August 26, 2012, by David Greenaway
The VC’s Life Cycle 2 Blog: Day 2 – Inchnadamph to Inchbae
For the second day running we woke to a glorious morning: bright, sunny and still. The only fly in the ointment is that’s ideal conditions for midges, and swarms of them were out for an early breakfast. The jungle spray I bought at Birmingham airport did not do what it said on the tin and I now have polka dot legs.
As always everyone was well marshalled by the Support Team and charged up with food and drink before we set off. Nick takes the view that the emphasis on porridge and slow release carbs is overdone. So, as you can see from the picture, he settled on a carefully assembled breakfast of super foods to set him up for the day.
We departed from Inchnadamph in three groups: Chris R; Andy, Karen, Kate, Gavin; Mike, Steve, Nick, Neville; Chris J, Penelope and me. Chris R pressed on to complete the run in one stretch, the other four stuck together, the rest of us grouped, split up and regrouped at various points.
Weather conditions for the entire ride were perfect. The landscapes were never going to hit yesterday’s spellbinding highs, but the stretch between Inchnadamph and Ullapool came pretty close. The ancient volcanic peaks are magnificent, and beyond Strathcannaird the landscape gradually changed as we moved into more heavily forested areas.
The first sign of the coast comes at Ardmair, a lovely fishing port, followed by a steep climb then a descent into Ullapool. This was my first visit to Ullapool, if you go, arrive from the north, the view over the town and Loch Broom is as fine a view as I have seen and I can now see why Ullapool is such a magnet for visitors.
I rode in with Nick and almost everyone had stopped at The Frigate on the waterfront, a splendid café with mega cakes and scones. This is a busy port, which services the islands. It was also evidently a major centre for moving people, or people moving, during the clearances.
When we arrived, a group of our team were chatting to some tourists from France, in English of course. I think the team were surprised and more than a little impressed, when I spoke with the visitors in French.
I left Ullapool with Steve, Neville and Nick, in close formation. I am pretty sure I heard someone ask whether we were the GB Pursuit Team. We obviously looked the part. We stayed together until a stiff climb at Braemore Square Country House, where Neville stopped to pick wild raspberries, then the climbs and descents strung us out and we arrived in Inchbae individually.
Everyone was at the hotel by one thirty. For the only time on this trip we had a spare half day, so we went to the Glen Ord Distillery in Muir of Ord. It is now one of a number of top malts owned by Diageo. Glen Ord’s signature malt is The Singleton, the entire annual output of which is exported and almost exclusively to South East Asia. Mind you, only 15% of their total output is single malt, the rest goes to blending.
The distillery has a good exhibition centre and a very informative tour. Our group was made up entirely of the LC2 team, plus two visitors from France. Gavin was so impressed with my French in Ullapool, he suggested I act as interpreter.
The visit provided a welcome bit of light relief, though in Mike’s case he lingered a bit a bit too long trying to get extra free samples and missed the return bus.
Now we are getting into more populated areas (though that remains relative) we are seeing more interest in what we are doing. Actually, that started at breakfast when the waiter asked why we were doing it. Karen pointed at me and said ‘help the aged’, which I thought was a bit uncharitable. Interest in Ullapool in our real cause resulted in a number of spontaneous donations.
One of our two principal corporate supporters is Lucozade. As well as a significant financial commitment, they provided 1,000 bottles of the drink, which we have been getting through at quite a rate. Chris R has found a novel purpose for reusing the empties. He is a great fan of green tea, but does not have his tea flask with him. Lucozade empties do the job just fine.
All in all an excellent day. Like yesterday, some demanding climbs and some long and very fast descents (with Andy hitting 45 mph at one point). Happily there were no mishaps; remarkably there were no punctures.
Charitable act of the day: Paul found a sachet of salad cream for Steve to replace his special cream.
Shock of the day: Penelope rode with Chris J all day and said a good part of it passed in ‘companionable silence’.
