What, no blogging? Here are my reasons (er, excuses):
1. Functioning WiFi is scarce in the highlands of Scotland, at least in the places we frequent. Although, one night we stayed at a “posh” hotel (because it was pouring rain and freezing cold and windy) and their “free” WiFi was so slow we gave up waiting for the BBC weather page to load. A good thing, too, because we may have given up then and there. Or at least I may have.
2. On a three-week tour in a country full of things to see and experience, time is scarce. For instance, my time is spent putting on and off my rain gear alternately with my insulated cold-weather gear, rather than writing pithy prose for your entertainment.
3. Do I need any more reasons than those?
Having said all that, here are some brief observations on cycling in the Highlands of Scotland:
1. It’s windy. I’d recommend training in a wind tunnel with the setting at about 50 miles/hour.
2. It’s hilly. I’d recommend training by cycling across Canada. Go in November to get the full effect.
3. It’s wet. I’d recommend underwater training to test your water-proof gear. And all those cycling clothes you have that you never wear because they’re too hot to cycle in? Perfect for Scotland!
4. This place is crawling with tourists. Pre-book your hostels and B&Bs well in advance, because you can guarantee you’ll need to warm up and dry out on a regular basis.
5. I finally get the whisky thing – that spot of warmth in your belly is the only warmth you’ll get in this place! That doesn’t mean I’ve started drinking whisky (funny, they don’t call it “scotch” here), but I did find some whisky fudge that went down quite nicely!
6. Wild camping in Scotland is legal and accepted. And tenters are more welcome to do it than people in caravans. How cool is that?
7. All coffee and tea is consumed with milk. If you want it black, ask loudly at the time of ordering, and be prepared to be looked at as if very strange.
8. The scenery is lovely and everything is quaint. It’s like we try really hard in North America to make everything we touch so ugly.
9. Lambs are cute and they are walking, baaing advertisements for the many beneficial properties of wool. How else could they be asleep on a wet lump of grass in the freezing cold blowing rainy weather? As an aside, when the sheep seek shelter from the weather, so should you.
10. Holy cow the roads are narrow. Luckily, so are most of the cars. As a cyclist here, one has more of a direct relationship to the people in the cars because of it. We slow for them to pass, they slow for us to pass, and it requires eye contact and most times a wave too. Nice.
11. There are birds here that sound like they belong in a clock. Tim tells me they are cuckoos. They go on incessantly. Do we have them in Canada? I’ve not seen one yet, they must be quite small to fit in those clocks.
That’s all for now, folks! There will be photos and more specific info about our route at some point, I’m sure.