Islay has been inhabited since 8000BC, at various times the island has been inhabited by the Gaels and Vikings eventually coming under Scots rule in the 12th century.
Having had such a long history the island is full of sights to see both natural and manmade. Machir Bay a mile of golden sands and voted in the top 30 beaches in the UK by Conde Nast traveller. Finlaggan two islands to the north of Islay one of which is linked to the main island by a walkway. Tools and weapons from 14th and 15th century have been found on the islands.
If Islay is famous for anything it’s whisky with it’s own festival in May and 8 working distilleries on the island it’s not hard to see why. With the Island Adventure tour you can spend one of the days on the island touring the distilleries. The YH at Port Charlotte is an ex distillery building!
This is the first in a series of posts about the areas that SBT tour in.
The Great Glen (GG) is a geological fault between Fort William and Inverness. At one end of the GG lies Loch Linnhe and the Atlantic Ocean and to the other the Moray Firth and the North Sea making it an ideal off road Coast to Coast (C2C).
The original fault was created about 380 million years ago then a mere 20,000 years ago during the Ice Age the fault as we know it was formed.
Traversing the GG way there is 22 miles of man made Caledonian Canal and 38 miles comprising 3 lochs that of Lochy, Oich and Ness. The Caledonian Canal was oened in 1822 almost 49 years after first being proposed.
There are ten hill forts along the GG testifying to it’s strategic importance. Torr Dhuin and Craig Phadrig are the most accessible from the GG Way and are worth visiting if only for the views. Craig Phadrig is thought to date from 350BC and be on the site that eventually became Inverness.
The GG runs through the three main types of habitat water side, woodland and moorland and you can expect to see oystercatchers, heron, kittiwakes and even ospreys. Landward red squirrels, pine marten and red deer.
The GG Way passes through Gairlochy, Laggan locks, Fort Augustus and Drumnadrochit.
We shall take a look at some of these settlements as well as Fort William and Inverness in another post.
Taking this chance to update the blog as my planned 50 miler on the road bike has been shot or should that be snowed from under me. It’s not unusual to have snow in Scotland in April but this is nearly May and in Fife where I live we usually miss the worst of it but we didn’t last night.
I like being in this business. It’s the look of incredulity on a clients face when you take them on a ride in an area they have lived in and they see it from a different perspective or see something they never knew existed. Giving them a new experience, recently I have had two clients that had never taken a bike on a train before and did not believe it could be so simple. They are the good bits last night though was “books” night not too onerous but something that has to be done.
As a counterbalance to the boring bits I finalised the Summer rides programme for the website, the majority of them have been posted but, as it is still crappy out there I will have some unplanned time on my hands to finish it off today. So if you have some unplanned time a wee break at your desk maybe or just want to dream about being on your bike take a look at http://www.scottishbiketouring.com Book a tour give me some feedback or simply spread the word about this blog and the tours. Next big event for SBT is the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling (EdFoC) 9-19 Jun. There are tours before then and if you wanted to fit one in I will be happy to help.
In 2013 I completed a LEJOG and of course did a blog. Now the blog is going to be resurrected by ukcycle chat on thier web site. Take a look see what you think if you have any questions or want me to come along to a group to talk about it get in touch.