Lessons for tandem virgins

So it was Sunday and I heard arrangements being made between the “old git” and “old gal” for another ride out – but this time there were some mutterings about a potential new pilot and new stoker, well at least temporary ones!

Now you know, me being an “old lady” and all that I don’t much like surprises. I am a bit set in my ways and am quite comfortable with the way the “old git” and the “old gal” sedately cycle along.

So I had a bit of fear and trepidation when they announced that one of the best friends of the “old gal” was coming to stay overnight at “Matilda’s Rest”. And more than that, the visitors – Gillian and Craig – both said they fancied a shot at tandeming!

Well I think it was all that success and whooping and joyous excitement at the Commonwealth games that made them think it was going to be a dawdle. But they were tandem virgins – and that was a potential recipe for disaster and a few bumps and scratches on my ageing frame!

But the “old git” was very reassuring and told me that he would make sure they knew exactly what they were doing before they would be allowed to pedal off on me. And he would stress it was all about the new buzzword of synchronicity! Phew! I was relieved.

It was lovely and sunny on Sunday afternoon as they arrived – but before they headed out they all had to fuel up with some lunch and of course a welcoming bottle of prosecco. I mean didn’t they know it is against the law to be drunk in charge of a tandem! And think of the embarrassment for an “old lady” like me if they were to be stopped by the police!

Anyway it was only one glass of fizz each – just to wash down one of the “old gal’s” smorgasborg lunches. And then it was time to go, but not before everyone had a crash helmet on. At this stage Gillian couldn’t resist taking a pic of herself. I understand this is a new-fashioned thing – which is called a ‘selfie.’ And for some reason Gillian dubbed herself the ‘selfie whore’ – a phrase that the “old git” needed to be explained to him. I mean, sometimes he is a bit thick!

Gillian and Craig 4

Gillian – a self-proclaimed ‘selfie whore’!!!

 The “old git” and the “old gal” started off riding me to show them the ropes – while Gillian and Craig cycled on single bikes, listening attentively to the start-up routine of “Ready – ok – three – two – one – pedal!”

The route was to be the quiet back road to Dunning so when at the start of a flat stretch, they swapped places with Craig taking up the “old git’s” position as Chief Pilot and Gillian on the back as Chief Stoker!

And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised as they managed to move off first time with no mishaps. A little shaky obviously – but given it was their first time I was gentle with them and we eased up the gears and soon they were flying along, as my owners followed on single bikes.

But I had to laugh as I heard the “old gal” complain that she had to change her own gears AND steer the bike at the same time! I mean clearly the “old git” does everything and all she has to do is “pedal”!!!

Obviously (and you know I need to say this) Gillian and Craig weren’t as slick and confident as the “old git” and the “old gal” – but it was an impressive performance never the less.

Gillian and Craig 2

The tandem virgins – Craig as Chief Pilot and Gillian as Chief Stoker.

After a couple of miles we stopped just outside Dunning at the monument to Maggie Wall – reputed to be the last witch to be burned at the stake in Scotland back in 1657.

Gillian and Craig 5

The “old gal”, the “old git” and Craig having a laugh and a breather in the sunshine.

Craig and Gillian decided they wanted another shot – and increasing in confidence – took off at a fair pace for the last mile or so into the village of Dunning. Where, yes you’ve guessed it, there was a refreshment stop in the lovely beer garden of the Kirkstyle Inn. A pleasant sit in the sunshine and three gin and tonics and a pint of the local Dunning ale later (not each – but shared out among the four cyclists!) it was time for the return journey.

The “old git” – being the sociable thing that he is – decided it would be fun to spice things up a bit and mix up the pairings for the cycle back home.  So he teamed up with Gillian and the “old gal” and Craig took up the rear on the single bikes.

Now it is amazing how you know it is not your regular stoker (the “old gal” forced me to say that bit!!) but Gillian did a “not bad” job of keeping the pedals turning – and even a few surprise hills didn’t frighten her. I would give her an 8.5 out of 10!

But it is just wasn’t the same, so I was pleased when they swapped back to the usual positions for the last bit of the cycle home. You know – and whisper it – I find there is something very reassuring about being with your regular Chief Pilot and Chief Stoker.

But Gillian and Craig really enjoyed their first trip on a tandem – and I am delighted to say that all three of us have been invited back to their place in Alloa for a cycle. And, I am even told I may even get to see the Kelpies on the canal paths not too far from where they live.

