From: Ruth Fitch <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 9:44 PM
Subject: Day 16: Slochd to Tain
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Stats: 68.01 miles, odo 1077.9, max speed 30.5, av speed 10.3. Time 6:35:34, total time 9.5 hours.
When I get back and have more time I hope to do a full review of Slochd hostel, because it was really lovely and I can't recommend it highly enough. Left at 7:30 and went past the first distillery of the day at Tomatin ( the 'a' is long as in tomato ( unless you're American of course)). The weather was holding out; it was grey and blustery, but dry. Had a really great start; one of those days where it goes really well and you don't want to stop. Did screech to a halt to see the Clava Neolithic tombs but still managed 12 miles in the first hour and ten more in the second, which is a record. Ill apologise now for the fixation on facts, but sometimes there isn't a lot else to think about!
Came through Culloden (a modern looking little village) into Inverness and thanks again to the excellent bike route markers, made it in and out of the city with little hassle, only stopping for second breakfast on the way. Croissant with jam, a bacon roll and coffee in a cup so large I think you could cheerfully have washed in it.
Also found a shop that did Mountain House trail rations, which should mean - with any luck - that I never have to have another Pasta 'n' Sauce again.
Took the Kessock Bridge out and met another cyclist coming the other way, and was truly amazed when he called me by name - it's the first time I've met a blog follower! So hello Gavin, it was good to see you, and I hope you have a very good journey to Land's End!
After that, the grey weather became a bit more solid and this greatly turned into a not- quite rain, but still quite wet. A mizzle, perhaps.
Bike route 7 had now given way to bike route 1 - the last one for me as it goes to ' The North' as you keep seeing on signposts. To be beyond the Cairngorms and yet to still see that on signposts makes you think they should expand a bit ' The Utter North' perhaps?
Stopped at Dingwall for a bit of shopping and pressed onto Allness, where you can see oil rigs in the Firth, and then to Tain, past the second distillery of the day, Glenmorangie.
Met quite a lot of cyclists going the other way, in particular two Dutch ladies, on heavily laden mountain bikes. We stopped to talk ( remarkable because cyclists don't like to stop and lose momentum) and the reason for all their gear became clear - they are doing the North Sea Route which is apparently 6,000 kms. They wanted a hostel so I gave them a number for one at Evanton, and wished them luck.
As for me, I think I'm nearly there. After discussing the finish date with Andy I've agreed to leave off going for Cape Wrath this time ( fruit for another challenge, possibly) and to finish on Thursday. I'm going to aim for Tongue tomorrow and Thursoe the day after, but it depends on terrain. The going has been a lot gentler recently - or I'm just getting used to it.
Picture was taken from the campsite across Dornoch in a rare moment of sunshine.