First up, what great support from our team on the ride; Rona and Christine have driven the support vehicles to cope with forgotten kit, sudden purchases, distribution of sweeties and getting luggage to all the right hotels - brilliant work. Rob who did the lion’s share of the organising, planned the route, wrote the documentation and found somewhere for us all to stay, and then wasn’t able to stay for the whole trip, so has been closely following our travails and sending advice throughout. So to all, brilliant and we wouldn’t have got very far without you all.
This morning we booked earliest breakfast, sat down sharply and then waited and waited. They had a system, but it didn’t really work, which was shame as it was a super hotel. I got about 100m before I realised that the front derailleur that I’d snapped the day before was rubbing more than I thought, so I stopped and removed the offending article, so back to 9 speed today. The profile said long climb up and long climb down over the Sutherland hills, and it was true to form.
Beautiful long and steady climb to Altnaharra, but no tea-stop and on past the Crask Inn where some teams stopped, but we pressed on to Lairg, where we found a fantastic Loch-side café for our stop for the day. Soup, sandwich and a sunbathe and off again for the final drift down to Bonar Bridge, over the bridge and on to the last climb; the Struie Hill (snow gates and all). Not nearly as bad as we thought, great views and a long undulating top, before whizzing down to Alness and a long 2 miles to Invergordon. We later heard of a wee bump along the road, bike in front braking, but bike behind not doing. Fortunately, the lighter figure fell on top of the more sturdy rider, so little harm done. Quite odd to be next to oilrigs and industry after the wild moors. So close now, so just half a day tomorrow and then we are done. Everyone has done fantastically well and we’ve almost trebled the donations on the JustGiving pages during the ride which is great. Over 500 miles now.