There were times in the last few days (really ever since Mark hit rock bottom en route to Glasgow) that we have wondered if we would make it this far. But, we are here and have had enough time to cross the Causeway, walk (briefly) on a peat moor, enjoy delicious food, and sleep well in The Bothy in Tongue.
Mark will be the first to admit that this whole expereince has made his 40th birthday really special, even if Boo has referred to him as an old man more often than he would like!
Before leaving our hostel in Invergarry Boo began her Nessi hunt with this sighting of the rare beastie
She went on to hunt along Loch Ness but could only find this Nessie when we took a small detour to the Nessie Experience
When riding up the road to Spean Bridge and Invergarry leaves you hot and tired it is a bit of a shock to see how much snow there still is on Ben Nevis.
But at least the Tablet ice-cream in Fort Augustus was delicious and cooling.
Once the tandem riding duo had left the sunshine of Fort Augustus, and the protection of the canal cycle path, they had a tougher than anticipated ride along Loch Ness. All joking about Nessie hunting aside, we were surprised at how rocky the Loch Ness shores are, and at how high above the Loch the road wound its way to Inverness.
Talking of Inverness, it was here that the urban navigation gremlin struck again, but my detour was worthwhile for this view of the castle.
Night was drawing in, although we have noticed that the nights are much lighter longer the further north we travel, as we caught our first glimpse of the Black Isle.
We had to draw our ride to an early close, within 20 miles of our planned finish, and then had the long drive to Rogart for our stay in a railway carriage. If you have the opportunity to travel this way then we would recommend a visit to Sleeperzz in Rogart. Boo loved cooking, eating and sleeping in an old railway carriage (although we grew a little tired of her comments about our age when we reminisced about some of the carriage features – we shouldn’t really be surprised considering her only experience of trains with compartments is Alfred Hitchcock black and white films).
Rogart station itself is home to a geocache, making this the quickest journey to a cache for the whole of our LEJOG ride, and is also home to a fascinating collection of railway and cycling paraphernalia which amused Boo for far too long this morning.
Our penultimate day started well with us reaching Lairg in time for a Hobbity second breakfast/lunch of bacon buttie (Boo) and Scotch Pie (a real favourite of Mark’s especially as this one had some haggis in) but then, as we started to head uphill on the single track road the weather blew in with thunder and icy rain coming in from the west. We hunkered down and did our best but this section was a real battle for our tired limbs.
The sun came out in time for Boo to spot this herd of red deer and us to have a roadside lunch break at Altnaharra, about midway along the single track road.
The final miles of the ride were along Loch Loyal and then Loch Craggy with a fabulous backdrop, that we were not really in the right state to appreciate.
For a comparatively short ride it was exhausting, mainly due to the period of icy wind and rain and the winding nature of the terrain so it is no surprise that we needed a hug when we reached Tongue.
I find it interesting to see the body language of the Double Trouble duo; Mark is clearly too tired to hold himself up so is using the sign as a prop and Boo is too excited at reaching 67 miles to John O’Groats that she hasn’t started to think about what those miles will feel like in the morning.
Thank you for all your support so far. We are within £500 of reaching our target of £2,000 for each charity. Do please keep spreading the word of our ride and supporting us by donating to Cancer Research or Zoe’s Place and by sending us messages of support. It all makes a huge difference to us when we are pushing through our personal pain barriers. Thank you.