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HOSTELLING MEMORIES


Three fascinating and very different recollections of the hostelling experience CYCLE TOUR OF SCOTLAND


THE FIRST OF MANY TRIPS


I have memories of my first Youth Hostel cycling tour of the north west of Scotland, over two weeks in July/August 1958, at the age of 18. Tis was the first of three consecutive and very enjoyable cycling holidays with my friend John. We set off from Liverpool on Friday


morning and rode all day and through the night, and arrived in Glasgow about midday on Saturday. Here is a daily rundown of a briliant trip...


Sunday We rode to Inveraray via Helensburgh, Garelochead, Arrochar, and over the fabulous Rest And Be Tankful hill, with its superb climb and stunning high-speed descent. Monday We set off for Oban via Glen Aray to Dalmally, then along Loch Awe, and the Pass of Brander to Oban and its superb circular landmark. Tuesday We headed north, via the wonderful Connel Railway Bridge. We continued along the coast and crossed on the Ballachulish Ferry, now replaced by a very elegant bridge, to reach Fort William, and the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. Wednesday Rest day – from cycling anyway, as we decided to walk up Ben Nevis! Tese days, after 35 years’ experience of hillwalking, I shudder to think that we went up in our everyday cycling gear but no waterproofs. Tursday We rode to Ratagan Youth Hostel near Shiel Bridge, on Loch Duich, via Glen Garry and the stunning six-mile descent through Glen Shiel. Tat day, we discovered just how wild and deserted Scotland can be as we ran out of food and energy, and there were no places anywhere to obtain supplies. We learned a lesson that day - keep stocked up. Friday We moved on to Strathpeffer Youth Hostel


74 SCOTTISH HOSTELLER 2012


Eddie Jones on the summit of Suilven looking out towards the Outer Hebrides


“WE SET OFF FOR HOME FEELING VERY TIRED BUT HAPPY AFTER TWO WEEKS OF WONDERFUL HILLS”


via Strome Ferry, long since gone and replaced by a road around Loch Carron. We continued up Glen Carron, then via Achnasheen and Garve to the Youth Hostel, a magnificent building overlooking Strathpeffer. Saturday We rode via Inverness to Loch Ness Youth Hostel, alongside Loch Ness. Tis seemed to be a rather ‘flat’ day after all the big hills we


Rannoch Moor


had been over. Sunday We had another rest day, this time just wandering around the lower hills above Loch Ness, and did some bike maintenance. Monday Glencoe Youth Hostel, via Fort William and the Ballachulish Ferry again – another easier day. Tuesday We rode up magnificent Glen Coe, and across Rannoch Moor, to Crianlarich Youth Hostel. Wednesday We ‘dawdled’ the 22 miles to Inverbeg Youth Hostel, and it was mostly downhill too! Tursday Our last rest day was spent exploring the hills in Glen Douglas, behind the Youth Hostel. Friday We set off for home feeling very tired but happy after two weeks of wonderful hills, descents, and scenery, the like of which we had never seen before. When we got home, we immediately started planning the next trip! Tis year, I completed my 11th annual walking holiday in the north-west Highlands. I just can’t keep away!! Eddie Jones


STORIES – EMAIL HOSTELLER@ SYHA.ORG.UK


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