End to End Day Three – More A9; Dornac Firth; another Mother and Son; Tain Pottery; Matthew; Oil Rigs; Ron and Elsa; Highland Games and Bagpipes

Golspie to Strathpeffer 47 miles A late start – Pete and I struggling to take the idea of an early start seriously. Set off down the A9 again – traffic very fast and road narrow. Had to focus hard on staying just one metre behind Pete or dropping right back to allow cars to slot in between us. Realised the disadvantage of the drafting is that you can’t see the pot holes coming. Unfortunately for cyclists potholes spell punctures. Passed Dornac – their highland games were yesterday – and then started across the extremely long Firth of Dornac bridge.   The other side of the bridge, Sustrans Route 1 joined the A9 and it became a bit more friendly with a white stripe that we could ride the other side of. We also moved into our third county of Ross and Cromarty. Finally arrived in Tain. A quick visit to the Glenmorangie Distillery and then bumped into Matthew – also doing the End to End and about as slowly as us! Matthew was travelling with his camping gear so that he could choose where to stop at night but midges were proving a bit of problem and he had some lovely stories to tell. Also in Tain we met a mother and son cycling together – not End to Enders but cycling the Moray Firth Route.  We took far too long over lunch and all this chatting and then delayed further by popping in to a local pottery. Finally set off again and thankfully 6 miles later turned off the A9. Thereafter we were using much kinder roads with beautiful views of Cromarty Firth. Just before Inver Gordon we stopped to photograph the very striking oil rigs and had a chat with Ron and Elsa who lived there. They were cyclists and told us how they had chosen their own cyclo cross bicycles and how Ron had completed the AUK Super Randonneur Challenge in his first year of cycling! They also very kindly let me use their loo. Pete and I picked up some sandwiches in Inver Gordon in case we could not find any shops open on Sunday and then set off with more determination for Strathpeffer.  Ron and Elsa passed us twice with their car and gave us toots of encouragement which we really appreciated. Finally arrived in Strapeffer where we were led deftly by Pete and his Garmin to the wrong hotel.  Once we had relocated to the correct one we settled down to an evening of live bag pipe music ( today had been the local Highland games) and Pete mulling over the day’s new midge bites. A friendly  welcome again and we did not let the lack of a wash basin plug or water stop us washing our clothes and did them in the shower instead 😊 Tomorrow we need to up our game for the 60 miles we have to cover and so we are going to try to leave by 8 am.

D3

                      


  
  

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