Cycling the Hebrides: Day 3. South Uist to Benbecula

The day started with what can only be described as a feast. The b&b lady served up a fantastic breakfast. Everything had been thought of including tooth picks. There was a melon adorned in strawberries waiting for us. Cereal was on the unit to help ourselves. Then the main show arrived. The cooked breakfast with Stornoway Black pudding which in my opinion is the best you can get. We both wolfed it down and wondered if this is how all B&Bs would be like or would we now be forever disappointed.

The bellies were full, too full perhaps for cycling but we had some mileage to do. We chose the coastal path. It was flat and the wind was behind us so we made good progress. We stopped off at the Flora MacDonald birth place, little more than a ruin but with a plaque that had been weathered a lot.

The museum was just opening as we arrived. Eager to see as much as we can we paid the £2 entry and wandered about. We were most interested in the VHS tapes that had been left out though I don’t think that was part of the display.

south uist seemed to go by quickly and so we made a detour to get cake at Hebridean Jewellery. Andy ported for the soup.

Refuelled we were on the off. Following a bumpy track in a short cut to the causeway across to Benbecula. These causeways look sturdy and seem to be a life line to those on these islands. Some engineering must have been carried out to build them. These islands would have been more remote before them.

Benbecula, the name very similar in syllables to Count Duckula whose theme tune I can’t shift out my head. We headed for the beach which was behind the pub. Too soon after our pit stop so we did actually go to the beach which happened to be under a massive wind turbine. The awesome sound of its blades swirling in the wind. I’ve never been so close to one before. The wind was strong and the beach was facing directly into it which meant the sand was being blown in out eyes. We decided we’d seen enough and we’re in the mood for refreshment. The Dark Island hotel seemed a world away very similar to the Borrowdale. The floor filthy and table tops sticky. We enjoyed the wifi and read our books making the drinks last.

Eventually it was time to head to the b&b. 10mins up the road the b&b approached and we rode into the drive. The lady was gardening under a giant plant which she explained she was pruning back waiting for us. She was older and timid. Not much small talk. Our room was a throw back to the 70s and actually reminded me of my room at my grandmas back in the 80s.

We rested up and showered and made leave for the pub. We took the bikes as it would be a long walk.

We ordered our food after quenching our thirst with a pint. A Canadian bloke Chris whom we met at Oban started conversation and we chatted all night. Turns out he’d spent time in Banff before the Japanese took over and told us how it’s changed. Exchanging stories of routes for cycling we found out he was cycling to Skye but getting the train back from mallaig. It was a good evening and made the strange bar more friendly blathering about cycling and travelling.


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