900 miles by train and 28 miles on the bike.
Eventually felt better following Ride London 100 (acute head-ache and nausea – dehydration?). Strange because gradually felt worse during the 24 hours following the ride – and this despite lovely lunch with Christopher, Pete’s godfather who kindly listened to the ups and downs of the ride and tolerated me not being able to cope with a celebratory glass of wine.
Then having collected our bikes from Cyclopolis (wonderful service from this shop. Both bikes now had new chains, cassettes, cables and, for Pete, a new rear dérailleur), packed and re packed and posted surplus clothing back to Cornwall, Pete and I set off across London to Euston to pick up the Calendonian Sleeper. Once again we chose a ‘safe’ London route using the wonderful app, Cycle Streets – this has now shown me so many parts of London that I would not have seen before – all of them quiet and most of them very pretty. Highly recommended!
Arrived at Euston and onto the sleeper about 10 mins before it left. The train divides at Aberdeen so we had to be in the right part but the bikes were stored well in a roomy van hanging by their front wheels. Supper was haggis, neeps and tatties and then a good night’s sleep in our cabin. When the steward brought our morning tea we were passing through Gleneagles and wonderful Cairngorms scenery.
At Inverness we met a group of End to Enders who had just completed. They had had a great time but many tales of broken wheels and broken ribs (the latter in Cornwall, of course!) They warned us about needing a spare set of cleats. We took good note although Pete has just bought new ones and is careful to put on his cleat covers if he has to walk anywhere.
From Inverness we took the local – twice daily- train to Thurso. Pete and I sat with Tracy who was visiting relatives in the north of Scotland. She gave us good advice about enjoying Scotland. She also said we should be sure to try a vegetarian haggis and Stornaway black pudding.
Highland views great – oil rigs at Invergordon striking. Train manager kindly suggested we sat in first class to recharge our phones – no facility for this of course on the sleeper so almost 20 hours with no charge.
Finally at Thurso and set off for Dunnet Head (Britain’s most Northerly point) in bright sunshine. Roads wonderfully flat, sea azure blue and great views of Orkney – I had no idea it was so close. Beautiful cotton flowers on the moors.
At Dunnet Head some girls kindly took our photo on my I phone and then gave Pete a great big SRL camera for him to repay the favour – I was proud that he did not panic – just took the pics 😊
Having noted that the sheds there were tied down with rope (!) we sat on the grass for a sandwich and immediately Pete was bitten by something that required a liberal application of antiseptic etc. Amazing how often this happens to him.
Then finally back along the coast to John O Groats and the Sea View Hotel where we find we are sharing the facilities with Prince Charles’ security team 😊 Lovely supper with great local potatoes, more haggis and black pudding and the local Rock Rose gin and tonic.