BikeVermont Scotland Tour
Day 5
Thursday, 28 June 2001

We take one more look around Kenmore, then board a bus for a beautiful ride along the northern shore of Loch Tay and to Oban on the west coast. There we walk our bikes onto the ferry for the Isle of Mull. Looking back at Oban we see the folly of McCaig's Tower dominating the skyline. It's very windy and the waters are rough as we make our way across the Firth of Lorne. We pass Duart Point with its Duart Castle. We land at Craignure, roll off the ferry, turn left and bike down the road to Duart Castle, the 13th-century stronghold of Clan MacLean, who owned Mull at the time. The castle guide is the first red-headed Scottish lassie I've seen, only it turns out she is from Australia. Lovely accent, nevertheless. On the way out of the castle I stop to photograph some yellow iris. Just past the cattle guard, I find one of the bikers crouched in the foxglove, patiently waiting for just the right expression on a Highlander cow.
   We pass through Craignure, then pause at some tourist shops on the turnoff for Torosay Castle. I'm about castled out, so I skip that and do some shopping. I buy a cap so I'll look like a native.
   Back on the road to Tobermory. We pass a golf course and some gorse that is almost bloomed out. Occasionally the sun breaks through and lights up the hillsides. Views of the Sound of Mull are terrific. At the higher elevations we find some early blooming heather on rocks along the roadside. We enter the town of Salen, a little more than halfway to Tobermory. The support bus meets us there and picks up the folks that have had enough cycling for the day. Eight of us commit to pedaling all the way to Tobermory. After a really tough, long uphill climb we are rewarded with a pretty view of colorful Tobermory, with our Western Isles Hotel sitting high above the waterfront.
   Total miles: 28.8