Tain, Altnahara and Betty Hill. June 12 to 14.
We’ve reached the North Coast of Scotland and crossed the 2000km mark. In many ways this is turning out to be the best part of the trip so far. The country north of Inverness is hilly and sparsely settled, mostly tree farms, clearcuts regrowing, or open windswept moors which will be gorgeous when the heather is in bloom. We have ridden for hours along single track roads without passing a house or seening a utility pole or a farm animal. It is open, vast and very pretty.
The weather is mixed. We’ve had a warm sunny day, a cool, windy day with steady light rain, and today, a cool day of sun, rain and headwinds. The weather fits this part of the country. This is the Scotland we were expecting to see: wet, cool, windy, hilly, remote. We are not minding the weather or the hills.
Suddenly we are seeing touring cyclists everywhere. We have now joined the route of the popular End to End ride (from Land’s End in the southwest of England to John O’Groats at the northeast corner of Scotland, a 900 mile ride from the most southerly to the most northerly spots in mainland UK). It is fun to chat with other cyclists.
The North Coast is spectacular: cliffs, sandy beaches and hills to climb. It is a tourist area, busier and more populated than the past three days. We will take a leisurely two days to reach John O’Groats, then take a ferry to the Orkney Islands.