We have had extraordinary support for what we are doing and funds raised now exceed £180,000 which is just fantastic. On behalf of the team I would like to thank everyone for their support. I would also like to thank readers of this blog for the interest they are taking and for your comments, the team enjoy receiving these, so do keep posting them.
At just 50 miles, this is the shortest day of Life Cycle 2. Apart from the Lincoln to Nottingham leg, every other day is 80 miles plus, starting tomorrow, with the ride to Spean Bridge. Weather wise the first two days have been perfect. That may now be changing. The wind direction has shifted to northerly and temperatures have dived. Moreover, whilst we were at Glen Ord Distillery, spirits were dampened by sudden and torrential rain reminding us just how quickly things change in this part of the world. Tomorrow could be a different proposition.
Professor David Greenaway
Great to hear that all seems to be going well and I’m sure it was careful planning that got you that spare half day somewhere close to a distillery! Sounds like its been a spectacular ride so far and a relief that the weather has (mostly) been kind to you. Lots of us thinking of you and with you in spirit (from the comfort of a deckchair in the garden…..). Here’s wishing you fair days and strong tail winds!
Dad, I’m guessing the pursuit team mix up is something to do with your striking resemblance to victoria pendleton! If you’re passing close to Tadcaster I hear there’s a fine brewery you could tour as well, apparently it’s something in the air that draws people there. Hope the whisky kept you warm today!
Great read again David, wish I was with you! Sounds as if the weather is being kind to you though I think that may be about to change judging from the forecast. Hope Mike managed to catch up with you eventually. Best wishes to you the team. Love Susan X
Dear David and Team
Sorry you are still being bothered by the midges. The first comment I made on your blog on day one may have been helpful, however it is awaiting ‘moderation’. I can only assume that is because whoever does the moderation thinks from the content that I am a sales rep from a well known beauty Company! I know this is hard to follow, but I sent you some information about a well known ladies skin lotion that is used by all the tough marines and the army in Scotland. It seemed both pertinent and funny at the time. Second time around, I am not going to mention the name, so hopefully my comment will get to you. Trevor and I bought some of this lotion when we were up in Scotland and we not only smelled lovely, but it did seem to deter the midges too! I shall text you the details.
Good to hear that the ride is going well and puncture free.
All the best
A top speed of 45mph has been noted by Andy’s parents they wished to know whether there was a speed limit on that particular stretch!! Andy assures me that the 45mph was legal and due to the steepness of the descent….and also to the fact that his brakes were not being applied particularly tightly in order to store a better top speed in his bike computer.
I’ve just made the long trip from Malaysia to Norway, but courtesy of Qatar, rather then under my own steam. I want to write about all the good things that you said but I can’t get the thought out of my head that Steve will be applying salad cream to some part of his body – and you call that charity – I’d hate to think what somebody would do who had a grudge against him :-).
Well Hello – back in the saddle again you brave souls one and all. I thought after last year you would have hung up your bike clips, basking in the glory of a job well done, but no, it would appear you’ve been watching too many Schwarzenegger movies and you are indeed back! I wish I could experience the scenery with you but sadly I am one of the faint hearted, not least when saddles and midgies are involved. I will have to content myself by reading your excellent blog big bro. Actually I’ve already learned something as I’m ashamed to say there were places you mentioned today that I didn’t even know were in my own country!!
What a fantastic cause, my very best wishes to all of you. Fingers crossed the skies stay blue.
Is the fluent French you refer to the same fluent French that got you filling your car up with diesel, and left a Frenchmen in a hypermaket a tad shocked when, refering to your penchant for a particular beer, you uttered “Je T’aime” Did he ever all by th way?
Preventing midge bites: Vitamin B apparently is a potent deterrent, I was told recently. Although I have found that driving rain is equally powerful. Glad to read your excellent blog and hear of your excellent weather and progress. I hope that the roads are more tranquil now and that you enjoy the coastal views. David Walker
The only thing that beats the midges is Avon “Skin so soft” cream, also supplied to the British Army in Belize. You can buy it in petrol stations all over the North of Scotland and its a must for troutfishing.