Almost too much excitement for an “old lady”!

Congratulations to Team Scotland tandemers!

Commonwealth Games tandem racing 3

Tandem racing at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during Glasgow 2014.

I have been so excited as tandem racing has been one of the big events on the opening day of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games! I could hardly contain myself as the “old git” switched on the television and there were some sleek-lined tandems racing each other round the track at a place called the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. And what a smart place it looks with nice smooth wooden boards to race around, and a huge crowd cheering them on.

I tell you I was more than a little jealous watching those tandems whizz round the track with ultra fit pilots and stokers, clad in saltire lyrca, pedalling as if their lives depended on it. Amazingly they clocked speeds of 60 km/hr.

Mind you that kind of speed would make an “old lady” like me a bit dizzy – but it didn’t stop me pumping my horn in support as the Scots team of partially sighted Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Louise Haston progressed to the final of the Women’s Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem with some thrilling rides.

They fair hammered the Australian’s in the semi finals to reach the final where they had an auld enemy showdown with England’s Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott.

Commonwealth Games tandem racing

Team Scotland in action in the Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem event.

The Scots duo did brilliantly well in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, and lost the first heat of the final by the skin of a front tyre. They came close in the second heat too, but it just wasn’t enough. However that gutsy performance earned Team Scotland silver medals – which were the first medals for Scotland at Glasgow 2014.

Commonwealth Games tandem racing 2

Aileen McGlynn waves to the home crowd after winning silver at Glasgow 2014.

Many, many congratulations to Aileen – a Paralympic legend who hails from Paisley. I was dead chuffed and my saltire flag (specially purchased for the trip to France) was fair fluttering during the final!

The “old git” listened intensely to the commentary and heard Sir Chris Hoy saying that he had tried tandeming years ago but couldn’t cope with being on the back. He said: “It was terrifying being on the back when I am used to being in control.”

He also said that the stoker “has to put all their trust” in the pilot – something which the “old git” took great delight in pointing out to the “old gal” when they watched the highlights later.

The “old git” was even joking about entering the three of us for the next Commonwealth Games in 2018 in Queensland, Australia. The “old gal” humoured him – as she always does – and said maybe  – but only if she can persuade Chris Hoy to come out of retirement!

The “old git” was a bit miffed at this, but got his own back when he remembered that the commentator had said it was all about “synchronicity” when riding a tandem – and told the “old gal” that this was going to be the new buzzword for this weekend’s training run. He said it would make a change from shouting “pedal”!

To which the “old gal” responded: “And I thought ‘Synchronicity‘ was an album by The Police!”

I tell you – the steam was coming out the “old git’s” ears! I was stifling my laughter, but then I thought that it was quite appropriate as I could have “Everything She Does is Magic” as my theme tune!

And then I thought that for the “old gal” it is all about “Every Breath You Take” as the “old git” has been dubbed “King of Pain.”!

Oh and obviously for the hills – there really is only one option: “The Only Way is Up“!

ADDED INFO: Congratulations also to Neil Fachie and his pilot Craig MacLean who won gold the next day in the Men’s Para-Sport 1000m Time Trial Sprint B Tandem event at Glasgow 2014.

Commonwealth Games tandem racing 4 Neil Fachie

Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean strike gold on their tandem.

The roof almost came off the velodrome as they were last to go and easily beat their competitor’s times. Not surprisingly, the pair admitted to a few tears at the medal ceremony!

Commonwealth Games tandem racing 6 Neil Fachie

Another victory for Scottish synchronicity!

In tandem hospital

Well there was nothing for it but a trip to “tandem hospital” after the calamity that befell me on the Two Loch Challenge. My rear gear cog had split and the only thing was to have a new one fitted. At my age – 50 plus (same as my owners!) – I was never going to grow a new one!

So the “old git” and the “old gal” loaded me up into the tandem transporter and we headed for the professional tandem doctors at J M Richards Cycles in Perth. The astute among you will remember that is where I had my major makeover not that long ago (see post “Under repair” for full details).

Chief surgeon Ally took one look at my cog and shook his head and explained how the cog had started to come apart, loosening up the ball bearings inside. He made me feel better by saying there was nothing anyone could have done to avoid this problem, that it really should not have happened, and said it must have been a “Friday” cog – i.e. a badly manufactured one.

