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The Arran Belles are no strangers to cycling from coast to coast, or even around the entire island, but recently they set their sights on a bigger challenge, cycling from the west coast to the east coast of Scotland.
With t-shirts printed, the bikes serviced and rucksacks packed, the group departed on Friday September 6, with Linda Johnston and Jillian Plenderleith driving the support vehicle, their campervan with Belle’s mascot, wee Flo, joining the expedition.
Leaving on the Claonaig Ferry the group headed north to Ford on the scenic Loch Awe, then to Dalmally, Crianlarich, the south road alongside stunning Loch Earn, onto Comrie, then Kinross and finally finishing in busy St Andrews. A distance of over 200 miles and 10,000ft elevation.
The group stayed in hostels and treated themselves to ‘one posh hotel’ and were lucky enough to enjoy good weather during their trip – experiencing only sunshine and showers along the route.
The roads were varied; busy A roads, quieter B roads and meandering cycle paths. The cyclists split into small groups on the busier roads and this worked well, at times traffic was heavy but it all added to the experience.
Overall the trip went smoothly apart from road works where they had to carry their bikes over freshly laid tarmac. A sure signs of a successful journey, the group collectively only had two punctures during the entire trip.
Janice Small of the Arran Belles said: ‘People we met were fascinated by our journey and very encouraging. What fun we had, eating and laughing our way across this beautiful country, all coping very well. I think we all had a fantastic time, we wouldn’t have changed a thing.
‘It was no mean feat guiding 13 ladies across Scotland but all, without exception, were hugely supportive and rose to every challenge without a grumble. A brilliant group of ladies. ‘
The Arran Belles at Kinross. No_B38belles01
Not their usual means of travel, the Belles carry their bikes along a freshly tarred road at Loch Awe. No_B38belles02
The Belles enjoy lunch on the road at Mingary Castle in Kilchoan, Ardnamurchan. No_B38belles03
Every good trip has at least one, the Belles stop to repair a puncture near St Andrews. No_B38belles04
The Belles photographed at the Kelpies Maquettes presently installed at Ardrishaig. No_B38belles05
Two Belles cycle along the scenic Crinan Canal. No_B38belles06