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Vagamonde: Chasing Euphoria and Getting Hit by Reality
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

So begin our travels in Scotland

We were eager to get to Scotland, a place that both of us have wanted to visit for a long time. At the end of the Pennine Cycle Way, the bicycle path pops across the border to Scotland. Here is my happy grin at finally being in Scotland even for a brief time:

To hasten our true arrival in Scotland, we hopped a train from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Glasgow. As the train pulled into the Berwick station, we had exactly one minute to get our bikes loaded onto the "guard's van" of the train which is at its tail end. One of the staff at the platform was insisting that we remove all our panniers first before getting aboard. Thankfully, an older and wiser member of the staff saw the madness of that idea and gave us the okay to keep our panniers clipped on:

Glasgow was busy and bustling with activity as we arrived midweek in the afternoon. It has been a while since we had wandered among the crowds of a big city. But the isolation of the islands of the Outer Hebrides were calling us, so we were soon on our way towards Oban where we could catch a ferry to South Uist. A lovely bicycle path followed the River Clyde and along canals until we reached Loch Lomond, our first stop. At the hostel that looked like a castle, Benoit just couldn't resist adding his head to a statue:

On our way to Oban, we cycled along many a narrow single track road with passing places. Our first encounter with this type of road that we would see often in Scotland. It looks like the road is a big snake that has swallowed a rodent or two:

Even when the road had two lanes, there wasn't a lot of room to pass. It looks like this bus is sneaking up to attack me from behind (but really, the driver was just patiently waiting for the oncoming traffic to pass):

Most of the ride from Glasgow to Oban was a delight. The days were sunny with only a smattering of clouds, a welcome contrast to the pissing rain and dismal weather that seemed to be unending since we arrived in the UK. We managed to find quiet side roads, even a slippery moss-covered mountain pass alongside, but way above, the main road up the steep Rest And Be Thankful. Eventually the mountain pass route rejoined the busy highway and we were stuck sharing the road with impatient drivers. At least the views were worth it:

Finally we reached Oban and were soon on the 5-hour ferry ride to the Outer Hebrides. It was due to arrive at 22:20 in Lochboisdale on the island of South Uist. We hadn't even looked into where we might sleep that night. Our idea was to find a camping spot in the dark of night in a place we had never seen before and probably in the rain (the good weather couldn't last forever). Crazy idea, right? But not a unique one. We met Sarah and Tom, two cyclists also boarding the ferry with the same idea! It seems that we cross paths with kindred spirit travellers just when we need it the most.

So began our visit to Scotland. We had made it to the Outer Hebrides. If you want a sense of wide open spaces, just walk along a beach on one of those islands:


  1. Salut a vous deux ! Merci pour la description de votre passage en Ecosse. Etes vous alles voir des chateaux et des distilleries de whisky, egalement ?

    Karine vous souhaite le bonjour et precise qu'elle aussi souhaitait bonne fete a michele.

    Ma mere demande si vous allez ecrire un livre ou une BD apres votre periple?

    A bientot pour un autre post !


  2. Salut Seb et Karine!
    Ma description n'était que le début, c'est à dire, nos premiers cinq jours en Écosse. Aujourd'hui ça fait un mois qu'on y est. Restez à l'antenne! Il y aura encore des descriptions à suivre.
    Une BD? Mmmmm...peut-être!