Fortunately Ally had a spare new cog in stock and promised that after a one-night stay in “tandem hospital” I would be fit to go home again.

So after the “old gal” said to look after me, I was left behind and soon in their workshop. Let me tell you it is an Aladdin’s Cave of bicycle and tandem parts. They have nuts, bolts, washers and new bits for any cycling illness you could think of – and some you didn’t even know about, and didn’t want to know about.

Within an hour in the workshop my new cog was fitted and it felt as good as new. They also noticed I had two loose spokes so they were duly tightened up – which removed a slight buckle in my rear wheel.

An overnight recuperation was required, with a quick test the next morning to see the surgery had been a success – and then I was cleared to go home.

The “old git” and the “old gal” came to collect me – and I have to say I was pleased to see them again.  I have become quite attached to them both, and did feel for the “old git” as he raced us both down that hairpin bend at Inversnaid to try to catch that ferry. I was quite concerned for him as I have never seen his face that colour!

And my owners received even better news when Ally said that the repairs on my cog were free of charge as it had been renewed so recently. That made the “old git” smile I can tell you!

The “old gal” – who is of course Chief Engineer on the team, even invested in some new quick chain fixers – which will make life easier if my chain comes off again and gets twisted.

So everyone was happy as we headed off home ready for a full test on the Sunday, when we completed a 16 mile trip back to Forteviot via Dunning.

The “old gal” was delighted when the “old git” decided they should stop for a wee gin and tonic and soak up the sunshine in the beer garden at the quaint Kirkstyle Inn at Dunning. Most welcome it was too – again just for medicinal purposes, given the high temperature – and made the last few miles back to my comfy garage fly past.

Gin and tonic at Kirkstyle

 A quick pit stop for a gin and tonic at the Kirkstyle Inn – it would have been rude not to! 

We even met up with a group of super-fit students from Leeds who were doing a John O’Groats to Lands End charity cycle run for Great Ormond Street Hospital. They were covering the whole length of the UK in two weeks and that day were cycling from Pitlochry to Stirling.

The “old gal” quickly told the “old git” not to get any ideas about a similar tour by tandem! Mind you, whisper it, she did catch him having a drool over a gorgeous blonde female in the group who was clearly wearing her tight lycra cycling top to show off her curves! He almost had to be pulled away, as the “old gal” reminded him it is rude to stare!

So the repairs to my gears were given the thumbs up from my owners, and I felt like the ‘cog of the north’ again!

Two loch challenge (part 2)

So on to Day 2 of the Two Loch Boot Camp Challenge….

But firstly – an alert!!! Those who think these little tours organised in fine detail by the “old git” run like clockwork are in for a surprise! In fact, we were all in for a rude awakening – yes all 3 of us! So be warned – there is a bit of a calamity coming up, which ended up with me having to pay a visit to the tandem hospital! But read on!

It all started so well with my mad tandem owners refreshed after a sound sleep in the log cabin and an excellent full Scottish breakfast at the highly recommended Inversnaid Bunkhouse.

I was refreshed too after a night under my tarpaulin – and after a photo at the entrance it was time to cycle off on the second part of the challenge – a trip on Loch Katrine.

LL - Matilda at Inversnaid Bunkhouse

Saying a fond farewell to Inversnaid Bunkhouse.

The first part was a relatively easy 4 mile stretch from Inversnaid to Stronalacher – although perhaps there were a few warning bells for what was to transpire later, as the gears bumped and grinded a bit and the “old git” kept saying that something was wrong and accusing the “old gal” of not pedalling. You can imagine the response that got!

In less than an hour we had pulled up at The Pier Café at Stronalacher with plenty of time for a nice coffee while waiting the arrival of the steam ship Sir Walter Scott. The “old git” and the “old gal” had taken the ship down the loch before and cycled back the 14 hilly miles to Trossachs Pier – but this time they were doing it in reverse.

So we all boarded  the boat at Stronalacher Pier – with the captain being impressed that he had a classic tandem on board. I even got a mention during the on-board commentary – and naturally the “old git” had to respond with a couple of blows of my horn, which got a cheer from other passengers!

LL - Matilda on Sir Walter Scott

On the steamship Sir Walter Scott – where I got many admiring looks for an “old lady”.

The weather was fabulous again and we all got wonderful views of the Rob Roy scenery as we sailed up the loch.

