Saturday, 9 June 2012

John O'Groats here we come!

Day 9 saw a very cold start in Roy Bridge with a hard frost on the ground and both of our support vehicles frozen up early in the morning. Without a cloud in the sky the temperature soon warmed up once the sun had risen so slippery roads where not a worry for us cycling.

We stopped briefly, after a couple of miles, to take in the stunning views of Ben Nevis at the Commando memorial before getting on with the day properly.

The trip up to Invershin near Bonar Bridge was another scenic day in the Highlands. After a break for refreshments at Fort Augustus the decision was made for half of the team to go to the east of Loch Ness and half to take the west side. Both routes had their benefits.........

Daz - on the descent after Loch Tarff
Jonny followed by Shelagh
Daz taking in the stunning view

You would think that the flatish route to the west of Loch Ness would be the quicker journey as you can keep up a good overall speed. Those of us going up the east side had a pretty big big climb to make before a long descent to Inverness so this side was probably going to be a bit longer. No monstors were spotted in the Loch but spookily both teams managed to meet up at a roundabout in the middle of Inverness, so both routes turned out the same.

Lunch stop - Kessock Bridge, Inverness

After refuelling it was back on to the busy A9 for a short stretch. As we were about to cross the Cromarty Firth we had the first road sign counting us down to John O'Groats.

A few miles later we left the busy A9 and headed north on the B9176 through spectacular scenery and yet another amazing descent into Bonar Bridge. Arriving at Invershin in good time gave us the chance to relax before dinner.  Sunny from The Invershin Hotel and our mascot Mabel kept an eye on the bikes for us:)

So our final day had arrived and yet again we had perfect weather. As you can see traffic free open roads were a joy......

Whether it was the last day or the great weather or a bit of both but our pace slowed a little and it was a perfect end to our 10 day ride. First coffee stop was around 30 miles at the Altnahara Hotel.

Allister and Ashley enjoying the Highland sun!

 Whilst having coffee we met two other cyclists there planning a ride in the area later in the year. They explained to us the history of the area, especially the clearances around Loch Naver which we were just about to cycle past.

Loch Naver - Strathnaver
The sea was finally spotted at about the 50 mile point which meant all that was left was to cycle across the North coast to our destination - John O'Groats. Be aware if you are coming this way the road is very rolling with fast descents and long, not too steep, climbs.

Whilst John O'Groats is known as the farthest inhabited point from Land's End the actual farthest point by road is Duncansby Head so to cover all bases we went to both!

Thankfully the two points are quite close together so a few minutes later just before sunset we finally made it to the end.....

After many photos and a few champagne corks being popped it was a dash back to Thurso followed by a quick shower and change before the pub closed. Beaming smiles were all around as we were so proud of ourselves and each other for making this amazing journey for a great cause.

By the end of June we should have a final fund raising total, so keep an eye out for our final blog entry then!

1 comment:

  1. May the Angels always watch over you,, and I thank you all for an exciting story. Your country is a better place because of you,for now & always.
    From a yank who knows U all Rock,, & yes Daz is still my hero,,