No sooner had we gotten into Inverness proper than we had to stop again. We passed by Velocity cycle cafe and felt we just had to go in for a coffee! They were really friendly in there and we discussed our tour and the dreaded midges that we were sure to encounter. It was worth the stop but it was nearly 7pm by the time we were actually rolling out of Inverness and across the Kessock Bridge.
We cycled through the Black Isle and then up through Dingwall, which was full of rude drivers. A long, gradual downhill then took us to Evanton where we stopped at the Co-op for a snack to fuel us on for a few more hours. We all craved sugar but made the rookie error of stuffing our faces with sweet treats -- as soon as we were on the bikes again we all started to regret it and it was a bit of a struggle to keep our stomachs under control.
|Ill-advised wild camp spot|
There were a few midgies left the next morning so we boiled some water for coffee and tea, headnets still on, and then packed up and got out of there as quickly as possible. We were headed for a trail that Alberto had spotted on google maps before the trip, which would take us to Croick.
|On the trail to Croick|
|Climbing over the boulders blocking the path|
The rain had mainly cleared up and we headed back onto a trail after Croick, another 20km or so leading to Oykel Bridge on the A837. This one hadn't been planned ahead of time but we could see the trail on our GPS and it would save us quite a few kilometers, so we decided to give it a go.
The trail conditions were not as good as the morning's ride, with more loose rocks and other obstacles, but again the views were spectacular. Still, I was really ready for tarmac after a few hours on those trails.
|More trails on the way to Oykel Bridge|
Walking into the motel bar we were made fun of by the other patrons -- they suggested we save up and buy a car! The owners were friendly and made the soup especially for us. They also told us about their bunkhouse and offered us a special price on it, seeing as it was quite late in the evening and no one had booked in yet. After a bit of deliberation we decided it was worth it--it was still very windy and rainy outside and besides, the next day was my birthday!
As if the prospect of a warm shower and a dry bed wasn't good enough, the owners gave us some fresh trouts, literally caught in the loch that day, that we could cook in the bunkhouse! I'm not big into fish but Alberto and Mateo were thrilled beyond belief. We enjoyed the relative luxury of the bunkhouse and drifted to sleep with the wind still howling outside.
|Fresh trout from the loch!|
|All bundled up!|
|A rare moment of dryness|
|Durness wild camp spot|
|The beach near our campsite|
(to be continued!)