i hadn’t posted about Tuesday’s Penultimate stage which I had said would be relatively easy and mostly downhill – how wrong I was!
in reality I’d forgotten about a 3 mile climb out of Helmsdale and lots of other little climbs that added up gave me a 70 mile day with the equivalent of a hike up scafell pike thrown in! However the fact that I had the sea to my right virtually all the way with spectacular views made it well worth the effort.
The first memorable stop was at the mound, a causeway that I visited with my parents in the 70’s. It was those holidays that make the North of Scotland my favourite place on earth and somewhere I am irresistibly drawn to return too as often as possible. The mound was also a stopping point on all of my LeJog rides and so holds special memories of the teammates I’ve been here with.
Berriedale Braes were brutal as predicted fast descent and drag up the other side and it does drag on, and on, and on!
Dunbeath was a pussy cat with the momentum going down virtually getting me up the other side!
Oil rigs are visible from the shore, but not the support ships that stand by them permanently. Last week a ship carrying nuclear waste lost power and almost drifted into a drilling rig, the ship towed it away from harm! The crew are on station for a month at a time with little to do for about £1200 a month – hard life especially in storms.
to really enjoy an end to end ride I’d recommend no more than 50 miles a day, so that cyclists can stop off and explore places. Originally I’d planned to go west coast up, but with hindsight I love the NE coast route up, there is so much history and interesting places. look up Navigale or Badbea.
Whilst I have been blessed with backwinds most of the time, do it in Late spring or Summer and enjoy the longer days. With £7000 riding on my shoulders I ve made finishing my priority and the sightseeing can wait till I return with a car and bike on the back!
As light was fading I made it into Wick after just an hour or so of headwind and rain – relieved I’d not given into tiredness and stopped earlier. Those last 20 miles were hard, but to have just 17 to do from Wick on the Wednesday and being able to leave my panniers there made it a no brainer!
Lovely Dinner with Scottish football fans going bonkers in the adjacent bar made it a good albeit noisy end to the day. Will add some video links when I can upload them.