Lurchers lap up Argyll cycle tour

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Motorists may pause for thought when they spot a pair of hunting dogs and a family of bicycle tourists.

Rather than send their pets, three-year-old Lurchers Zebedee and Wiggle, to kennels, the Bartholomew family, from Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, have taken them on an Argyll cycling holiday.

Dad Jack Bartholomew celebrated his 51st birthday on the cycling-nuts family’s first 33-mile day from Campbeltown to Kennacraig.

The two dogs, on leads, run and walk alongside Jack, his wife Rachel and sons Freddie, 11 and Harry, eight, as they pedal along.

After leaving Campbel-town’s Argyll hotel just before 9am last Friday, by 10am they had conquered the first five miles, to Peninver and happily stopped at the village hall to speak to the Courier.

Despite the persistent drizzle, Harry and Freddie were in good spirits, as they spoke about their pets and Jack told of training long weekends in the Cotswold hills.

Jack said he reckoned the Cotswolds would be harder than the day’s run on the B842 up the east side of Kintyre.

Jack added: ‘We might be cycling but we will be eating posh nosh every day and plan to feed the dogs on fresh meat during the 10-day tour.

‘Lurchers would run forever if they had a deer in front of them.

‘This morning we tried plastic covers for their feet but have removed them as it seemed more of a hindrance.’

Having researched travelling to Scotland by train the Bartholomews found it simpler to drive to Ardrossan, park the car and take the ferry to Campbeltown.

Jack said: ‘The Argyll hotel was described as dog friendly, but there was some consternation when we turned up on bikes with two Lurchers.

‘Tonight we will be wild camping near Kennacraig as we aim to take the 7am ferry to Islay.’

After time on Islay the family intend to cycle the length of Jura before taking the Jura Passenger Ferry RIB to Tayvallich.

It will not be all cycling – the family were planning some fly fishing for brown trout, with a seven piece rod packed into one of the panniers.
Freddie said: ‘We might be able to cook the fish on a driftwood fire on a beach.’

Each day one of the boys will take photographs for a log of the trip and Harry was keen to snap the Courier man in action.

Rachel added: ‘Towards the end of the tour we intend to cycle round the Kilberry peninsula and if we are not too smelly have a slap-up dinner at the Kilberry Inn.’