The penultimate day hopefully and we faced a 97 mile ride from the Atlantic coast of Scotland to the North Sea coast and a place called Tain.
We started off in sunny weather heading towards Ben Nevis. The initial few miles were reasonably flat but we were soon climbing again and Graham J had to face more uncomfortable sections of road alongside steep drops. Soon we were alongside Loch Lochy (see below) which was beautiful in the sun and we felt compelled to have bacon sandwiches beside the loch from a snack wagon. We pushed on to Loch Ness expecting this to be something very special, but maybe we have seen too many Lochs and boats, because it did not seem that special and the road was not directly alongside the Loch either so most of the time we could only see the water through the trees. We also had to climb numerous times and then drop again which we were not expecting.
We finally reached Drumnadrochit, where we met our support crew for lunch. Both Grahams had found the morning ride hard, especially hard and Graham J realised he was dehydrated as it had been warmer in the morning than previous days, so he drank a litre and a half of fluid with his lunch. This made a huge difference in the afternoon, as he felt much better but had to keep stopping for the loo.
2 miles after lunch we saw a sign saying 15% hill for three quarters of a mile. It was not wrong and this was a major challenge which we all failed and ended up either stopping or walking at some point. Once we got up the hill, the scenery was fantastic and the decent even better, even Graham J agreed as he reached 44 mph and Shane went over 45 at which point his speedo gave him an error message.
We made a stop for tea in a very posh tea shop in Beauly and took on board more calories to keep us going as we still had over 30 miles to go. Shortly after this we think we saw our first Scottish eagle, which was an amazing sight.
The rest of the afternoon ride was reasonably flat and lacking in interest. We eventually reached the B&B in Tain at 7-40 after another 11 hours on the road.
Tomorrow is our last day and we hope to make John O’Groats if we can get Graham J over high section in the morning. The owner of the B&B has been telling Graham about how bad this section is and he is now dreading it. Let’s hope it is not as bad as he thinks or he may not make it.