The Beast from the East decided to have one last foray, and I awoke last Sunday morning to another few inches of snow and bitter winds, driving spin drift into the air.
Undeterred, I loaded up my bicycle with panniers packed with gear and food, and set off to Waverley railway station in the heart of the city.
Pauline and I were west bound, and having had our adventure plans scuppered at the start of March we were determined not to let it happen again.
And how right we were. Though cold, when we arrived at Connel, just short of the bustling ferry port of Oban on the west coast, it was glorious, and not a patch of snow or high winds anywhere. The surrounding high peak mountains tops were capped in snow, but that is usual for this time of year and creates already stunning views into spectacular.
We didn't arrive until early afternoon, so our first day out was just over 20 miles to Glen Duror, which, if you've been following the making of my film about the Ballachulish ferries, will know Glen Duror was the lost ferry I found recently on Mull. So that connection was nice.
There was a bit of a head wind, and added to the fact that I was not only unfit but also exhausted after a hectic week, I struggled to keep up.But the delightful cycle path all the way took my mind of that, and the stunning views all around made the effort all worth while.
Just over halfway we passed the very picturesque, and best preserved example of such, Castle Stalker, sitting proud on a small tidal island. Still in private hands it dates back to the early 1300s.
We were on the Caledonia Way, which is a cycle route that runs from Campbeltown to Inverness, route 78, and the section we were on was perfect, only touching a main road once.
By late afternoon we were heading up Glen Duror, our destination a small bothy connect with a Highland character called James of the Glens. In the mid 1700s he was wrongfully accused of the murder of the chieftain Colin Campbell, aka The Red Fox, in Appin, and was hanged for it. Not lost to history, he makes a cameo appearance in the Robert Louis Stevenson's book, Kidnapped. When James was hung his body was left hanging for 18 months at the south end of Ballachulish ferry as a warning to others clans with rebellious intentions.
We decided to camp beside the bothy, one of his former homes, but the wind was blowing fierce and cold off the mountains resulting in a chilly night despite wearing several layers.
The following day we woke to a cloudless sky, and set off for Ballachulish. Now I was in familiar territory, boring Pauline with my childhood stories.
At Kentallen there was a nice surprise to find a preserved water tower from the days of the old steam trains.
The views were opening up to the north, and as we neared Ballachulish the ridges and mountain peaks of Glencoe started to rise into view.
Past my old childhood home of some 46 years ago, we were aiming for lunch in a coffee shop come gift shop called Craft & Things in Glencoe Village, and would meet up with Kate, the daughter of the last ferryman of the Ballachulish ferries.
Our camp for the night was back down the cycle path, and off into Port Appin. We found what could easily be described as the most beautiful wild camp spot we have ever stayed on. Right next to an unusual rock formation with a large opening though its heart, we had views across to the island of Lismore and mull beyond.
The sunset was stunning, and the afterglow and the appearance of a new moon just farmed the vista perfectly. Though if we though the previous night was cold then this night was arctic! With a cold day and not a cloud in the sky the temperature rapidly fell. I awoke at 2am shivering.
With a leisurely start and gear packed away, once the sun had melted the ice off out tent and bikes, we took the small ferry across to the island of Lismore.
It was another glorious day with hardly a breath of wind. On the island there is just one road, which is only about seven miles long, so there was not a great deal to explore. However, when we alighted the ferry a gentleman who reminded me of the actor Bill Nighy, told us of the most beautiful part of the island, where he happened to live, called Sailean. With no other idea in mind we set off.
Obviously it didn't take long, but as we approached I had my doubts, as the way was along an unpaved road, more akin to the entrance to someones private farm. But, this was the place, and beautiful it certainly was.
By mid afternoon we were aboard the Calmac ferry for the hours crossing to Oban and my train home. Refueled with local fish and chips I bade farewell to Pauline as she continued the adventure and I returned to Edinburgh on the most picturesque railway journey in the UK.
Another great adventure in the saddle.