day 12

Saturday 29th June 2013

This was one of those days that I thought would be fairly short, so I didn't hurry, but ended up going further than planned. First stop was the Clava Cairns; bronze age burial chambers.

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Clava Cairns.

Second stop: a great cafe/bike workshop in Inverness. Amazing cake and venue, I could have stayed here all day.

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Today was the end of route 7 and the start of route 1, which goes all the way up to John o'Groats. There were some route diversions on the outskirts of Inverness so it took quite a while to make much progress.

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The Kessock Bridge.

There were quite a few kites around here, and I also saw a (wild) black rabbit. I continued to Dingwall and then along the north side of the Cromarty firth. The route divides here and the alternative option is to go through the Black Isle to Cromarty and take a ferry to Nigg. My first potential campsite was at Evanton but it was still early, so I decided to go on to Tain which was the next one on the map. I lost the route temporarily in Alness, and while trying to work out where I was I met an old chap walking his dog who stopped for a chat (not the dog, although he did stop too). He used to drive lorries down to the midlands, taking tractors to Tile Hill and potatoes to the Bull Ring market. He said his last trip was in 1966, so I told him that the Bull Ring is a bit different these days.


The Cromarty firth.

Tain seemed to be holding a schools' pipe band competition and was fairly busy, but the campsite was a bit out of town so quiet in terms of people and pipes. It was a bit midgy but happily there was a pub next door which did some nice food so I was able to take refuge there.

The only other tent belonged to another cycle camper who I ended up having dinner with. He was a photography lecturer in Glasgow but only worked during term time, so went cycling at the start of the summer every year so as not to hang around making a nuisance of himself at home. What with bikes, camping and photography we had quite a lot to talk about. He had taken a train to Wick, cycled up to John o'Groats and was on his way back to Glasgow. He'd come all the way from Bettyhill today and had intended stopping earlier at a hotel which had turned out to be closed. I thought "bloody hell, that's a long way" but ended up doing the same the next day. It was.

54 miles - View route - Download .gpx