do a bit of a roundup in the next few days, after doing a write up for the Harrogate trip. I've got a lot of ideas and plans so hopefully over the next few weeks I can get those all in motion.

Hope you're all having a great week.
Dan