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Guest Memories of Eriska Cycling

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on Oct 25, 2012 11:25:00 AM

This summer is shaping up to be a landmark in British cycling history. The recent television coverage of the colossal achievements of our professional cyclists has cast my mind back to various two-wheeled excursions. One particularly memorable ride was on Lismore, and I would urge Eriska guests to visit the island by bicycle. Lismore is Gaelic for great garden, which is an apt description of this relatively low-lying jewel that is set amongst a dramatic mountain landscape.

Lismore is only a stone’s throw from Eriska and it sits majestically at the heart of Lynn of Lorne. It is well worth a visit and is easily reached by a short ferry ride from Port Appin. Bicycles can be hired there but alternatively you can begin on Eriska and cycle around Loch Creran (but be warned this will add considerably length to your journey).

I am not sure how many Eriska guests have arrived, or departed for that matter, by bike but another thought has just entered my head. After some rummaging amongst my books I have uncovered some information on cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. This nine hundred mile trip from the far corner of Cornwall to the tip of Scotland was first completed in the 1880s. The record for a conventional bicycle is under forty five hours, which I find amazing. The journey has been completed slightly more quickly on a recumbent tricycle, and astonishingly the record for cycling from Land’s End to John O’ Groats and back again is under six days!

Nestling next to my cycling book was a tome on ‘slack packing’. This is the fine art of aiming to go backpacking but instead incorporating life’s comforts. Looking at a map of Relais & Chateaux hotels a fairly exhausting trip could be made from the South West of England up here to highlands. This pipedream would be the quintessential stylish slack packing endurance cycling expedition. Returning to reality and more attainable activities, Eriska offers instant access to virtually traffic-free roads. There are a plethora of possible trips both on the mainland, on Lismore and over on nearby Mull, which provide great opportunities to see more of Argyll and to burn pre-dinner calories.

Vernon Gayle