With over 80 miles ahead of us today we needed to get a good start. Breakfast went well, but within 15 minutes of riding I had picked up the first puncture of the trip. A minor setback and we were.soon on our way again speeding towards Fort William.
That all came to a halt however with a rather loud bang when my rear tyre blew out just 2 miles up the road. There must have been something wrong with the way I had repacked the tube that meant the tyre had not sealed to the rim properly. Anyway, another delay was unfortunate but we dealt with it and not long after, we were stocking up with snacks in Fort William.
At this stage of the day, despite our mishaps we were averaging 12 miles an hour which was our fastest pace of the trip so far. With this in mind we left for the Great Glen way via Neptune’s staircase, the fantastic series of locks that marks the southern entrance to the Caledonian Canal. We made good time along the minor road that runs parallel to the waterway and sped through the tremendous off road forest section north of Clunes.
Rejoining the A82 at Laggan, we had set our sights on Fort Augustus for lunch at the 50 mile mark.
Things were going well and we were about 3 miles away from our stop when I got the feeling my bike was not right. Glancing down at my rear wheel revealed a major buckle that was causing it to wobble dramatically. Cate soon spotted the problem, a broken spoke. So it was yet another roadside repair, although I was equipped with a nifty emergency spoke that I bought on a whim, more as a “boy’s toy” than something I thought I would ever have to use.
Rolling into Fort Augustus was a good feeling. It was 3pm and we still had 40 miles to go, beginning with the 5 mile 400m climb onto General Wade’s military road, but for now it was lunch time.
We began our ride after lunch marvelling at the scenery of the southern shores of Loch Ness. It really is a beautiful place. As we began the climb out of Fort Augustus, noted as being the hardest in the whole end to end, we reminded ourselves of how lucky we were to be able to be here seeing the UK in such a way. It was a stiff climb that took us over an hour, but reaching the summit was a great feeling and gave us the most exhilarating views of the day.
It was a long, fast and cold downhill from here finally coming into the last 25 miles of undulating moorland and later dropping again to the lower old wooded pastures that signified our arrival to Inverness. By now it was 8pm and our biggest day had more than lived up to the title.
12 hours, 81 miles, 1 puncture, a tyre blowout, a broken spoke and two knackered but happy Chamsdorfs thankful for the break we had planned for the following day.