LL - on boat to Luss

Another beautiful day for the “old git” and “the old gal” as they enjoyed Loch Katrine.

At Trossachs Pier I was offloaded, and the plan was for a leisurely tandem back down the side of the loch – arriving back at Stronalacher in plenty of time for afternoon tea, before the last four miles back to Inversnaid for the last waterbus of the day at 4.30pm back to the car parked at Tarbet.

The intrepid duo had four hours to do this – more than enough time for the distance of 18 miles – but fate got in the way!

Again the journey started well with the duo whizzing along the old water board road down the side of the loch and they even managed to navigate the first couple of hills without any problems as the “old git” was finally getting the hang of the gears. Even a sudden rain shower failed to dampen their enthusiasm.

But all of a sudden – in the midst of a forest section – there was a loud crack and a shout of “stop ! ” from the “old gal” who also doubles as “chief engineer”.

My chain had worked loose and on a gear change it had got tangled round on itself and jammed in my metal framework – resulting in the pedals giving the “old gal” a rather nasty cut and bruising on her leg.

But the “old gal” did a sterling job as I was unceremoniously dumped upside down and she tackled the breakdown with gusto. She declined the requests from the “old git” to split the chain and after about 20 minutes the chain was free. The only problem was that the duo had been eaten alive by midges and were in some discomfort.

But they gamely remounted and off we headed again – to try to catch up on the schedule. But there was obviously something wrong with my gears – and I was rather embarrassed at the clanking noises that emanated from my gear cog.

There was no option but to pedal on and we enjoyed the downhill section into Stronalacher. No time for afternoon tea however, just a quick cold drink before tackling the final 4 miles to Inversnaid.

We had an hour till the waterbus left – plenty of time to make the connection. The first section is a huge steep hill so it was a push up that before gently continuing to cycle along the flat section, anxiously listening to the odd noises from the gears.

And then it happened. Just over a mile from the waterbus jetty my gear cog broke – and I couldn’t be cycled any more.  And there were only just over ten minutes before the waterbus left – which would have effectively stranded us all on the wrong side of the loch from our car.

So the “old git” decided he would run ahead, pushing me along as he puffed and panted for over a mile – straight road at first, then a crazy downhill zig-zag section.

I have to say I was highly impressed at the “old git’s” fitness (and so was he!) but it was a very strange sight for the people walking up the hill to be met with a red-faced sweaty cyclist, wearing a crash helmet, running at full pace, pushing a tandem, with no sign of a co-rider  (as the “old gal” had to take a bit more time as running is not possible due to her asthma.)

As he rounded the last bend he saw the waterbus but couldn’t make out if it was arriving or leaving. A last spurt and we were on the jetty – in fact we were going so fast we nearly ended up in Loch Lomond – only to have that sinking feeling of realising that the boat had left the jetty and was heading out into the loch.

Fortunately, when the “old gal” arrived – equally red-faced – a few minutes later – she cleverly decided not to say the obvious that we had missed the waterbus!

Neither said anything for about five minutes as they recovered – before the “old git’s” planning kicked in and they thought about plan B – to avoid being stuck overnight on the opposite side of the loch from the car.

They decided that the only course of action was to find out what the alternatives were at the reception of Inversnaid Hotel. Fortunately – although the last timetabled waterbus had left, the hotel charters a waterbus to bring guests over the loch after their daily bus trip.

So the very nice receptionist spoke to the captain of the boat and told them our story. Again the gods were shining on us, as the boat was going back to Tarbet (where our car was parked)  after a couple more crossings.

What a life saver! So the “old git ” and the “old gal” were able to sit in the sun for an hour while their old hearts got back to normal. And naturally (for medicinal purposes) this was helped along with a mini bottle of wine which was being saved for a celebration at the end of the Two Loch Challenge.

LL - Di welcome wine at Inversnaid!

A very welcome slug of wine after a dramatic afternoon for the “old gal”!

It was therefore only an hour behind schedule that we all boarded our “private” waterbus transfer back to Tarbet  – with their shredded nerves back in one piece. The crew were wonderful, treating us like royalty. One of them was extremely fit (unlike the old git!) and even lifted me off the boat, virtually with one hand. I thought the “old gal” was going to give him a  kiss (or even more!) for his efforts, but she showed remarkable restraint!

