The last island

The last island

I'm up and about early this morning to ride around Tiree before my ferry at 11:30am. It's bright and windy which is lovely, anything that is dry is good by me right now!

I head north back to the junction and take a left towards the west of the island. It's 8am and there's only me and the wind on the road. Tiree is rather flat and mostly grassland between houses. There are quite a few original style island houses around too.

Old thatched house

As I reach the coast I can see the rain out at sea and hope that I can out-ride it as I head north again. It doesn't look good!

Dark skies

When the wind is behind me I eat up the miles and before I know it I'm heading out towards the far north end of the island past Gott Bay.

Gott Bay view

At the end of the island I can see over to Coll where I'm about to get the ferry to once I ride back into this headwind to the ferry terminal. Time to explore my second island of the day!

Arriving early afternoon I can see immediately that Coll is very different from it's close neighbour Tiree. Mostly moorland with hills it's a breath of fresh air as I ride south into the wind towards Crossapool Bay.

Green hills

I see a couple of cyclists behind me and they soon overtake and we say hello. Other than that it seems very quiet but then it is Sunday and as usual everything other than the church is closed.

Reaching the end of the road I take the sandy track down to Crossapool Bay to find yet another stretch of amazing deserted beach.

Crossapool Bay

Riding the Beast along the wet sand I'm giggling with glee. Such raw and untouched beauty is so rare and yet here I am with it all to myself, truly magical.

Me at the bay

I head back to the road and go west towards the Hebridean Centre. There's meant to be a track through the dunes here and it certainly doesn't disappoint. Twisty, winding sandy trails, never quite knowing what is around the corner.

Dune track

I can hear and smell the sea but it's hidden by the large dunes until suddenly a gap appears and the coast shows itself.

Beast on beach

Not a single person to be seen I have the entire stretch of beach to myself and what a sight it is. I will never tire of these views, they warm my heart and make my soul sing.

Smiley me on beach

Taking a deep breathe I savour the moment of calm amongst the crashing waves.

Rock on beach

Coll is my last island before I make my way back to Oban on the mainland. I can't believe how the time has flown and yet sometimes I can't remember life before this trip.

Feeling content and ready to finish my circuit around Coll I ride on, battling the last of the headwind towards the ferry terminal and to the Coll Hotel. A pint is in order to celebrate I think. As usual I find myself chatting to a couple of guys in there and we swap tales of islands and experiences. Then I see the two cyclists from earlier and I ask them how they got on. I end up spending 3 hours chatting to people before wheeling down the hill to the community centre. There are public showers and toilets here and I spend £2 on a wonderful 6 minute shower. I feel almost human again!

It's blowing a gale and I hope no one will mind that I've pitched in the sheltered area of the building. I'll be up and out early and so I can't see why it would be a problem for one night.

Camp spot

Another wonderful day full of island fun, new friends and memories. Tomorrow marks the start of a different type of journey, the ride back to where I started.

Trip Summary:

  • Miles ridden = ???
  • Ice creams eaten = 9
  • Ferries taken = 35
  • Islands visited = 28
  • Wild camp nights = 41
  • Ticks removed from body = 14
  • Distilleries visited = 8
  • Breweries visited = 3
  • Bothy nights = 6
  • Trips to A & E = 1