Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Lejog Day 14 Crask Inn-John O'Groats

After a hearty breakfast, we left Crask Inn heading for Bettyhill on the north coast where we would turn right & follow the coast to our ultimate goal of John O'Groats. The 1st 30 miles were excellent, riding around Loch Naver & following the river down to the coast. After the cafe stop at Bettyhill it was up hill straight out of the car park, followed by undulating roads & headwind for the remaining 55 miles. The route took us past the Dounreay nuclear power facility before passing through Thurso where there was a mass conga dance going on with hundreds of people & children in the line which snaked through a pub. Further down the street was the sound of bagpipes as servicemen marched through the town. We ate all the food we were carrying & continued on, arriving at John O'Groats at around 5:30pm with another 85 miles under the belt. We celebrated our acheivement with a bottle of champagne & made our way to the Seaview Hotel for a well earned meal. Mission complete!!! The End.

Lejog Day 13 Inverness-Crask Inn

Today we covered 71 miles. Graham & Issy were joined by Bryce & Alison at the bike shop after Bryce's bike lost drive, turned out a spring clip had broken in the freewheel. We left Inverness over another suspension bridge and followed a very pleasant lane along the Beauly Firth, disappointingly we didn't manage to see any dolphins or seals, which the landlady said were often seen in the area. A lunch stop was had at Dingwall & we where joined by 1000 mile man for our afternoon stop at Bonar Bridge. A long steady climb took us up to an isolated Crask Inn, which was way up on the moors. We had been advised that we would have the use of the cottage for our group, so we were eager to see our new accommodation. It was like a scene out the league of gentleman & we renamed it Royston Vassey. The cottage was a bunkhouse with tired decorations, but the beds were clean & comfy, there was heating & hot running water. The evening meal in the Inn was very good with venison stew, but the drinking water had a hint of brown in it so we were all a bit sceptical about drinking it. Last day tomorrow, John O'Groats here we come!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Lejog Day 12 Grantown On Spey-Inverness

Nice short day today at 43 miles, great scenery with no major climbs. After 10 miles we were riding around Lochindorb with a ruined castle in the middle of the loch. We had a lunch stop at Dulsie bridge over the river Findhorn. Then it was quiet back lanes down into Inverness. Graham & Issy's tandam had a snapped spoke in the rear wheel so a bike shop will be required 1st thing tomorrow. Just oustside Grantown On Spey we passed a guy who was also doing Lejog, on his own & was camping each night. He started a couple of weeks before us & later in the day he caught up with us just as he clocked his 1000 miles, so we stopped & congratulated him. We arrived at the B&B at around 4:30pm so we had chance to relax for a couple of hours before finding somewhere to eat. Just as we were walking into Inverness it began to rain & so we got wet again. After trying several resturants on the riverside, which were very busy, we ended up in a Witherspoons for our evening meal. Initial service was very quick but due to a mix up in the kitchen & several complaints Rob & Debs got their main course after an hour!! To round off the day we went to a bar called "Hootanany" were live Scotish folk music was played which we all enjoyed but none more than Issy who was up on the dance floor.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Lejog Day 11 Bankfoot-Grantown On Spey

That was the hardest days cycling we have ever done. 92 Miles in total & 2017M of climbing! The weather was kind at the start at 8:30am but after only a couple of miles, Steve ran over a stone causing a rear wheel puncture which required a new tyre when we reached Blairgowrie. Wind & rain met us at the top of Glenshee.  After climbing up the Glenshee for several miles we looked forward to the long decent into Braemar but it wasn't to be and we only managed 14MPH down the other side pedalling as hard as we could due to the very strong headwind. We also passed Balmoral but no sign of any Royals. Next came the climb of the Lecht, it blew everyones minds on the approach, rearing up around a bend, at what seemed as steep as the 1in3 climbs in Cornwall, then continued on for another half a mile. We thought the hills were over after that, but how wrong we were! Another 3 steep climbs had to be conquered before reaching Grantown On Spey at around 8:00pm. A well earned short run awaits tomorrow arriving in Inverness.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Lejog Day 10 Edinburgh-Bankfoot

Now we know how scotish 80's band Wet Wet Wet got inspiration for their name, it's been heavy rain ALL day! everyone absolutely drenched. We found a small village shop in Dunning that did hot drinks as we were all frozen coming down a long decent. Roads were flooded & we were riding through water almost upto the hubs. Earlier in Edinburgh, Mick got a new chainring fitted on his bike & Rob had Dorris' cones tightened. After dodging traffic in Edinburgh we left over the Forth road bridge. The route was relatively flat & the Bankfoot Inn was a very welcolme sight.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Lejog Day 9 Langholm-Edinburgh

72 miles completed today with 1129M of climbing. A brilliant days riding in sunshine today. Stunning views of hills & valleys with very little traffic. 1st tea stop, at 15 miles, was at a Tibetan monastory with a large statue of Budah & a typical temple with gold & red painting. Climbs were very different to yesterday, being much longer but at a more gradual gradient making them more manageable. 2nd stop was at 49 miles in Peebles where we found a bike shop for some odds & ends. Arrived at hotel relatively early at around 5:30pm. Luckily there's a bike shop only a few hundred yards from the hotel so 1st thing tomorrow Mick will be having a new chainring & chain fitted. Debs has been back to hospital to see a doctor who says, physically she is very fit, no evidence of any chest infection any more so she's off the anti-biotics, but hay fever may be restricting her beathing which she is taking tablets for anyway.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Lejog Day 8 Kirkby Lonsdale-Langholm

We've made it to Scotland!! Only 6 days riding left to the finish. Today was a testing day to say the least. 2 DT (Dawn Turner) rides back to back, double ouch!! Today we covered 83 miles. Starting in the rain wasn't much fun but after a couple of hours it stopped & we dried out. 1st tea stop was at the chocolate factory in Orton, a chocoholic's dream. The roads were up & down all day with very little flat, which is very tiring & so it was a late arrival at the B&B of around 7:15pm. The landlord & landlady told us most resturants close around 8:00pm so they rang a resturant just down the road who agreed to extend the closing time for us. No mechanicals today but Micks chain & chainset are wearing out fast which keep dropping from middle to small ring under pressure. Several of us are suffering the inevitable saddle problems. Debs has rode very strongly today, the tablets are doing the trick.