Day’s Km 216. Total Km 216.
So today it all became a reality. After a fair few inaugural whiskeys in the tiny village of Mey last night, port for Bruce as I’m still trying to ween him onto the good stuff, we made the short ride through to John O’Groats this morning. Our last little trip North as its all South from here, or close enough anyway.
Before I say too much about today however I would just like to mention a little about yesterday’s ride up to Mey as it was somewhat incredible. We left Loch Ness yesterday morning in a drizzly haze that really didn’t promise much, within no time at all the cold was clawing its way through the layers and the outlook for the days ride was not high, We found ourselves just wanting to get up to Mey and be done with it. But then at the little town of Tain that all changed. An impulse decision to the leave the A roads behind and venture off into the unkown highlands saw as leaving the incessant drizzle behind for a smattering of clouds and even a ray of sunshine or two. It’s hard to describe rural northern Scotland but in a word I’d have to say Raw. There’s no trees, no defence against the elements, the wind comes howling down the hills and not much survives. But at the same time there’s a beauty to it, In the rugged hills, in the wild scrub and in man’s tenacity to fight the elements. To build the resilient stone houses, pastures and bridges in a land that will never truly be tamed. It was quite humbling to ride through such terrain and realise the power of nature the brave, hardy souls that persevere through it all.
So on to today. On arrival at John O’Groats low and behold the sun decided to show itself in all its glory, who would have thought that it would be at Scotland’s Northern tip that the sun would truly come out and play. But play it did and we managed to spend a good hour or so wandering around, taking photos, visiting the sole curio and coffee shop and just generally procrastinating actually getting underway. I think it was finally hitting both of us the scope of the ordeal we’re actually about to undertake. Suffice it to say the only real solution was to jump on the bikes and get going, so after one last coffee, a stroll down to the sea and one last photo we mustered the courage to climb on the bikes and really, truly begin this journey in earnest.
We were greeted with some lovely coastal roads straight off the bat and pretty soon we were both bobbing our heads along to some great beats with monstrous grins on our faces, we were off and the roads and weather could not be better! It was a pretty easy day of riding all things considered and before we knew it we were back on the mystical shores of Loch Ness in the quaint village of Dores at a wonderful B&B within easy strolling distance of the local pub and some delicious food. All in all, a rather successful first day. The slideshow below has some of the days highlights.
On a fun little side note. Came across this little guy whilst procrastinating in John O’Groats Curio store. He’s a Highland sheep designed in Scotland who Ironically was made in Thailand. He has fondly been named Scotty and all of a sudden the trip has taken on a whole new dimension. It has now become an epic story of Scotty’s return from cold Northern Scotland to Thailand. A brave story about a sheep that left it all behind in search of his roots.