So finally I was packed up back in the car and we headed home to Auchterarder – having had a somewhat more eventful trip than originally planned. But, as the “old git” said, it was good practice for things going wrong in France. And for once the “old gal” nodded in agreement.

And as for me – I wasn’t going anywhere soon other than to the tandem hospital to get a new gear cog.

But I have to say the “old git” and the “old gal” were very sympathetic and looked after me all the way home so I wasn’t in any pain.

I was a brave girl – as befits my age – and I will soon be firing on all my pedals again.

Two loch challenge (part 1)

LL - 08.30 Sun morning!! Tarbet

8.30am on a Sunday morning! Ready for the off on the Two Loch Challenge!

Mega excitement on Sunday morning. The “old git” had set the alarm for the unearthly time of 6am – a time on a Sunday which the “old gal” said she had only ever seen from the other end! But she reluctantly dragged herself out of bed as a two-day training weekend for the grand Tour de Burgundy de tandem had been meticulously arranged.

The plan was to do a Two Loch Challenge – basically going round Loch Lomond and the nearby Loch Katrine over two days – using waterbuses, a steam ship and of course lots of pedal power to cycle 37 miles! Oh and it involved an overnight stay in a Bunkhouse – so the panniers were packed to the brim (although the “old gal” did draw the line at the “old git’s” demands that they only take necessities so she had to do without her hair straighteners!)

I had been packed into the car on Saturday night to help allow an early departure and so at 7am we pulled away from Auchterarder on the trip to Tarbet on Loch Lomond. That was where the car was being left and also the departure point for the challenge – with the first boat leaving at 8.45am to cross the loch to Rowardennan.

The first of many transfers to boats – which saw me dangling precariously over the water, not the best position for the “old lady” that I am – was successfully achieved and we were off. You can follow the route we took clicking on this link to the Loch Lomond Waterbus timetable.

I was so excited as I really like boats now – as everyone gives me admiring glances while quietly thinking what a pair of old farts the “old git” and the “old gal” must be. But I must say they had packed me well and I was looking quite the part with all my matching luggage and water bottles!

Amazingly there were actually another two passengers on the first boat – despite the ungodly hour! Fortunately the sun shone and the “old gal’s” spirits were lifted when the “old git” managed to procure some much-needed black coffee and her favourite Chrystal’s brand of shortbread – which is actually made on Loch Lomondside.

45 minutes later I was being offloaded at the jetty at the youth hostel at Rowardennan – a favourite spot on the West Highland Way walk. Within minutes we were off, whizzing along the quiet tracks and roads on the quiet east side of the loch on a 7 mile run to Balmaha.

And a very sociable ride it was as there were lots of walkers starting their day’s schedule – and everyone gave us a cheery wave and a “hello” and my antique horn got quite a few hoots, I can tell you.

The steep 15% descent  into Balmaha was a bit of a test for the “old gal’s” nerves – and I did hear her shout “brake” quite a few times. But, the “old git” is a bit deaf – or at least selectively deaf – and he decided on a high-speed run into the  beautiful and picturesque village.

The first stage took less than an hour so we parked up for coffee at the appropriately named St Mocha coffee shop in Balmaha for a mid morning cuppa. The “old gal” need a double shot Americano to sooth her nerves after the drop into the village – while the “old git” decided a latte was in order!

LL - St Mocha coffee Balmaha

Parked up outside the St Mocha coffee stop at Balmaha.

Fortunately there was a shop next door and the “old git” brought a smile to the “old gal’s” face when he disappeared and returned with two small bottles of chilled prosecco for the picnic lunch a wee bit later.

Meanwhile I was enjoying the sun, parked up against a wall – which ensured I got noticed – which did my ego no harm at all.

The next waterbus was a transfer back across the loch to Luss – the quaint village where the STV soap Take the High Road was filmed. The duo were a bit early for the noon departure, so we all enjoyed more sunshine at a perfect photo stop right beside the jetty.

A very nice man offered to take a photo of all three of us (well actually he said he would take a photo of my owners – but where they go……) And here is the result:

LL - us at Balmaha jetty

The “old gal” and the “old git” waiting for the next waterbus at Balmaha. 

