When we wondered back to the hotel last night, the roads were full of police and their helicopter was flying over. We guessed that Harry and his new wife were coming for a secret honeymoon, but it turned out to be atomic waste movements.
Gathering after breakfast, bikes were being serviced and adjusted for the day ahead, so we didn’t get away quite as soon as we might, but not such a long day so should be fine. Two of the party who’d had to leave us for a meeting, had flown back to Wick and rejoined us this morning, so fresh legs. Reversing the route out of Thurso was a nice gentle start, and several crews put the hammer down, but later regretted it. Weather had not mentioned the low cloud and low temperatures, so extra layers were needed. We were expecting to stop at BettyHill though we had poor reports of a café there from two days previously. Seemed that a group of 7 were told that they should have looked at the FaceBook page and seen that groups of over 6 should pre-book …. However, we discovered F.B.I. a lovely new café with home made ginger muffins: excellent.
The observant ones among you will have realised that we are no longer following the official NC500 route. Quite early in our planning we decided that taking 20 odd folk down the busy A9 wasn’t a great idea, so had panned an alternative way South. We’ve back-tracked to get to the start of that for tomorrow. We were back in Sutherland now, so long hills and moorland tops. The returnees were pushing the pace, so no rest today, and we eventually caught a group and rolled on with them towards Tongue. Several lumps later, which I couldn’t remember from our first visit, we dropped down to the Weavers Café for a return pie stop. They were busy, had early closing for a meeting, and were a little stressed. We ate them out of pies before they closed the doors and waved us on our way for the final big 2 miles to The Tongue Hotel. A lovely old style place full of stuffed local animals, including a Kookabura.
A few of us rode on to visit villages on the peninsula beyond the Kyle, and were repeatedly filmed from the drone as we crossed the causeway. I still can’t get used to being tracked by a robot. More piping at dinner and the first sign of a few midges out tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast is for 21 degrees for the last long day. Let’s see if that materialises.