Route plan for the day’s cycling:
After packing and paying at the campsite, I headed for the ferry terminal where I met the two cyclists from the previous day, who were also waiting for the ferry to Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan. Ardnamurchan is a peninsula known for its wild and remote beauty, and Corrachadh Mòr on its western tip is the most westerly point of Great Britain (being 22 miles further west than Land’s End). I was looking forward to experiencing the area’s remoteness and rugged coastline. The crossing was smooth and we soon reached the mainland. A twelve mile detour would have taken me to Corrachadh Mòr but I decided instead to head east towards Salen from where I would take the road north to Mallaig. First, I looked for food but to no avail because the only shop in Kilchoan did not open until 11:30. Having had no breakfast I was very hungry – luckily one of the cyclists I’d met kindly gave me some oatcakes and a mars bar to keep me going! Despite the dull weather and lack of food, the road from Kilchoan to Salen was a cyclists’ dream, passing inland through some dramatic hill country before descending to the rugged coastline via a scenic beach called Camas nan Geall. The entire stretch of Ardnamurchan coastline was strikingly picturesque, and I would have happily spent a day or two exploring it, but I was eager to push on towards Mallaig. After 19 miles, I reached Salen, and being ravenously hungry I soon ordered a lunch of haddock and chips with a pint of Strongbow!
The route up to Lochailort was dramatic, passing by magnificent lochs and hill country. The road along the Sound of Arisaig and Loch Ailort below Rhos-Bheinn mountain was particularly enjoyable, with rocky coastal scenery and greenery in which dinosaurs would not have looked out of place!
Unfortunately the main A830 from Lochailort to Mallaig was dreary with fast traffic. I detoured onto the B road through Arisaig which was slightly more enjoyable. At the closest campsite to Mallaig, I stopped to enquire about prices and was quoted £8.50 which I thought was far too expensive for a night’s pitch. Furthermore, it was five miles away from the town and ferry to Rum, which I planned to catch the next day. I therefore determined to find a spot to wild camp, for what would be my first time ever. I was a little unsure of where to go, but found a minor coastal road leading away from Mallaig and looked for a suitable place to pitch. I chanced upon a local, and asked him if he knew anywhere suitable. “Anywhere you can get your pegs in” was the reply at first, but it turned out that he was a crofter who lived nearby, and advised me that if I walked a mile along a track, I would get to an area of flat land where I could pitch anywhere I liked. I pushed my bike along the track, all the time enjoying stunning views across to Knoydart and Skye. The area for camping was spectacular, on a remote little beach surrounded by hills and cliffs. I spent the evening marvelling at the nature: the multitude of cockle shells, the ancient rocks, the embedded minerals, the lichens and plantlife, the views and the sea, taking photographs and enjoying the fantastic location.