John O Groats to Lybster (30 miles)
Our plan is to start this journey with very low mileage to try to ensure my legs keep working.
After breakfast with one of HRH’s security team and a lovely chat with Elsa and Tore from Norway (Tore actually recognised the name of my bike, Moser, as relating to Francesco Moser – saying that Moser used to partner a famous Norwegian cyclist in the 70s) we tootled down to the JOG harbour only to find that the traditional signpost was missing its arms and a sign saying that it was both closed and for sale! (See pic below).
There was, however, a temporary substitute signpost and while someone kindly took our pic Pete chatted to the cyclists we had met on the train and who had started their ride from Wick. They were already frozen and wet and wondering if they could buy warmer jackets!
Pete and I set off in rain but warm in our jackets and arm warmers. It was actually lovely cycling – very very gentle rolling hills with wonderful skies and views of the sea for most of the trip.
Had to stop when Pete lost a piece of card. He got off his bike and ran back to pick it up. Must have taken all of 8 seconds but came back with his legs covered in insect bites. As he returned we were also attacked by a swarm of midges. Will apply midge repellant liberally tomorrow before we set off. You are not meant to get them in the east much but unusually it is currently warmer in the east than the west and hence the midges.
Lunch in Wick (formerly herring capital of the world) and then we were cycling in sunshine again. Just before Lybster we passed another of the very beautiful Commonwealth War Cemeteries – the graves marked with tall columns with urns on top – looking out to sea.
Our B and B for the night was the very striking The Antlers overlooking thousands of miles of deep blue sea. Here Sandra and Sandy welcomed us with tea and cookies, topped up our shop bought supper with more tea and cookies and made time in the evening to tell us about their lives and Caithness. They are farmers but have supplemented their income with producing Caithness cheese, Caithness tartan socks (worn by celebrities and royalty alike) and beautiful sheepskins as well as this very comfortable B and B service.
Our bicycles stored safely in the utility room, Pete and I finally got to bed and slept soundly.