Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Posie's Blog. Tales of island life on a hebridean hill farm

Thursday, 6 June 2013

I want to ride my bicycle...

Madness and mayhem continue here as the sun splits the skies and the farm is bustling and buzzing with activity. A whole crowd of my family are over for a visit, the bed and breakfast is going like a fair and the cottages are booked up, so last weekend saw me doing sofa changeovers too, swapping one set of visitors off the bed settee for another….
Yesterday I took a well-earned break. I had been invited to cycle around the Isle of Colonsay with my action man brother and his super fit cycling girlfriend. I was encouraged along by the happy farmer who assured me, in his ever calm, happy state that he would look after the pottery, the farm, the bed and breakfast, the laundry, the children, the pet lambs, the horses, the chicks, the dogs, oh and Bramble, the birthday surprise Mist, our collie dog, introduced to us on Sunday morning. 
The only problem facing me was the lack of a bike, that and the fact I hadn't ridden one since I was about 12. The happy farmer, ever resourceful at overcoming life’s challenges, went for a quick rake through his handy shed and appeared some hours later with a rusty specimen, which had few problems that a quick squirt of oil and some pedal power couldn't
fix. He called me away from customers to have a quick check that the bike would be fine for me. Now the fact that both of my feet could sit flat and firmly on the ground reassured me that although I was a bit wibbly wobbly and shaky I would be quite safe.
Next day I kidnapped the happy farmer and his trailer to give me a lift down to the ferry port, I wasn't brave enough to free wheel down the very steep brae with all of the Lorries and passing traffic. 
Safely deposited with the old rust bucket I purchased a round the world ticket at the ferry office and took my place among all of the seasoned cyclists and their shiny bikes, waiting for the ferry to Colonsay.

We sailed into Colonsay a short while later, cycling along the pier up to the only single track road on the island and we were off, and the challenges began, firstly there were the gears to get a hang of, I was putting in more pedal power than my brother put in for the whole day’s cycling just to make it up the first hill, if you could call it a hill. I quickly also realized that while my feet could indeed sit firmly on the ground this also meant my knees were up round my ears as I cycled along on old bertha. It didn't help when people with bottoms twice, even three times, the width of mine went swiftly past me while I was huffing and puffing away. I discovered that I do have a bit of a competitive streak after all, which quickly led to my behind becoming very saddle sore with all of the effort, indeed by the end of the day I had mastered cycling standing up in the pedals, or at least raising myself slightly just to ease the pressure as the roads seemed to get ever more bumpy, just to add to the challenges.

We cycled to nearby Oronsay, and then around the island, each twist and  bend in the road opening up more spectacular views of turquoise seas and white pebble beaches. The strong coconut scent of the gorse bushes in the air, the soothing sea breeze and the brilliant sunshine made for an amazing day, that and the fact that my brother swapped bikes with me half way round, which made my bike ride ever more amusing as I watched him pedaling like mad with his knees going way beyond his ears, and luckily I didn't get a puncture until we were two minutes from the ferry, having had a well-earned refreshment at the local hotel

Until next time….


Frances said...

Posie, I loved going along with you on the journey to Colonsay! How well you set the scene of the preparations for your departure! I also think that I got the "feel" of what it was to explore Colonsay.

Can you imagine that I've actually pulled my vintage Hatchette Guide to Great Britain off the shelf (dusted it a little) and looked up the entry fro Colonsay.

"Colonsay has pleasant walks and good beaches, particularly at kIloran Bay. The gardens of Colonsay House have various sub-tropical species as well as magnolias and rhododendrons."

Did you perhaps have your refreshment at the Isle of Colonsay hotel?

Before I click off, let me also say how cute that new puppy is. xo

Elizabethd said...

That was brave! I cycled last on an island, but in France. I fell off.
I'm sure Colonsay was very beautiful.

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Rob-bear said...

Well, you're better on a bicycle than I am, Posie. My "iron horse" threw me about a block from home. The gash on my leg is healing nicely. But the contorted muscles are taking their time, fairly put off by the "hitting the ground" experience.

Glad you had a delightful journey and "learning experience." Or should I say "re-learning experience"?

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting, Life in the Urban Forest (poetry).

Posie said...

Frances, I thought of you as I cycled past the gorgeous rhododendrons and magnolias and wanted to take photos for you, but I had already held everyone one up with my slow cycling so didn't dare hop off my bike to take photos. My photos really did not do the trip justice, but I was thinking of you as I cycled past all of those gorgeous blooms and we did have our refreshments in the Isle of Colonsay Hotel, and what a lovely hotel it is.

Posie said...

The last photo is of Kiloran Bay, where we had lunch x

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Fennie said...

Lovely blog, Posie. I was with you all the way. But hopefully by this time you will have procured a better and more trusty machine. Hint, couldn't it just roll down a hill and into the sea by accident, and a new one purchased from a handy Hebridean? look forward to the next instalment.

Posie said...

Ha ha Fennie, I was very tempted to dump it halfway round and was trying to work out if I could walk it in time to catch the ferry when my brother hopped onto my bike for me

Molly Golver said...

Posie, your life sounds so busy - a day's pedalling must have been a nice change. Well done for completing the round trip - sounded great fun even if now you've got 'muscles' you never knew you had

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Now that is brotherly love, to swap bikes with you. Loved reading this and love your pictures too.

Cathy at Potterjotter said...

My cycling forays are a bit pathetic really, and so was my bike for that matter. But I know I would be much better at it if I could cycle in such idyllic places as you did, so you have no excuse! xCathy