And we finished (well sort of), today was the last leg of our main coastal tour round the North of Scotland. 49 miles of easier, rolling riding through countryside much more like ours in Warwickshire, with fields of crops, hedges and dry stone walling. The mountains in the background, however, and the sea by our side, ensured we didn’t forget where we were.
Cycling through Dornoch and Tain, I could almost have been in the Cotswolds, the buildings had a similar architectural style and the stones had that honey coloured hue. Out to sea, however, was something we would never see in Chipping Norton, on the skyline were the unmistakable shapes of oil rigs.
Cycling on the A9 was an experience, which we tried our best to avoid, the larger lorries had a tendency to spatter you with gravel kicked up by their slipstream, and you were frequently buffeted by the air stream of all sizes and shapes of vehicles cutting close and fast. So, wherever possible, we tried to detour onto minor roads running parallel to the A9.
Finally we were on the last few miles from Dingwell to Strathpeffer, looking forward to the finish and the obligatory cuppa and cake at the old station cafe. We put our heads down and eat up the intervening four miles, as we entered Strathpeffer we spotted Ruth and Mum waiting with camera poised ready to capture our arrival.
Now for a couple of days rest, back in the village of Gairloch, were we have been greeted by a spectacular sunset. Then, all being well, I will tackle the challenge of the Bealach na Ba, rising from the side of Loch Carron to 626 metres above sea level with 20% gradients. The question – have my legs got it in them? We shall see . . . . . !
Started: 14 Jun 2010 09:49:52
Ride Time: 4:23:58
Stopped Time: 2:30:04
Distance: 48.85 miles
Average: 11.10 miles/hr
Fastest Speed: 30.06 miles/hr
Climb: 1496 feet