Total mileage: 49
Terrain: Pleasant riding with some heavy rain
Not an especially interesting day from a cycling point of view. After the antics of the previous even and all the bloody midges, all three of us were somewhat burdened with bits and itches. We left the campsite and headed north east, along the edge of Loch Ness. The traffic was still not too intense and this allowed us to take in the beautiful views as we continued north.
We reached Drumnadrochit and turned off the A82, on to a lesser B road towards Milton. This is where the real fun started. We took a very minor road due north after Milton, which started with the most severe uphill leg of the entire trip. The insane uphill was 19% at the worst point and no less than 16% for quite a large portion of the long climb. The two cars that passed us were struggling to make it up the steep incline, which gave us little confidence. However, the feeling at the top of the hill was quite euphoric. None of us had been broken by the hill’s gradient, something we managed to maintain all the way to John O’Groats. That said, I think I covered about 1km in 1st gear, spinning the pedals incessantly to make it to the peak.
Back on more level ground, we pushed on to Wester Balblair and then Beauly, where we stopped for lunch. We had intended to enjoy the rare sunny day we had been afforded by the weather. However, before we were even able to read the menu, the skies opened and the rain fell hard. We hauled up inside the cafe for a couple of hours, agonising whether to have a crem tea or not after the large lunch. After waiting in vain for the rain to stop, we conceded that we were going to get wet again and ventured out into the storm.
The roads were flooded before we had even left the town limits and all of us were completely soaked within minutes of saddling up again. To add insult to injury, the heavy rain abated about a quarter of an hour later, just long enough to give us a really good soaking.
We passed through Muir Or Ord and then north west on the A832 towards Wester Mor. Here, we re-joined the main road after a very pleasant country ride as we push on towards Ullapool. The road was bordered by the railway line and Loch Garve soon after. We passed a shop that exclaimed the next food shop was 60 miles away in Ullapool, so we stopped a bought a few provisions.
Once in Garve, we decided to call it a day as there were no other inhabited areas of note for many miles. This turned out to be a great decision as we stayed with a lovely couple in their B&B. The view from my enormous window was of a river, field and mountain. Better than that, no midgets as I could close the window!
We ate supper in the local hotel and then pigged out on some bags of sweets, over a few card games. I think had we started off sooner and not had the deluge, we might have been able to get to Ullapool. That said, we had time on our hands and were in no rush, which allowed us to take our time and really enjoy the last part of our ride.