Monday 17th May
North Kessock Inverness to Tain 45 miles
Colin had repaired Graemeís wheel but it was decided to buy a couple more tubes so Graeme drove down to Halfords in Inverness for 8am opening. Colin and myself started breakfast, Graeme landed back around 8:20am we finished off breakfast and then it was time to get the show on the road. I had been up since 7am and had kitted my bike up in brilliant sunshine, 8:45am the weather changed and guess what right on shedule we were ready to roll at 9:15am, when the heavens opened torrential rain, we decided to delay the start and took shelter in Gavinís plastic tunnel.
We waited for 10 minutes but we needed to get started, the rain eased off a little so I rolled down the lane and waited for Colin and Graeme, but no sign of them. I waited in the drizzle still no sign. So I went back up the lane to see what they were doing.
I found them both pushing Gavinís car down the lane, with Gavin behind the wheel, his car wouldnít start so he had them pushing him to no avail. Eventually we left him to his own devices and at last we started to roll 2 miles downhill to the Moray Firth a photo of the bridge in the gloom and rain then we started the last leg of the epic Landís end to JOG.
It kept raining and was slowly getting heavier and heavier as we cycled through the rolling and sometimes hilly countryside of the Black Isle, about 3 miles into the journey I asked Colin if heíd packed his insect repellent, oh yes he replied plus a hand warmer? This caused great hilarity with Graeme and we were looking forward to the wilds of the north so we could all warm up our pies on Colinís hand warmer.
Despite the rain, spirits were high the Black Isle is very pretty and quiet, all we came across were women walking dogs.
We descended towards Conan bridge stopped at the Bridge for a photo opportunity then back across onto the mainland, a pleasant scene with a man fly fishing as we crossed and the weather trying to improve as we rode into Dingwall. The home of the most Northerly full time professional Football Club in the UK Ross County.
It was lunchtime so we had a look in the Tourist Information which was very sparse on information but the elderly lady and gent were looking for a chat. Then up and down the High Street not very exciting but we found a great cafť that served great food, massive sandwiches and cheap too. Graeme nearly left some food on his plate now thatís a rare sight.
Iím pleased we stoked up because"bang" the climb out of Dingwall was tough very tough and went on and on the first real hard and long climb of the ride we all have our different methods of climbing, Graeme grinds on Colin attacks it and I sit back and relax and select what has now been christened "granny gear" and climb steadily. We all get there eventually.
Top of Dingwall
Once we had climbed and crested the hill we could look down on the Cromarty Firth and the Oil Rigs sitting in the inlet. The road was then slightly downhill and undulating, pleasant cycling to Alness, via Evanton, a small village with a strange statue on top of the hill which caught our attention it was also on the village sign, but gave no information on the monument. Since returning home and making internet research we discovered that it is the Fryish monument, built by some local dignitary called Fryish it resembles some Indian Temple gates. We also had to cycle around some locals standing chatting in the centre of the road. To Alness a town I have always wanted visit I was aware it was Britain in Bloom winner several times. I know we arrived at a bad time for flowers but I was a little disappointed. Hopefully no judges were coming that day especially with the dead flowers hanging all around in the tubs!
After a comfort break in Alness and fighting with the traffic it was a steady ride with the Sun on our backs, the wind too and a flat road. All the way to Tain and Heatherdale Guest and Alice Fraser and Scottish too a rare thing North of Glasgow, a very pleasant lady.
Nice room very comfortable.
Showered changed and out for a night on the town. The St Duthus Hotel, great beer Ember very friendly landlady and staff and a great meal.
After dinner we had a walk on the sea front and then back to the St Duthus for a night cap.
All in all a good night.
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