Our stay at the Old Schoolhouse in Dalleagles was our favourite so far.  As the name implies, it is an old Schoolhouse converted by the present owners Liz and Mike.  We stayed in the Science room.  The conversion was excellent and the hosts couldn't have been more friendly.  Mike even ran me into town to get a few bits (well a couple of beers actually) to save me riding back down.  I had the best night's sleep of the tour so far and awoke ready to go.

We had put ourselves under a bit of pressure today.  In order to avoid going through Glasgow, we planned to ride to Gourock and catch the ferry over the Clyde to Helensburgh.  The last ferry left at 2.35 so we had to get there for then.  

Breakfasts normally start at 8am but Mike offered to do 7.30 for us.  We agreed a compromise of 7.45.  Breakfast was great and we said our goodbyes and set off.  The wind today was broadly ENE and we were heading Northish, so overall the wind effect was probably neutral for us today.  

We cracked on down the A76 and stopped in Mauchline for some dosh (loads of Scottish notes surprisingly) and then to take this pic of the Burns Memorial.  

We realised, riding the A76 how much quicker it would have been if we had stuck to main roads, but personally I'm glad we have done it the way we have because we've seen so much more.

After 2 1/4 hours we arrived at a small, hard industrial looking town 34 miles into our ride.  We stopped at the local shop and then proceeded to show how bonkers we are.  My back was twinging badly, so I went onto the grass square in front of the shop and started doing back stretches on the ground.  Ian took his gear off to change and paraded in that "do you want some" pose for a while.  A local told him he'd be arrested soon, which made us laugh.

I decide I'd better show the locals how hard we were so I quickly bought some Irn Bru and swigged it down belligerently and that seemed to do the trick.

We carried on and after an excursion up some really rough tracks, we then re-found the road and continued.  We were now riding East and straight into the wind which was tough.

 We then followed another diversion which took us up a hideously steep hill which luckily was not too long. We kept checking our progress against the clock.  We had been well up but the easterly riding and mad hill had slowed us a lot.


We finally turned West to head into Greenock and seemed okay when a long hill appeared.  This could have really chewed into our time but Ian got out the saddle and cracked up it.  There followed a monster descent into Greenock, but I had to stop quickly to take this pic of the Cly
de.  It was stunning.

We carried on and luckily found the terminal quickly with a bit of help from a  couple of local lads.  It was 2.20 pm so we had ridden 65 miles with 20 minutes to spare.

It was a very small ferry and as we waited to go, I felt grotty as I'm not a good sailor.  Once moving though it was fine.  The crossing was brilliant and we couldn't believe how beautiful it was.  I'd expected an industrial area and grotty views.  It was the exact opposite.  The fares cost us £4.70 including bikes and that is the best fiver we've ever spent.

By now we were starving so we bought some nosh and ate by the waterside.  We didn't need the 400 foot climb out of Helensburgh but it was soon behind us and we hit the A82 and rode alongside Loch Lomond for quite a few miles  (I can't say stunning again, so I'll leave you to say what you think of the loch in the pic).  We put the hammer down for the last 10 miles or so and arrived at the Rowantreebank B&B which is literally on the side of Loch Long.  We're writing this from the local pub, and the view is great, but no pics as there will be scenery overload soon.

So, only 4 days to go.  Ian is now flying and soon I'll be chasing him.  The weather has been cracking from day 1 and the whole thing is such an experience.   Looking forward to completing the tour and then seeing Wendy (and Mr D and Merlot of course)

Up the Trossachs I say :)

1/5/2011 05:54:14 am

Wow it all looks pretty amazing. Your blog is brilliant martin keep that up as well as the excellent riding. I must say there was no need for the topless pic of ian though think I'm going to throw up in a minute......................yep there it is.

1/5/2011 06:06:51 am

Loving the blogs from you both - and the pics. It's sometimes hard to remember that you are cycling around the country and not driving because you seem to be having such a good time!!

Just had a family 'do' for Em's birthday and we think we need to have another 'do' to celebrate your massive achievements. Any ideas???

1/5/2011 06:07:53 am

Well that really was a special treat for us ladies......thanks! (I was eating my dinner while reading the blog) Next time warn me when you call ;-)
Glad you didn't struggle on the ferry......ride a 1000 miles no problem and get sick as a dog on a 15 minute ferry crossing lol

Love you......Get home now!.... this isn't funny anymore ;-)

1/5/2011 06:17:04 am

Enjoy your great commentary so well written and with great photos.Keep up the good work which we all talked about at Emma's birthday bash.

1/5/2011 06:19:48 am

I'm with Wendy - time to come home! Was also a little surprised to see my half naked husband - was that just to remind me what I've been missing??!

Fantastic pictures, great blogs and clearly a journey to remember! X

1/5/2011 06:36:12 am

BEAUTIFUL scenery,

The animals get a mention but none for your daughter? Poor show Father.

We are saillllllllllllllllling we are sailingggg....
I hate boats.

(As Wendy said this weekend, is there anything I don't hate?!)

Try and work in some Scottish lingo, I hear occha de knooo works very well.


pauline wendys mom
1/5/2011 07:56:54 am

another day under your belts lads .wont be long now..i bet you cant wait ,to get home .. go safely the last few days you have done great up till now xxxxx

birthday girl
1/5/2011 08:25:46 am

For the scenery really is breathtaking! I was only thinking the other day how I would like 2 have seen a photo of u drinking irn bru at iron bridge... and there u go.
32 incline.... Amazin. U don't need red bull at all!


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