On the way up to Scotland I was trying to mentally prepare myself and friends for Bealach Na Ba. Rather naively I was focusing all my attention on the climb and totally forgot about the other 90 miles.
In the hope that I wasn’t over or under exaggerating Bealach Na Ba, I described as much of the 8.9k climb as I could remember – albeit the only difference being I only had one gear and no brakes. The conditions would be poor no doubt, we experienced weather climates of the same nature as a 13 year old’s mood swings last time we were there.
Scotland has an unforgiving weather climate as it is so none of us were under any illusion it would be sunny or even clear.
As soon as you hit the M74 the landscape begins to change and all of a sudden it becomes quite evident how challenging this sportive will be.
After a long nine hour drive we arrive in Killnochewe and settle into our lodge ready for an early start at 9.
^ The few from out side our lodge.
The starting times were only between 9 and 9:30 due to a level crossing and the main climb, they would only let riders up Bealach Na Ba between 11 and 12 (when the road was closed for vehicles) so the timings were pretty precise – We decided to set off at 9:30 so we didn’t have to wait around.
On the way up the weather had been extremely ‘turbulent’ to say the least, heavy showers and rough winds from Glasgow onwards. To be truthful I was nervous, having done the Ronde Von Calderdale in miserable conditions I knew how difficult it was going to be.
Early rise and I immediately look out of the window… Rain, cloud, wind and the rest.
We start in the misty rain, one mile down the road I’m already amazed at the scenery. Sure it was raining and cold but these conditions just made the whole experience/landscape more ‘epic’ and ambient.
I could go on and on about the views and landscape but I’ll try and let the pictures do the talking.
One of the main reason I cycle is because it gives me the opportunity to see some of the most incredible landscapes and scenery. This alone is enough to continue my ambition to cycle further and see more of what the world has to offer.
Cycling from Leeds to Glasgow a few years ago was what really brought that to reality.
^ The first climb heading out of Killnochewe
In part 2 I’ll take you through Bealach Na Ba climb and the descent down to Applecross which was probably more terrifying then the climb itself!