11.08.2011 - 14.08.2011
I had to jump the turnstile at the toilets in John O' Groats as I was desperate, much to the annoyance of the attendant. After breakfast and packing I paid my 20p and received a nice smile in return. Managed to get off to an early start for me and combined with the good weather I knew I would get good mileage in, well it is all downhill from here (wishful bloody thinking). I could even charge my phone properly (I had a bottle dynamo that I soldered a USB female connector to), therefore I decided to take plenty of video rather than photos, but this site is not allowing me to upload them for some reason. i will post them on my facebook account (Stephen Rowe, profile picture is a wickerman) anyone can view you don't have to be my friend.
The sunny weather even managed to dry my cycle computer and it started working after about 30 miles. It was nice to know how far I was travelling again, its easier to set targets before stopping. I guestimated that I had ridden 304 miles without it working, this was a conservative estimate from what the road signs and Google maps said.
Within the thirty miles I had passed a lot of cyclists going the other way, they all waved and wished me good luck, assuming I was heading for Land's End. I suppose I was going to Land's End, the long way round. By this point I had covered 1,859 miles, depending on their route that is over twice the shortest distance for LE JOG, and I was not even not even half way through my ride. Most of the people going the other way were on road bikes with no equipment, but it still ain't easy. Well done to them, they set their goal and had achieved it. I probably saw about 40 people in total on that one day that appeared to be doing LE JOG.
I cycled towards Cromaty, but missed the last ferry, still felt fresh so I went back and around the Cromaty Firth. Strange estuary, it is where oil installations go to be decommissioned. There are several parked up waiting to be scraped in an idyllic setting. I camped about 15 miles outside of Inverness, making a total of 116 miles for the day, good feeling doing that mileage.
I by passed Inverness and onto the A96 heading East. The road is busy and many drivers had little regard for a cyclist, several times I had lorries pass me very close, one overtook me with plenty of room then pulled in before passing me fully. I went off the road and into the grass ditch at the side of the road, but managed to stay on. I am not normally a nervous person, but I don't mind saying that I was shitting myself when I could hear something big coming up behind me. I got off the main road at the earliest opportunity. As I went through Buckie there was a seafood merchant advertising Moray Firth lobster from £4.50 cooked as well. I deserved a treat, made it to Banff that night making the days ride 102 miles. That lobster tasted good.
My aim for the following day was to make Aberdeen where I had a place to stay and could even have a shower, it had been six days since my last one. It was very hard riding, there was a nasty head wind and no shelter. I was looking for a forest so that I could get a slight break from the wind, but nothing. The highlight was reaching my top speed of 53.55 mph or 86.18 kmph, if I knew what the hill was like I could have even bettered this. Definitely don't want to fall off at those speeds, okay I was wearing a helmet, but lycra is not known for its protective properties when sliding across tarmac.
I arrived in Aberdeen to stay at Dominic Treseder place, I ad not met him before but contacted him through the Mankind Project chat an organisation that we are both members of. Domonic could not be more welcoming and we were joined by two other members for food. I had a very relaxing rest day and good food Dominic even gave up his bed for me, which I was not to happy about, but too tired to argue. The floor would be luxury for me.