Saturday, 15 June 2013

On an error in map reading and its consequences



One of Murphy's laws of warfare is that battles tend to take place at night, in the rain at the junction of two or more maps. There is a similar rule in cycling, though I can't formulate right now. Certainly, it applied the day I left Arran for Campbeltown.

My main source of information for distances in Scotland were pages cut from a map book. As luck would have it, the road from Clonaig to Campbeltown was on two different pages and consequently hard to read. However, it was clear that the distance was 13 miles as it was so marked on both pages.
 
There were two female cyclists on the ferry, locals if I remember correctly. When we were landing, we had to time our crossings to avoids the waves breaking across the ramp. These waves were part of the same wind that had prevented John from giving me a lift from Arran.

After a short ride from the ferry, I came to the "main" road to Campbeltown which had a cheerful sign saying "Campbeltown 27 miles".  With a sinking heart I re-checked my maps only to find that the "13 miles" on both pages had been the distances between Clonaig and Carradale and then Carradale to Campbeltown! 
I rang John and Helen to let them know I would be late. They offered to give me a lift which I declined at that time.

I rode down the single track "B" road to Campbeltown making poor time owing any number of factors. There was a contrary wind which blew in rain in fits and starts which lead me to stop too many times to get don or doff rain gear. As well, the road twisted in and out of groves of trees and little valleys making it hard to predict on-coming traffic. 

By the time I got to Carradale, I'd had enough and rang John to ask if I might take him up on the offer of a lift. I found some shelter in the lee of a post office and pulled on another layer of wool while I waited. I was not a happy camper, but I was very glad when John and Helen arrived in their covered pickup truck.

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