Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Day 13 penny farthing lejog

The bad and changeable weather of the last few days now seemed to be behind us and we woke up to a glorious morning.
The breakfast at the clan macduff was excellent, we started with porridge, moved on to a full cooked breakfast including haggis and finished with toast and jam. With plenty of energy on board we set out for another long day.

As we cycled through Fort William we called in at the train station. We were having a few problems finding a rental van to get home so we thought the train might be an option. When I asked the question at the station the guy on the ticket desk said we could travel back by train no problem, but they couldn't guarantee to have space to transport our bikes. He also had serious doubts about even getting my penny farthing on one of the smaller trains that run out of Wick. So we left and rode on, still uncertain how we were going to return home.

Just outside Fort William is a wonderful memorial to the commandos who lost their lives in the second world war. We were lucky to have great weather for a photo, the setting in the mountains is breathtaking.

If you ever get the chance to go and take in the view yourself you should. This part of Scotland is so beautiful.

We moved on from the memorial and carried on heading north, getting ever closer to our goal. It was looking like we would reach John O'Groats on day 15, we were both confident of this so as we cycled on we chatted about how we were going to celebrate once we got there.

Having done the end to end once before we were both well aware that John O'Groats isn't exactly party capital of the world, so our plans were not that grand. Ideally we wanted to find accommodation in John O'Groats so that we didn't have to turn around and cycle straight off again. We decided that as long as we had a bed, a bar that served alcohol and some food then that would do for us. Our plan was to get on line tonight and try to book something, as well as try to plan a way home. 

Today's cycling was not too strenuous, the roads were undulating but without too many big hills. The road we followed from Fort William towards Inverness never strayed far from the side of one Loch or another. We kept a lookout for the Loch Ness monster but today Nessie was being shy.

Unfortunately we were getting a bit pushed for time when we cycled past the various Loch Ness museums and we didn't have time to call in.

After following the Lochs for much of the day we turned away from Loch Ness and we were immediately greeted by a monster! A monster of a hill that is, one of the worst of the whole journey! I had no option but to get off and push and Mickey decided to take the same action. Although Mickey's bike was lightweight his luggage was not and after almost two weeks of dragging our belongings with him this hill got the better of him. For me it was nice to have some company on the long slow walk.

Soon after we creasted the hill we started looked for somewhere to stay. Tonight our requirements were much the same as every other night but we also were looking for Wi-Fi. We need to look for accommodation at John O'Groats and hopefully book this in advance as we really wanted to finish our cycling as soon as we got to the famous sign post. We also still had to organise transport home.

The Lovat arms provided everything we needed, and was exceptionally good value too. We ate at the hotel and drank a few pints of beer as we searched the net. The search for accommodation at John O'Groats was successful, a guest house that had a twitter page had frequently been favouriting my tweets so I sent them a hopeful tweet. Almost immediately they got back to me and insisted we stay with them!

The best we could come up with for transport home was to hire a car one way from Wick airport, then buy a bike rack from Argos in Wick and hope for the best that we could somehow mount my penny farthing to the rack for the 750 mile drive back home. We booked a hire car and reserved two bike racks at Argos. We figured that once we'd finished the ride we would get a taxi back to Wick to pick up the car then drive to argos and buy the cheap bike rack, put it together in the car park, if it looked good then we'd not bother with the other one, drive back to the b&b, load the bikes up and head home.

The journey was almost over and my body was certainly ready for a rest!

No comments: