Day 11 | 4th July

Day 11

Morning! Fully recharged, I’m leaving Cairngorms behind me, now chasing the sun down the hill..

Leaving Cairngorns

Leaving Dalwhinnie and Cairngorms behind

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Well the landscape has yet again deceiving, yet this time a welcome effect. Completely opposite to yesterdays experience, my eyes are looking at a road that seems to be climbing up, but for the next couple of hours the top gear is engaged most of the time, as I fly 25 miles down the road. “This is too easy!” I think to myself..

Spoke too soon though, – soon after passing Aviemore another, 170m over 15miles climb to 400 meters awaits me. Not that big of a deal in itself, but my worst enemy meets me half way up this ascent – massive headwind. The first time I have come across this bugger was in Scottish uplands during my 110 mile Glasgow – Edinburgh challenge last year. The hills of all sorts shapes and gradients I can deal with, but the headwind is the most challenging force of nature. It drains me physically and emotionally like nothing else, – you can pedal as fast or as slow, as hard or as gentle as you want – but it just feels like you’re going backwards.

None the less I go all primal and shout “Is that all you’ve got!?”, so it gives me more.. So be it. Taking lots of cycling baby steps, I plough through the wind and get to the second highest summit of Cairngorms, – the Slochd.

Slochd Summit

It’s all downhill from here.. till Inverness at least

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After a brief sandwich stop at Tomatin, I’m now back on the road and the hard climbing work is paying off again. I glide down to the northern capital of Inverness. There I stop at a caffe on the bank of River Ness, where I’m served a damn good cup of tea and a massive scone with cream and jam, whilst I’m planning what to do next.

Inverness

Inverness on a sunny day, – not sure if I’ve seen that before

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I make a plan to meet a great scott tomorrow in Tain, so decide to push a bit further on, to Dingwall.

Near Conon Bridge

Checking out a mountain range behind Conon Bridge

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Soon after I roll into Dingwall itself, and setup in the nearest campsite.

Dingwall Pitch

Could always nick that motorbike during the night, but I’m too close to Dunnet now

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I take a look at the map. Extremely satisfying to see the Dunnet Head at the top.

Which way next?

Which way do I finish this? Many options, only one bear

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Nighty night..

Next Day..

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