Rosemarkie – Berriedale
3116 calories burnt
3085 ft climbing
I woke at 6:30am this morning – since Gavin bought me silicone earplugs it’s been getting easier to sleep through the night. We usually go to bed around 10:00pm so we get around 7 – 8 hours kip per night. I didn’t realise just how loud it would be sleeping by the coast, plus the difference of a beach being made up of sand or pebbles. Last night we parked at Rosemarkie campsite overlooking Fort George on the shore over the Firth with a loud pebble beach ;-).
Dad and I set off promptly, it was blooming freezing but we managed. We climbed out of Rosemarkie and then coasted down to Cromarty ready to take the ferry across to Nigg. I had originally plotted to go around the Cromarty Firth along to Dingwall and then head back east, but Dad and I had a discussion and it proved the best route to take the ferry as we would be sticking closest to the east coast.
We thought we had missed a ferry as we saw it heading back to Nigg. A chap sat waiting said the tide was too low for it to dock so it was going back to wait. Two times we watched it come over, realise the tide was too low and head back over.
Once over in Nigg, it was still cold but bearable because we were cycling along. We passed a recumbent cyclist, who we think could have been a fellow coastal cyclist as my Dad recognized him from his blog (we will never know!).
The weather started to clear and we got wind from Mum and Harry that they had found a stop in Dornoch for lunch so Dad and I hunkered down and got pedaling.
Before we hit Tarlogie, I realized that we were back on the route we had done for the LEJOG in 2011. I recognized a roundabout where we had all taken a pit stop before negotiating a bridge in torrential weather. This also marked the point where we would be following the A9 and A99 all the way up to John O’Groats.
We crossed the bridge and it was unrecognizable compared to the last time we crossed it. There were no howling gales, horizontal bikes and waterproof coats, instead it was blue skies all the way – we have been so lucky so far.
On reaching Dornoch, Harry had prepared a good old lunch, baps with ham, cheese, and my favourite, chunky branston pickle! Cups of tea and cakes were also in store! It started to rain, so we all had to dash inside and then when we were ready to set off the rain cleared. We still wore waterproof gear because it said it was meant to rain. Five miles down the road it was getting unbearably hot and we were hoping the Motorhome would stop to collect out gear. We got a text saying they were past Golspie and Dunrobin Castle so we dropped them there and had a banana.
We pushed on after the stop along the A9, nothing really to note apart from it being relatively quiet! Dad was getting worried about a long hill out the other side of Helmsdale that he remembered from the LEJOG that apparently went on for miles so we plugged away until just outside Helmsdale. When we got there, we had a gel in preparation for the climb.
The climbing wasn’t that steep, it was just that it went on for an eternity. Whilst climbing I got a text from the Motorhome saying they were 3 miles out of Berriedale, that meant they were only about 5 miles away from us so that made the climb more bearable.
On arrival at the camp stop for the evening, Harry had made CORNED BEEF HASH, one of my cycling trip favourites, with beans and a bottle of red wine to drink – it was heaven, although I think I ate too much.
Another early night tonight, as we’re trying to push for John O’Groats and Dunnet Point (the most Northerly tip of mainland Britain).