Ever since I got into cycling as a teenager combined with my life long love affair with the Scottish Highlands, has meant that I wanted to cycle up the Bealach Na Ba. It’s a fearsome challenge, starting at sea level it wends its way up above Loch Carron and the drops back down into Applecross, with great views accross to the Isle of Skye. 626 metres of climbing over a distance of almost seven miles.

Well today was the day I finally met that challenge. I was very unsure of my ability to make it all the way up without walking, and there was one point on the ride where I thought I might not make it, but stubborness won out, the legs kept turning and I made it to the top.

The view from the top was spectacular enjoyed with my family who had driven to the top to wait for me taking photos as I ascended. The descent into Applecross was pretty exciting too, the rims and tyres were hot from braking on the way down.

Enjoying lunch at the Applecross Inn, I then left my family to potter around Applecross, while I headed off round the peninsula, no climbs as long as the one I had just come over but several as steep. While climbing one a red dear stag stared at me from the side of the road, with great antlers, staying around long enough for me to grab a few photos.

A couple from the Netherlands kept passing me in their car and I would pass them back as they stopped to take photos. I had seen them when making the intial climb and at one point they pulled alongside me and asked if I was a professional cyclist, so that was good for the ego!

Round the other side of the Peninsular, just before I would rejoin the A-road, I was picked up by my “support car”, feeling very satisfied with achieving a long held ambition and feeling that I was starting to regain some of the cycling ability I had when I was younger. What will be my next challenge?

Thanks to all those who have supported Dad and myself in this coastal rider challenge. I welcome suggestions on where we could go next, which bit of UK coastline should we test our mettle against next?

View more pictures on Flickr.