Westbourne House B&B on Millport – base for Boot Camp 1.
You will remember that in a brave or mad moment the Chief Pilot, aka the “old git” and Chief Stoker, aka the “old gal” decided to book me on a big European holiday adventure in September which will see the three of us touring 150 miles of the Villages and Vineyards of Burgundy over six crazy days back to back during the wine harvest.
So the intrepid duo, sorry my faithful owners, decided that they needed to clock up some miles – and try two consecutive days in the saddle as a kind of trial to improve their fitness. So off we headed to the west coast island of Millport for what has become known as “Boot Camp 1”.
The “old git” and the “old gal” had been to Millport several times before – but each time was before them taking ownership of me, so they rented a tandem for those trips.
And, I need to whisper this, but the “old git” told me recently that Millport features prominently in his relationship with the “old gal”. You see it was during a stay on the island that the “old gal” took all her brave pills at once and asked the “old git” what his intentions were regarding their fledgling relationship, and was he serious about her. Seems there was some coded reference to a question like: “If we had a boudoir, what would it be like?”!
Anyway, whatever happened that night, it worked as they are happily together after the “old git” relocated from his pad in Newton Mearns in Glasgow to Auchterarder, and the pair moved in to a new residence in the town – complete with a large and airy garage for me.
And so it was an early morning drive to Largs to get the short ferry crossing to Millport. The 4×4 was left in Largs and I was uber-excited as we cycled towards the ferry as this was my first overseas trip with my new owners. Naturally the “old git” had some wheeze up his sleeve, and had “won” two free ferry tickets in a VisitScotland competition.
It was a lovely day as we arrived on the island and we immediately set off and completed the first circle of the relatively flat road round the island – 10.25 miles in an hour.
The sun was still shining as they set off on circumnavigation 2 – with the “old gal” trying to fathom out which way the wind was blowing to make it a bit easier on her old legs – forgetting that if the wind is behind her on one side of the island, it has to be blowing in her face (well actually in the “old git’s” face) on the other side!
The “old gal” had packed a lovely picnic so they decided on a nice stop on a secluded beach on the far side of the island – looking across to Rothesay. They had smoked salmon and chilli cream cheese croissants, washed down with a small bottle of wine each.
It was all going so well. But just as the “old git” was saying he would get windburn and may have to take his trendy new cycling jacket off, as they started off again the heavens opened. Never have I see rain like it. It was like being in a car wash without a car! We were two miles away from our b&b base, so, with no shelter, there was no alternative but to cycle on.
I must say I have never felt the old pair cycle so quickly in my life – and they arrived at Westbourne House b&b looking like drowned rats. But the owners immediately rushed to help providing them with towels and showing them to their luxurious “Arran Suite” room which had fabulous views across the Clyde. You can read the “old gal’s” review on TripAdvisor here.
Miraculously – as the pair dried out – the sunshine came out again and as I dried out the duo decided to venture out again and valiantly completed the third lap – dodging the big puddles from the monsoon-like rain earlier.
It was good to get going again and everyone was in good spirits as the Chief Pilot and Chief Stoker returned to the b&b to change for their much-anticipated dinner at The Harbour restaurant in Millport town.
But just as we all set off for the 2 mile cycle into town, the storm clouds gathered once more and literally as they pedalled off the rain started again! Again there was no option but to keep going and the pair received some rather funny looks as two drookit tandemers arrived at the eaterie for their dinner.
The highly recommended The Harbour restaurant in Millport.
The restaurant’s co-owner Helen leapt to the rescue, providing towels for a quick dry off. I am told the food was fabulous – a culinary delight of seafood, and fantastic value with its BYOB policy. In short, if you are in Millport, you MUST book this place. Again you can check out the “old gal’s” TripAdvisor review here.
The journey back to the b&b was uneventful as it was dry and they found a nice private protected garden for me and we all had a fabulous sleep to recharge our batteries.
A brilliant breakfast fuelled the “old git” and the “old gal” for the second day and soon we were whizzing around the island again. This time the lap of the island was completed in an impressive 50 minutes. Two more laps followed during the day – interspersed with a brilliant coffee stop at the new Crododeli and a fab lunch at the Dancing Midge café.
I have to say the last lap was a bit of a trial for everyone – but they pushed on and I was impressed with their commitment to the cause!
So as we ended up at the ferry terminal we had clocked up 65 miles over 6.5 laps of the island. I haven’t had a run out like that for years – but it was great fun although everyone was totally exhausted.
So Boot Camp 1 was a good success – but let me tell you that everyone slept like a log that night when we got back home.
I didn’t burst their bubble of self-congratulatory praise – but they have to do that for six days in a row in France……. c’est la vie!!!