Day 18 – Tongue to John o’Groats

Posted in Lejog on July 24, 2013 by lejogsb9

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We all woke up knowing that today was going to be different from all of the other’s.  For a start there was low cloud.  Cloud, what’s a cloud? A strong wind was also blowing and its direction was not in our favour! We could sense the finish was upon us, even though we still had 25 miles of hills to face before we could enjoy the comfort of a flat ride to the finish line.  With the cloud building we almost thought that we would have to don our waterproofs at some point.  Fortunately the sun came out, but it did little to abate the wind. Just so you get the picture we had to pedal downhill at one point! By the time we reached Thurso for lunch we were ready for a well earned break. After lunch we headed into the back roads where we took it in turns riding side by side. This was so we could shield ourselves from the crosswind and conserve our energy.  Counting down the last few miles the adrenaline started to kick in and the pace started to quicken. With a final left turn and the last few turns of the pedals ‘Team Lejog’ had finally made the 1030 miles to John O’Groats!

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Day 17 – Tain to Tongue

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2013 by lejogsb9

photoA nice cool start greeted us today as we pedalled through the Monros. Our route took us along the shores of Dornoch Firth, Loch’s Shin, Naver, Loyal and Craggie and onto the Kyle of Tongue. Enjoying a tailwind we were able to cover ground very quickly. We also experienced one of the most scenic days of the tour, which was totally stunning.  In fact, we had to remember to keep our eyes on the tarmac as we became absorbed in the beauty of the landscape.  Upon reaching Tongue a few of us continued over the causeway and made a short ascent which offered far reaching views of Rabbit Island.  Having been so fortunate with the weather we have been counting our blessings – along with miles – which now total 969!

Day 16 – Boat of Garten to Tain

Posted in Lejog with tags , , , on July 21, 2013 by lejogsb9

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A fabulous sea mist awaited us this morning allowing a much cooler start to the ride. It wasn’t until we reached the Kessock Bridge over the Beauly Firth that we started to get a glimpse of any scenery as the sun began to make its presence known again. On reaching Inverness we weaved our way to the cycle cafe for mid morning tea and cakes and the opportunity to see a replay of Chris Froome’s epic finish on Mont Ventou. Continuing our journey through the Cairngorms the usual medley of songs rang out through the various villages we passed through. Our next stop was Dingwall for lunch. Finding not one cafe open the only option was the local pub. With 20 miles left of the route we ran parallel with the coast where we could see the disused oil rig in Cromerty Firth and far reaching views of the Black Isle. Picking up a stiff headwind for last 5 miles we arrived in Tain by 3.30 enabling an earlyish finish before regrouping for dinner with the rest of our cycling party.

Day 15 – Pitlochry – Boat of Garten

Posted in Lejog with tags , , , on July 20, 2013 by lejogsb9

Welcome to Highlands

 

A fairly flat route awaited us today with a long gentle climb to the gateway of the Highlands at the top of Drumochter Pass. Sandra had the most scenic puncture of the tour.  We joined the old A9 road for several miles which has been designated a cycle route.  We then headed for Dalwhinnie distillery and on past Kingussie and General Wade Barracks.  With temperatures at 29 degrees we found respite in some undulating woodlands before heading past Aviemore and back into the heat of the afternoon.  We were all really pleased to reach our hotel to gain a reprieve from the heat of the day.

Day 14 – Stirling to Pitlochry

Posted in Lejog with tags , , , on July 20, 2013 by lejogsb9

Stirling

 

With barely any time to get the legs turning we were climbing up onto the moor. Some pretty steep sections kept us pedalling hard in the hot weather.  Once on the high land we encountered some superb vistas through Sma’ Glen skirting such places as Dunblane, Gleneagles and the odd distillery.  Our morning stop was at the Stuart Crystal Visitor Centre on our way to Crieff.  On leaving the Glen we pushed onto Aberfeldy. This was where Richard and Patrick encountered the bridge crossing we were using closed.  Having arrived at different times there was a mutual strong exchange of words with the workmen leaving no one best pleased! The rest of the group got the message and were able to make a detour. The remainder of the route was fairly flat and we ended the day in the picturesque town of Pitlochry where stayed at a most unusual hotel. We were warned it was like Fawlty Towers and that pretty much summed the place up!

Day 12 – Abington – Stirling

Posted in Lejog with tags , , , on July 18, 2013 by lejogsb9

Lejog

At long last a mostly flat route passing between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  The first stop of the morning was upon us fairly quickly as we’d managed to put on a decent pace. After a quick trip to the apple pie shop – absolutely scrummy – we continued onto Shotts where we overshot the lunchtime cafe!  On our way out of town we stopped at the local ambulance station to ask directions to the cafe, only to be told that it was shot for refurbishment.  The ambulance crew then invited us into for tea and coffee.  It was at this point they had an emergency call and left us with full use of their kitchen and lounge facilities.  Within seconds Sally was comfy in leather armchair and watching the telly while Patrick made drinks for every one.  We never saw them again, so we had a whip round and left them details of our blog – so thanks guys your generosity was very much appreciated.  So far, so good…..  After our next refuel stop we headed off for Biggar.  The nearer we got the bigger the climb became! Once at the top we had far reaching views of the Firth of Forth.  A big downhill then awaited us all the way into Stirling.  Tomorrow is a day off so we will be back soon folks.

Day 11 – Carlisle to Abington

Posted in Lejog with tags , , on July 17, 2013 by lejogsb9

firstlasthouse scotland

 

 

Hurrah! No climb first thing this morning.  We started with a low key entry into Scotland.  Passing through Gretna Green we met up with the other party on our tour for a photo stop. Sye and Richard popped over to the first house in Scotland marriage room to contemplate their future together.  We then headed onto the next town where Sye suffered a broken spoke on his rear wheel.  He headed off to Dumfries to find a bike shop and met up with some other cyclists and went for a ride with them.  Sally, Patrick, Deb and Jane took the shorter route whilst the rest of us went the longer, hillier route via Drumlanrig Castle. Stopping at the Castle for a late lunch we then enjoyed a very scenic climb over Wanlockhead.  In fact, the scenery was so stunning that none of us opted for a fast descent. Instead we made our way down slowly into the tiny village of Abington for our overnight stay.