Blue Skies and 3C made a beautiful if not chilly start to the day, during the night owls were at full volume but come morning Scotland belongs to the cuckoo, I reckon I heard a cuckoo for every mile of todays ride and was not too sure of the sentiment when Kaye reckoned they have probably adopted me as one of their own.
Nothing like a big hill to warm you up but the first climb of the day at Milton on A833 was 14% and seemed to go on forever, a fairly flat stretch of road followed with some great views. On the approach to Beauly I enjoyed the company of a local cyclist who was out for the day, he reckoned the weather had been wet and windy all year so any good day had to be used to the full, a man after my own heart. From Beauly to the Muir Of Ord, Connon Bridge and then at Dingwall a climb to overlook The Cromarty Firth that glistened in the sunlight. At Adross I stopped for coffee at Kaye’s chuck wagon before another climb through the Adross Forest that opened up to the most spectacular views of the trip, Dornoch Firth and the surrounding hills were a picture and every turn to the town of Bonar Bridge provided a new vista. Our original destination for the day was the Achinduich, Falls Of Shin area (yes they are real places) but it was still early and the legs felt good and I wanted to see more of this stunning landscape.
At Lairg I met Kaye and then began the very gentle 19 mile climb on a single track road over the desolate Scottish moors to The Crask Inn. On reaching the top afternoon tea and cake was called for and my thoughts that this foreboding countryside would not be a place to break down or get caught out in bad weather.
The ride profile showed that from this peak on the moors the next section was downhill so we decided to head for the Caravan Club site at Altnaharra. The landscape was more of the same with peat bogs, fast flowing rock strewn streams, stone bridges, sheep and a pungent smell of coconut from the acres of bright yellow gorse bushes,
At the camp site a brief chat with a very helpful Caravan Club warden suggested that Bettyhill was only 19 miles away on fairly flat roads and beyond that were areas for wild camping so I decided to minimise my last day mileage and bank some more today.
At Bettyhill another steep climb to the town and at the top I stopped to talk tactics with Kaye, two cyclists came from the other direction pushing their bikes and stopped for a chat, they were heading for Lands End with fully loaded bikes and carrying tents. Their first night stop was The Crask Inn and I did not envy them the ride into the wind fully loaded.
We found a lay-by just outside the town to park for the night and then the heavens opened, my thoughts returned to the two guys we had just left who had a 27 mile climb into the wind and rain and then pitch a tent. We enjoyed a quiet and peaceful evening in the Motorhome, the only sounds were the cuckoos and some cows that roam the moors and appeared to give us some entertainment.
Drunmadrochit to Bettyhill 107 miles
Total to date 919.35
Avg Speed 16.0mph