5 May 2019
A note on Scottish weather: if water is falling out of the sky, it's not necessarily raining.
I wake first at six-something. I don't really want to think about what we plan do do, so try to get back to sleep. It looks brightish, and I can hear birds tweeting outside, so I figure the weather is acceptable.
I get some more sleep, but at eight-something, it's time to get real. Packup doesn't take so long, but then S has a meltdown about his brakes. I hate hearing them rub too. I get it. We head to Wetherspoons for breakfast. The ground is wet, but nothing is falling out of the sky.
After we leave 'spoons, the ground is wetter, but still nothing is falling out of the sky.
We ride towards the bridge. There is blue sky in the distance. There is hope.
After the bridge there is single track road alongside the Beauly Firth. Bluebells are out. Gorse is bright yellow.
The morning weather is generally good. We get moments that are genuinely warm. And, if there's a little water falling out of the sky, it's okay, it's not raining, because it doesn't really make you wet.
Later we will learn that it can rain. And it does make you wet.
In Muir of Ord, I see a small girl with rubber Mohican spikes on her bike helmet. She seems to be dragging the rear wheel of her bike. I ask if she needs help. Her chain has dropped between the lowest gear and the wheel. Despite our best efforts (plenty of brute force; not so much ignorance, this is a common problem) we cannot free the chain. She says her dad is a mechanic and we send her on her way for parental remedy.
We do an off-road spell prior to Garve. Very rideable forest track mainly, but some of it is a bit rough. On one uphill section, an obstacle ahead means I need to change from one side of the path to the other. I run into a chunky rock in the median and come to a stop. I'm falling left. I twist my left leg to try to unclip, but this induces cramp, which means I can't unclip. I go down on my left. Benignly, it turns out. I get a bit of roadrash on my left ankle, but I get off lightly. No rips, no breakages. The worst of it is the outcome of the cramp. My left calf is sore.
The fabled burger van in Garve is not open. The menu seems to have become much less interesting too, so no biggie. Soup and salad at a lodge hotel around the corner is a decent replacement.
The afternoon teaches us about weather. It's a steady grind west with no serious gradients. But when the rain hits, it can get cold. Numb fingers, numb feet. And then it can dry and the sun can come out.
We roll into Lochcarron in cold rain. The campsite seems a bad idea, but the forecast for the night and morning is positive, so we decide to get stuck in.