Stornoway to Butt of Lewis
Today was the final 56 mile leg of our journey, leaving Stornoway to reach the Butt of Lewis the most northerly point on the island. Once there, we had two options. For those who were up for it they could cycle back to Stornoway or make use of the laid on transport. Andy V, Mike, Matt and Helen decided to go the whole hog and set off early while the rest left shortly after. Disappointingly the morning was rather damp but did clear up as the day went on.
The first section saw us heading west along the Pentland road starting with a steady incline averaging 1-2% over 4 miles. The day was dull with a moderate breeze from the south. After only 12 miles we came to the Callanish Stones where we stopped for some sight seeing and a coffee break.
Mike posted a beautiful ‘picture’ of the Callanish Stones and tried to claim he was up early enough to catch the sunrise, however he was very soon rumbled when the same ‘picture’ was spotted in the visitor centre. Just as we were about to leave, Simon noticed he had a puncture. Fortunately for him AndyB happily served as ‘domestique’ and set about replacing the inner tube for him. When it came to inflating the tyre, Andy opted for the manual approach, but as his hand pumped up and down like a piston on overdrive, it led to some rather lewd comments.
Having ‘communed with nature’ at the Stones, it was now time to focus on the final leg of our epic journey. Joy oh joy, the wind was mostly from behind. The road ran along the North West edge of the island and was gently undulating giving enough momentum on the downhills to cruise to the top of the next ramp. On reaching Barvas our small group stopped briefly to stock up on any food we were carrying.
Continuing north through Borve we eventually arrived at Port of Ness. However this was not the end as we turned onto a single track road leading to the Butt of Lewis lighthouse some 2-3 miles further on. Around half way there we came across the ‘leading bunch’ already making their way back. None of us envied their task of the 56 mile route back into a head wind and cheered them on the way as they passed by. Shortly after, we also reached our target so the celebrations could begin.
With an hour or so to spare for the ‘pickup’ we arranged to meet at the Breakwater cafe in Port of Ness where we all enjoyed a lovely lunch before the transfer back to Stornoway. Later in the evening we all gathered at the Boathouse restaurant to celebrate and reminisce about our great achievement before returning to the hotel and a little sing-song in the lounge before bed.
All in all it was a wonderful experience in excellent company, creating memories which will last a lifetime and we were somewhat fortunate with the weather mostly in our favour. All too soon it was time for the return ferry to Ullapool where we were then transported back to Oban. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this such an enjoyable trip. Hope to see you all again soon.