Strathpeffer to KIngussy via Aviemore 65 miles
213 miles completed – 800 to go!
Managed with help from hotel to make an earlier start and were cycling through Dingwall towards Inverness (20 miles away) by about 8 30 am. With the promise of an open bike shop the other side, Pete and I ventured up onto the beautiful Inverness Bridge. The warning signs of high winds had made me think my jacket would be a good idea. Pete decided to brave it. I can only say that it was a good job the sides of the bridge were high. It was incredibly difficult to stay upright.
Alpine Bikes proved to be a real treat. A huge bike store with plenty of everything and a brilliant cafe. Jesse pumped up our tyres ( thank you!), we restocked with gels and then warmed up with their great hot chocolate. Their only black mark came when Pete told one of them he was doing our trip with his mother. The lovely Alpine Bikes man said that if he was doing the trip with his Mum he would be on the train by now”. Very rude!
Now for the nightmare. After a scenic trip through the new Invermess Uni campus, we needed to tackle 15 miles of the A9 which, south of Inverness becomes the equivalent of the very dangerous A30 in Cornwall. We had all of about 9″ on the left side of the white line while lorries and German cars thundered past within inches. This would have been ok if this tiny strip of Tarmac had not been punctuated every few feet with either a drain or a cats eye or both – neither of which were negotiable on a racing bike. Our solution was for me to follow Pete even more closely while Pete warned me of the pending obstacles by shouting “drain – cat – drain – drain – cat”. This was more or less successful but it was still a huge relief when at Moy we could come off onto the wonderful General Wade’s military road – completely straight and flat and traffic free.
Shortly after, we met up with two cyclists from Croatia – they had flown to Edinburgh and were touring Scotland and wild camping – it was great to swap stories with them. They took our photo, describing us as a rarity – a Mother and son doing a long distance ride! We also met up with Paulo and his partner from Turkey. They had flown in to Glasgow, were touring the highlands and returning to Edinburgh – camping in camp sites. They were commenting that Scottish hills were very gentle by comparison with those I Tukey!
My cling film had been attracting increasing attention from other cyclists who wanted to know its significance for our cycle trip. The disappointment each time Pete explained his mother needed to wrap her feet in it at night seemed profound. As we rolled into Carrebridge we realised with horror the cling film was missing. After that the priority was to try and find a shop open on a Sunday to buy some more. Not easy in the very picturesque Cairngorms where cling film did not seem to be a priority. Anyway, eventually achieved and we could then focus more on just how pretty the countryside around Aviemore is.
Reached our hotel in Kingussy around 6 pm. A brilliant day’s cycling.
Tip: wifi has been very patchy everywhere we have stayed and so we have had to use Pete’s phone as a hot spot. Essential to have two phones for this sort of trip.