Not to be out done.

As you may remember from some of my early posts, it has been my intention to meet with churches along the way to discuss with them what they do with the teenagers in their area, if anything of course?
I had thought that this was a night off, even though I was staying at a host home. Well how wrong was I?
No sooner had I finished shaking the hands of other cycling teams that had finished at about the same time as myself and swapped a few short stories, than this lady in a nice car asked me if I was Steve Lee and if so would I like to follow her to her house as we only had three quarters of an hour before the meeting that she had set with some interested people from the area.
It was quite whirlwind, but a brilliant way to end my trip.

It has been about meeting like minded people up the length of Britain as much as the scenery and raising money for the Teenage cancer Trust. Not to mention the need to eat twice my own bodyweight in food each time I stopped!
Did I mention that I have been inter…

The last leg and there will not be a lap of honour thankyou!

The last leg held as much excitement as the first day, but I have to admit that I was quite tired from climbing the Monro the day before at Crask Inn!
The weather was good as usual in the morning and held strong until just before Thurso the largest town on the North coast that boasts a railway station and is a usual end stop for LEJOG'ers although the thought of adding on another 20miles to get back to it could be quite terrifying I should think? I stopped for late lunch of Orkney herrings and salad washed down with more Irnbru (good and sweet, and fits my sugar needs nicely!) I met a German couple that are riding a similar route around Scotland as myself as part of the North Atlantic cycle route that runs through countries that sit on the edge of the North Atlantic, and includes countries like Germany, Norway and Sweden... seems even more insane than my little trip?
The cloud continued to build through the afternoon but thankfully never amounted to anything, although it did add quit…

You can't be in the Highlands without Highland cattle!


Bettyhill in the sunshine is actually quite pretty!

How the sunshine and the prospect of my last good day in the saddle can make you feel so much better than the night before! The beautiful little beach is only accessed by foot and is off the purest, clean sand. If the council have to ship it in or clean the beach every night there is no sign of their works. It would seem that there is somewhere that isn't poluted by us tourists?

Apart from the fact that this is the North Sea and that the sun is not likely to be out for very long this is a perfect gem of a beach and a treat before my 60 mile last leg today.

Bettyhill, what can I say.......

This is the moment that I knew the inevitable was going to happen and so I leant on my handlebars and ate my mars bar in as leisurely fashion as possible before putting on my we weather gear and pushing off in race of the rain!
Of course that was never going to be a race that I would win and so I became engulfed in the absolutely worst weather of my whole trip.
Two and a half hours of torrential rain soon gets inside your clothes, and totally damps your spirit and bodies willingness to keep going!
Although that of course is just what you have to do.

Those miles were never so long, and the imagined beautiful scenery of my planning when in Totton, totally washed out!
Every move was cold and clammy, and every mile proceeded in slow motion....

By the time I got there I had lost all the excitement that I had been holding on to for so long. And the sight of the North Sea and the idea of flinging myself into it held no appeal at all!
I found my digs and unfortunately they did not raise my spirits …

Mt Kilbreck the Monro out the back of Crask Inn

You can see the name if you squint hard!

Several hundred years old the Inn was built just after the infamous land clearances of the Scots by the English to make room for the very profitable wool industry and of course the sheep that went with it. Designed and built as one of several to service the new passing trade of the stock men on their way to and from market I suppose?

As we were eating our 'Stovies' I got talking to Mike and Helen a couple that were planning to climb the Monro in the morning before moving on to their next Monro in the afternoon. A Monro is a mountain of which there are 275, surveyed by Sir Hugh Monro who died in 1909.

I had been very hopeful of this day for many months and so could not believe my luck when waking up at 6.30am it was beautiful bright sunshine with not a cloud in the sky.
We packed our things and I went across for breakfast. Proper runny Scots porridge, followed by a farmers fried breakfast and toast. Mike made me some sandwiches and packed …

Crask Inn, where's that then?

Well wherever it is this tourist honey trap has been set and successfully and snares them regularly into the cafe above these falls, which to be honest is better than the falls themselves. How cynical, but I can say the Falls of Shin have great toilets! And of course good looking cyclists every now and then. This was a lucky day for them obviously!
The day started out early as I had to get to Dingwall a town about 18 miles along my my journey, but by nine o'clock'ish, as George had booked me in for some front brake therapy. Having an oil filled disc brake system I had thought, naively, that once the brake pads had been replaced before the trip that there would be no more to worry about! Well that didn't acount for a slightly loose nipple that let oil out and air in. So they very efficiently bled the brake and topped up the oil and adjusted my gears at the same time. I dilligently went to find a cafe and filled myself up with as many calories as I could manage!

As usual the …