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Day 9. 8/6/2014. Cycle Dundonnell to Shieldaig. Distance cycled 104.5km. Ascent 1226m. Cumulative distance cycled 1062.8km. Cumulative ascent 9874m.

Waterfall beside road.
A grey start but the sun soon burnt through to make another wonderful day although it came with the threat of heavy showers later. A shorter day than yesterday but with more climbing so not an easy day. A gentle run along the coast west of Dundonnell was soon replaced by a long climb to nearly 180m and that set the up and down picture for the rest of the day.
Huge boulders in Gruinard River.
There were some nice descents to balance things up but they were brief respites.

Our route generally followed the coast but the nature of the ground often made it easier for the road builders to go over headlands instead, as in our first climb, resulting in more climbing. There were
A field of orchids beside the road.
huge boulders in the Gruinard River that were well water worn all over. It is difficult to imagine the flow of water required to carry such enormous rocks down the river.

Shortly after that the naturalist of the party, Neil, spotted a spectacular collection of Orchids in a field beside the road.
One of our stiffer climbs today.
They obviously liked it there. That was followed by quite a challenge where the road climbs up from Little Gruinard at almost sea level to about 110m in just 600m or so. It was an unrelenting slog up the 1 in 6 gradient. The cafe at Inverewe gardens provided the first break of the day. It was by
A distant view of my favourite and the most remote Munro: A'Mhaighdean (first peak in from the right).
this time getting quite hot in the sun so it was time for the sun screen again.

There were great views leaving Poolewe of the Letterewe and Fisherfield hills and my favourite and the most remote Munro, A'Mhaighdean (see our WaterAid walk),
was looking especially fine. Our coffee break was followed quite quickly by lunch at the Old Inn at Gairloch. From Gairloch, the climb up beside the pipeline for the small power station using the water of the River Kerry did not seem too bad compared to others of the day.

We then crossed
Beinn Eighe
Beinn Eighe.
the high ground and made our way east towards Loch Maree. Fine views of Slioch were seen as we made our way along the lochside. Afternoon tea was taken at the cafe in Kinlochewe. As we left Kinlochewe it was obvious that the rain showers had arrived in the area so jackets were donned although
the direction the showers were passing in soon took them away from us. First Beinn Eighe, then Liathach, then Beinn Alligin held our gaze to the right as we passed by this trio of Torridonian edifices. The other mountains around added to the overall mountainous feel.

We could see heavy rain
Beinn Alligin
Beinn Alligin.
between Torridon and Shieldaig so it prompted a delay at Torridon to allow the squall to pass on northwards and away from our route. Another one threatened just before Shieldaig but we missed it. The rain did get us though when we walked down to the local hotel for dinner. It hammered down for just a few minutes and even though we took shelter under a tree we had very, very wet trousers where the rain had run off our jackets. It was not so comfortable to start with sitting in the restaurant but the quick drying nature of modern walking trousers did make it better quite quickly.


Day 09 map
Click map to see full details of this day's ride in Ride With GPS.