DAY 11, 3rd August - Inveraray, Loch Awe & Oban

On day 11 of Mark Beaumont’s Wild About Argyll adventure he explored Inveraray, Loch Awe and Oban. First off he off-road motor biked with MotoScotland in Glen Shira. Then it was on to Loch Awe Boats to head around Loch Awe via Kilchurn and Cruachan Dam. He then met Ben Cathro on the Caledonia Way in Glen Lonan for an epic mountainbike stunt. Then he was back on his bike to cycle to Oban for ‘Around the World and Back to Argyll’ – an evening of adventure, sharing short films and photography from around the world and his latest adventures here in Argyll at Corran Halls.

Mark shares his Day 11 adventure below:

Day 11 of Wild About Argyll and I woke to wall to wall liquid sunshine falling from the sky! But it didn't matter, because I was off to learn how to motocross! A sport that is far happier in the mud!

Back on Inveraray Castle estate, I joined the team from MotoScotland for an unforgettable morning. Having only done my basic road test, it's a steep learning curve heading onto the dirt roads and into the wet - but what a brilliant way to improve your bike skills. Thanks also to the local cyclists who turned up in the rain for the filming - you'll need to wait for the short films by Morrocco Media to find out why we needed somany volunteers to join in the filming along the route.

By lunchtime and it had dried up as the team headed northwards to Oban, stopping off at the beautiful Loch Awe and the team at Loch Awe Boats. The plan had been to go for a kayak, but in part due to a support vehicle issue, we were now behind schedule, so after some photos it was back on the small roads to Oban, to track down the legendary Ben Cathro from Sick Skills - Scotland's #1 downhiller and all round madman.

 

Ben had spent the previous day with a strimmer, spade, mallet and strip of old carpet... and the result was a 30+ foot gap jump across the main road! When asked to be involved in the film, Ben was given the choice of taking me for a lesson, or doing a crazy stunt. 'A crazy stunt' was the immediate reply!

It took about five attempts to time our runs perfectly so that I was cycling directly under Ben as he soared above me. The photo just doesn't do justice to the size of that gap! It was superb fun and ever so slightly nerve wracking getting to see Ben in action! I may have ducked slightly!!

The race was still on, because the day would finish with a public event at the Corran Halls in Oban. About 250 people came for an evening entitled 'Around the World and back to Argyll,' where I spoke in the first half about the last decade of global adventures and in the second about the Wild About Argyll adventure and film.

Thanks also to Quadmania Scotland - as to finish the filming, I needed to 'arrive' at the event on a quad. Then there was a healthy dose of audience participation as I ran onto stage... it will all make sense when you see the films!

What a crazy day of motorbikes, quad bikes, downhill bikes, and me on stage trying to remember all the amazing things that had happened in the past 11 days!