Boo started the last day as she meant to go on….full of the joys of spring (and playing with the children at The Bothy where we stayed in Tongue).
Her energy was infectious and, after a delicious cooked breakfast, we began our final 67 miles.
Once more the scenery was incredible, and we were blessed with sunshine and a tailwind for much of the ride. One glance back at the Causeway across the Kyle of Tongue and then on to the long winding coast road north east.
None of the hills were as bad as those we had faced earlier in the ride, but the accumulated mileage did make a couple of them feel hard going such as this one through the peat moorland at Bogie Glen.
Amongst the road hazards were chickens, cows, other car users, and sheep and lambs. Oh and for the first 30 miles we played tig with a pair of cyclists who were riding from Aberdeen to John O’Groats, that we tended to catch on the downhills with our greater momentum and superior downhill skills (we have had a lot of practice in training and on this ride).
We found the peat moorland beautiful, a little stark and desolate; but it did afford us an interesting discussion about how it is formed and we were fascinated by the number of birds and flowers supported by the land.
The hills in and out of Bettyhill made us think that the town should be renamed Bettyhills. At the crest of this hill we found our support vehicle encouraging a lady who had ridden from Edinburgh and was heading for the Orkney ferry at Thurso.
We had a little energy dip at Thurso so shared cuddles and hot chocolate before taking a look at the map and calculating that, with a bit of a push, we could make it to John O’Groats before 4:30.
We weren’t far out of Thurso when we spotted our support vehicle running (which was a surprise to us all) up the hill flagging us down, and then we glanced to the side and saw the small group of Highland Cows that she had spotted. So we paused so she could line us up for a photograph before peddling on our final miles happy to have finally seen some Highland Cows grazing on the moors.
We haven’t been as successful with our geocaching in every county as we had planned due to our time constraints but we were determined to find at least one cache in our final county.
You can tell that we have reached the final stage as Boo started to relax when we peddled past the Island of Orkney.
Our support vehicle tried to capture the moment that we arrived at John O’Groats; apologies for the wobbly nature of the video – it was an emotional moment for us all!
The grin never seemed to leave Boo’s face despite the many outfit changes in order to photograph Double Trouble and us in our Stratford Cycling Club, Cancer Research and Zoe’s Place tops. Plus we wanted photographs in the GoRide colours after our Manchester Velodrome visit.
After all of that cycling the one thing that Boo really, really wanted to do was to dip her toe in the (cold) Atlantic Ocean.
Then she discovered that there were rockpools with sea anenomes, crabs, and limpets galore (one of which made the mistake of being removed from the rock by Boo so she then had to test her limpet gathering skills; which turned out to be far inferior to her cycling).
We spent a little time exploring the John O’Groats area (and launching our TravelBug for the cachers amongst you) before finally stepping into the car. Feeling hungry we stopped in Wick, where we found the shortest street in the world (Ebenezer Place) and had a delicious Italian meal. Then it was time to head for our hotel in Dundee. We slept soundly whilst our support vehicle battled her need for sleep, and a small panic over the fuel levels, before we finally reached our hotel at 3am all exhausted, relieved, and overwhelmed by what we have completed.
Thank you for your ongoing messages of encouragement, and for your support for our charities. We have been surprised by how close we have come to our target of £2,000 for each charity.