An air of trepidation accompanied the build-up to our 14th leg.
Acutely aware that we had now finished 'the easy bit', and that we would very shortly be plunging into the wild moorlands of the North West Highlands, our usual eagerness to get back into the saddle was tempered by anxieties: were we fit enough to cope with the hills? Did we have enough supplies? Would we be able to fix our bikes if the worst happened while we were stuck in the middle of nowhere? (like it did last time, fortunately right outside a garage in Dornoch...)
Well, we prepared as much as we could manage given the time available (which isn't much when you have an 18-month-old toddler to contend with), and come the day of reckoning we once again boarded the 1200 Highland Chieftain from Kings Cross. A mere eight hours later we arrived in Inverness, checked into our usual B&B, the Ryeford, and headed gratefully to our adopted local, MacNabs at the Columba Hotel. A smartly-dressed woman pored over a sheaf of papers at the next table, which looked far too much like hard work as we sunk a couple of Kronenbourgs and looked forward to the following day with a mixture of keenness and anxiety. The weather forecast wasn't great either.
Following our overnight stop in Inverness, it was up at the crack of dawn to get to the station for 7am, and another four hours on the Far North Line up to Thurso. We had finished the previous leg here in a somewhat sodden state, and were hoping that our second visit might be drier. The signs, at this stage, were distinctly mixed...
Go to Day 1 (Thurso to Melvich)