It was very hot now and the “old gal” decided a bit of sunbathing was the order of the day – while awaiting the arrival of the water bus, so lay down on the jetty wall to soak up some rays. Little did she suspect that the “old git” was on hand with the camera – and again I even managed to sneak into the picture! Don’t know if the “old git’s” ears have recovered yet for the earache he got about taking a photo which the “old gal” said didn’t show off her legs in best light!

LL - Di waiting on boat Balmaha

The “old gal” looking glamorous as the waterbus arrived at Balmaha.

Off we sailed to Luss, with me parked on the bow and my owners enjoying the warm sun on the top deck – which made them feel as if they were abroad on holiday. And as the “old git” said – “who needs abroad when you have weather like this is Scotland?”

We got off at Luss – with quite a crowd having gathered to see me lifted gently on to the old pier. A quick stop for a look at the gift shop – it seems they bought a saltire flag for me to show off when we are all in France – and we were off on the 8 mile run to Tarbet. This was part of the National Cycle Network Route 7 and was a lovely quiet ride off the main road – using pathways and for long stretches using the old Loch Lomond road. And the good thing was that it was busy with other cyclists too – except I was the only tandem to be seen.. which added to the interest!

The “old gal” was charged with finding a nice secluded beach spot for the picnic and she came up trumps about half way along this stage. A perfect setting, right by the tranquil clear waters with the sun beating down. It couldn’t have been more perfect, and naturally the “old git” celebrated with a toast to the “old gal” with their mini bottles of prosecco!

LL - prosecco with picnic lunch

Cheers! Drinking each other’s prosecco on the edge of Loch Lomond.

Picnic was croissants filled with smoked salmon and chilli cream cheese – yum! – and some tapas cheese. Another culinary delight organised by the “old gal. It really was a picture-postcard spot looking out across the loch. In fact the “old git” was even heard to mutter the word “halcyon” so it must have been good!

LL - Di at remote beach for lunch Sun

The “halcyon” remote picnic spot – what a view!

Refuelled, and buoyed by the prosecco – which was a requirement due to the heat, of course – it was onwards to Tarbet and the last waterbus of the day across the loch again to Inversnaid.

It was a lovely calm crossing – again in bright sunshine – with the boat packed with foreign tourists enjoying a break in Scotland. A perfect advert for VisitScotland.

My owners had decided against staying at the “bus tour” Inversnaid Hotel (average age of guests 86!) and opted for the trendier Inversnaid Bunkhouse. They had been warned that it was three-quarters of a mile up hill – but this was a Mount Everest-style climb – with the road zig-zagging as it does in the Alps.

Needless to say there was little cycling and a lot of pushing. As the “old gal” said to a fit cyclist who cycled past – “We are taking our tandem for a walk!”

The road levelled out about 150 yards from the entrance to the Bunkhouse and the “old git” decided to get them both on board so they could cycle into the car park where they could triumphantly look as if they had done the hill climb! I have to say most of the people who were there knew otherwise – but it would have been rude to spoil his moment of glory!

I was wrapped up in a nice tarpaulin as rain was forecast overnight – and to keep the dreaded midges off me.

Meanwhile my owners enjoyed the delights of the Bunkhouse, which is essentially a converted church. The “old gal” had issued an edict “camping – never!” so the “old git” had sensibly booked the log cabin option. And what a decision it was. A very comfortable room – with the Bunkhouse offering guests a hot tub which looked out onto the wilderness of the Trossachs. A dip was essential and the duo enjoyed an hour soaking their aching muscles with the water jets offering a welcome massage! The ice-cold cider and lager probably helped a bit too!

Spirits were further raised with a welcome meal in the Top Bunk Bistro – with hearty fare for the outdoor enthusiasts with a wide selection of beers and wines.

The “old git” and the “old gal” both enjoyed bruschetta and a cheeseburger with home-made potato wedges – washed down with a most enjoyable bottle of red wine – before the “old git” insisted on finishing the meal with a portion of banoffee pie and cream! Mind you, the “old gal” did find room for apple pie and ice cream.

The Bunkhouse was very friendly and the guests were soon all socialising and exchanging tales of where they had been and where they planned to go next. My owners met up with a Belgian couple – Dirk and Nellie – who were touring Scotland by car and bike.

After a fab evening – and knowing another tough day of the Two Loch Challenge boot camp beckoned, it was time for bed. And as I slept happily under my tarpaulin under the stars – I could swear I heard loud snores coming from the direction of the log cabin!

Day 2 beckons!