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Land's End to John O'Groats Day 13 - Inverness to The Crask 68 miles (906 miles done, 82 miles to go)

The day started in my fourth hostel of the tour, and in this one, I appear to have appeased the good luck fairy. There were only two of us in the room, and although the bathroom was around the other side of the building, and smelled like something had died in it, I actually had a good nights sleep, and allowed the legs some proper recovery time, something sorely needed after the two ski stations in two days we had done before.

The cycling itself was very much a day of 2 distinct sections. Before lunch, we were treated to more of Scotland's fine views. Coming out of Inverness, every time we went round a corner, or out of a tree lined road, the was a new view to ooh and ah at. If I stopped to take a photo at every opportunity, I would still be there now, so I did the next best thing, promised myself that I would come back here one day to look at it all again. I have a good friend who also loves the area so hopefully she won't take too much convincing to spend a long weekend away bumbling around the area.

After lunch, we lost the views, as we went into a bit of country lane type roads, before coming across some very pretty waterfalls where salmon leap upstream. At least, I am told this was the case, as I didn't see them myself. The path to the river and waterfall went down some stairs, and at this stage of the tour, my legs have issued me with an ultimatum - we'll get you to John O'Groats under one condition, no unnecessary stairs! I'm rather thankful my room is on the ground floor of the B&B I am in tonight!

We then went into the wilderness. Bleak, inhospitable moorland as far as the eye could see in every direction. There is apparently one road that goes north from where we were, so we took it. It's covered in Scotland's favourite road surface - vibramac - and does the other thing that I have come to love and adore, goes uphill. Now, it's not steep, that's the one thing it isn't. However, remember when I said "as far as the eye could see"? Well, that's true about the road too. It goes on, as far as the eye can see, and then on some more, and just when you think it can't go on any longer, on it goes again.

I'd like to say we cycled through a few villages, and that the scenery changed for the last 12 miles of the day, but that would be a lie. There were no villages, the scenery remained exactly the same, and the road kept going slowly but surely up. Oh, and the wind started blowing from north to south, I've right into our faces. Not a strong wind, but just enough to make it even more difficult than it already was to move forwards. Finally, we saw a building. And then another. We had reached Crask, our destination for the night. We looked around for the other buildings to make sure we hadn't mistaken the village of Crask for a farmhouse or something, but we hadn't. There were only two buildings. Seriously, just two buildings in the whole place. Google it! They are both also up for sale apparently, so you could conceivably buy both and become de facto Laird of Crask!

So, tonight I am actually back in Lairg, a bit south of Crask. We wouldn't all fit in the two buildings! And, I've been in my first powered vehicle since the ferry at Plymouth almost two weeks ago. It was a little weird, I forgot for a moment I didn't need to where my bicycle helmet!

Tomorrow is day 14. Our last day in the saddle. The culmination of a journey that began in earnest two weeks ago when I opened my front door to my mate Lee and his son who took me and my things to Bristol Parkway station to get a train to Penzance. I'd like to say I've had some massive life altering epiphany along the way, but I really haven't. I've perhaps proved to myself that I have a lot of endurance fitness, and that I'm probably past staying in youth hostels now, but overall, I've simply woken up each morning, eaten breakfast, cycled for 7-8 hours, made some new friends, and then gone to bed each evening! Sounds really dull when you put it that way, but trust me, dull is the last thing it's been!

Right, I'll leave further reflections for tomorrow, and try to fight the wifi to let me stay on long enough to post this!

Less than 100 miles to go!

Still not in John O'Groats yet


April 2017

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