Through The Woods of West Scotland!
After staying too long indoors in Reena’s house, eat all the good food and feed all my laziness for almost 2 weeks, I finally got back on my bike, prepared for any possible kind of weather in Scotland. I was aware that the weather here in Scotland won’t be as friendly especially during this time of the year. Of course it is never nice to ride under the heavy rain and everything gets wet and youre shivering the whole night inside your tent in the wild. But somehow Im used to it already and I always remember an old Malay saying, “alah bisa tegal biasa”, which if translated indirectly but lead to the same meaning, “the pain of today is the strength of tomorrow” or even “no pain no gain”. Ive always know that any form of struggle or pain Im facing on every moment of my life, will just increase the strength of my mind power.
So finally, I started riding from Reena’s house. It took me quite a while to get out of Glasgow city. The road is complicated and I was following the bicycle path to get out of the city heading towards Greenock. There were so many junctions and I felt like Im in a treasure hunt games, looking for clues to get out of the city towards the west. There were a bridge I had to cross and I had to carry my bicycle with all my 8 heavy bags through the stairs! But after about 40 minutes, I found out that I was in a quiet road, surrounded by nothing but trees.
The ride out towards Greenock was pleasant, I was riding under the sun all the way! After some 20km out of Glasgow, I was surrounded by beautiful views of Scottish farms and hills. I’ve seen these views many times in postcards and the internet, now Im seeing them in real! I took my time and I was riding very slowly, making many stops to snap countless photos. I met many local cyclists along the way and most of them were amazed to see the luggage Im carrying lol. I arrived Greenock around noon and took a ferry to cross into Dunoon which took around 20-30 minutes ride. The reason I went to Dunoon on that day was to watch the highland games with Reena and her friends. They arrived a few hours earlier by a direct ferry from Glasgow. It’s an exotic Scottish traditional game where I only saw once in the movie Braveheart!
At around 5, we finally split, they returned to Glasgow via ferry and I continued my journey north towards a camping site just around 6km away. The rain started pouring. It was the worst campsite Ive ever been, there were many people, I guess they were coming from the highland games in Dunoon and they were making noise playing the bagpipe and getting drunk and shouting and it goes on and on until around 2 am! There were so many lights too and it was really bright. So the next day, I cycled away towards the north heading to the forest, to find a quiet place to camp. I finally found a nice place to camp in the woods near a river, somewhere inside Argyll forest, in the west of Scotland.
Now, I feel so good camping here in the wild. There were no noise of people getting drunk and it was really dark at night, allowing me to see the bright night sky! For a few hours during the night, the sky was clear and it was so bright, there were countless stars in the open sky. I was really enjoying watching each of them blinking proudly in the sky. I didn’t get to see this in Iceland due to the Midnight Sun phenomena during summer. The last time I saw this kind of night sky was in Tibetan Plateau 2 years ago. Of course, the one that I saw in Tibet was much better, with shooting stars every few seconds, this time it’s a bit cloudy here.
Somewhere deep in the night, I heard the rain started pouring and when I woke up early in the morning, the rain never stops. I waited the whole morning for the rain to stop. At around noon, when I look at the sky, I realized that the rain will never stop anytime soon. I then just packed everything under the rain and keep riding forward. I only carry 2 days of food and since I was too hungry, I finished all the food! Hehe, so I need to keep riding in search of a shop to buy more supply before heading to the wild again. After some 50km of ride, I came across a very small village with a camping site. The camping site looks better so I camped there and get all the supply needed. After a night camping there, took a good hot shower, charge all the batteries and got all the food needed, I left to the wild again, riding through the Loch Lomond forest heading north. Now I’ve reached a lovely small Scottish village called Crianlarich and I’ve no idea where to go next. Here in Scotland, I just ride blind, not knowing where to go. I guess, this time I will let the road to decide where I should go. I don’t even want to look at the weather forecast, this time I will face any kind of weather.