This time last year we were planning our Highlands and Islands tour, I have only just finished writing it all up on my blog, so here it all is. One amazing adventure for two 50 year olds who had started cycling 2 years before. Perhaps it will help/inspire others. Tour d'Ecosse July 2016 Planning We are nearly there. Our 'Grand Depart' is on Saturday 2nd July 2016 from Ardrossan, where we will hopefully return two weeks later after: 15 islands 14 nights 13 ferries 12(000)m ascent 11 islands 10(00)km 9 B&Bs 8 shoes 7 Puffins 6 pairs cycling shorts 5 seals 4 hostels 3 spare inner tubes 2 hearts 1 dream. Well the puffins and seals are hopeful! Meanwhile a 1000km south of Ardrossan the Tour de France kicks off in Brittany! Tour d'Ecosse route We have detailed routes for every day which roughly adds up to this whole (this map includes ferry kilometres). I have the nerdiest of nerdy spreadsheets with all route details, ferry times, accommodation details and places of interest, based on the excellent Cycling in the Herbrides guide by Richard Barrett and published by Cicerone Press. Basically we have to ride Plan A otherwise Plan B takes effect. A bit like the referendum, we don't really have a Plan B other than we can get a train from Oban, Kyle or Mallaig back to Glasgow and Ardrossan if disaster strikes. Between us we have a heart condition and a knee replacement so we are only carrying the minimum, which rules out camping, and we have to have accommodation booked or run the risk of hypothermia! Cal Mac ferry timetable rules the plan. if we miss a ferry we're up the loch without a paddle. For instance, on Sunday, we cannot get from Arran to Islay without wasting the whole day, any other day of the week is fine. We have to be off Arran on Saturday by 18.30 ferry, so a B&B is booked on Kintyre peninsula that night. We cannot get a ferry from Islay to Oban as that only runs on a Saturday and a Wednesday, we tried reversing the route or starting in Oban, but no option has us on Islay on the right day without wasting time, so we are getting the Jura Passenger Ferry to Tayvallich from Jura, and riding up to Oban (as the ferry is not on Ride w GPS it would not let me route that way so the above is not quite accurate) Travelling light..... Oh, and we're supposedly going over Bealach na Baa from Applecross. The highest road pass in the UK. It will be wet, it will be windy, there will be midges. We can't wait. I had better go and finish stuffing all that lot into panniers before we shoot up to Penrith tomorrow night to stay with my parents for 6 hours and head for the 11.05 am ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick on Saturday. Weather forecast for Saturday, Lightening/storm at 11am and heavy rain with sunny intervals and a stiff westerly all afternoon.