And I’m off!

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
Brianjeff50
Posts: 109
Joined: 17 Jul 2019, 1:50pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Brianjeff50 » 15 Sep 2020, 5:34am

A brief catch up. Here I am in Carrbridge after a stunningly beautiful couple of days. I thought Kinross to Blair Atholl was pretty good on NCR77 and 7 with long stretches along the Tay and nice quiet - if hilly - back roads.
But yesterday on N7 up and over Drumochter was stunning. So glad I came this way. Sixty two wonderful miles ridden. And what a great job the Scots have done with The cycleway, repairs and improvements all over.
Today I’m down through Inverness and starting the ‘up the middle’ route to JoG. Bonar Bridge tonight. Bettyhill tomorrow. Then a night in Thurso before a run to JoG and on down to Wick. From there train to Inverness and hire van home. That’s the plan. Keeping those fingers crossed.

Nessie23
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Sep 2020, 1:19pm
Location: Warwickshire

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Nessie23 » 15 Sep 2020, 7:08am

I’m new to this forum and enjoying your updates. Glad the weather has been kind to you thru the Highlands. I am from up there and IMO the scenery improves as you go further north. You are taking my preferred route via Strath Naver, i just love the remoteness. Hope the weather holds and best wishes for your final stints.

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Paulatic
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Joined: 2 Feb 2014, 1:03pm
Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Paulatic » 15 Sep 2020, 10:12am

Drove over Drumochter recently and as you say it’s just stunning. I’m itching to cycle all of that again, as it was one of my favourite days on a bike, especially after seeing all that new tar.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

Brianjeff50
Posts: 109
Joined: 17 Jul 2019, 1:50pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Brianjeff50 » 16 Sep 2020, 5:49pm

After another fine day’s ride I’ve reached the north coast at Bettyhill. JoG is just 55 miles away. From Bonar Bridge the road runs direct to Tongue but just after Invershin I deviated onto the B-road that is the official NCR1. There are no extra miles - it just runs the pretty side of the River Shin and past the falls where salmon leap.
Back on the main route, the road soon narrowed after Lairg as it swooped and wove across miles of open and empty moor. It was a chilly day but the wind was at my back so I made good speed - except for the endless ‘photo opportunity’.
A compulsory stop for coffee and toastie at the eccentric Crask Inn then to Altnahara. Here I turned off down the cut Strathnaver B-road - kept in top nick as it’s a priority logging route. We’d turned east so the wind was cold along Loch Naver but as the road bore north it was warm again along the handsome River Naver.
While the wealthy salmon fish, sign boards tell the horror tales of the Clearances that forced thousands from their crofts to make room for sheep.
Then finally the Naver reached the sea at a beautiful sandy beach and i checked into the hilltop hotel. Doesn’t get much better.

Jdsk
Posts: 2277
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Jdsk » 16 Sep 2020, 5:51pm

:- )

Jonathan

rareposter
Posts: 207
Joined: 27 Aug 2014, 2:40pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby rareposter » 16 Sep 2020, 5:58pm

That section up through Altnaharra and Strathnaver is far and away my favourite. Stunning scenery, often a nice tailwind.

Have a good ride to JOG tomorrow!

Nessie23
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Sep 2020, 1:19pm
Location: Warwickshire

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Nessie23 » 16 Sep 2020, 8:02pm

Brianjeff50 wrote:While the wealthy salmon fish, sign boards tell the horror tales of the Clearances that forced thousands from their crofts to make room for sheep.
.

Kudos to BJ50 for referencing the Highland Clearances. I developed an interest in the Clearances that partly got me into cycling as i would cycle into Sutherland from my home in Inverness. It is a very tragic part of Highland history and the worst atrocities were associated with the Duke of Sutherland (The magnificent Dunrobbin Castle nr Golspie was his ancestral home or more correctly, the home of his wife.) For those taking the A9 to JoG will see a huge statue to the DoS on the hill above Golspie. In 1845 a journalist climbed the same hill and could count in excess 250 crofts ablaze as the tenants were forcibly evicted. Some tenants sought refuge in Croik Church near Ardgay and movingly inscribed their names and thoughts “Goodbye cruel world” and “Wicked Glencalvie Generation” on the church window panes (still visible today.) Very moving.
On a brighter note this is the ideal time of year to see the salmon leaping up the Falls of Shin. Rogie falls near Strathpeffar is another accessible site to witness leaping salmon.
Best of luck on your final leg(s) to JoG and Wick. Would be great to see your photos at some point.

Brianjeff50
Posts: 109
Joined: 17 Jul 2019, 1:50pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Brianjeff50 » 17 Sep 2020, 7:44pm

I’m there! I was planning a half way stop in Thurso but woke up in the night thinking ‘why?’ so i cancelled that room and booked one at the Seaview (the only place I know where the room looks better in reality than in their website).
Great weather though some sharp climbs early doors reminded me of the downside of a big breakfast. The views were rarely anything but great. After a Co-op special lunch at Thurso I headed on - with an hour’s very worthwhile diversion to Dunnet Head. I was last there in the ‘80s for a magazine feature and the keeper showed us the polished brass and copper of his lighthouse generator engines with pride. Now it’s all automated of course and the whole area is heaving with tourists and camper vans.
The final miles into JoG were chilly but the place was sunny and busy - livelier and nicer than Lands End.
Tonight I’m at the Seaview; tomorrow homeward.
I
PS I’d publish pictures here but don’t know how - for anyone whose on Facebook look me up Kevin Blick and there posted for public viewing.

Brianjeff50
Posts: 109
Joined: 17 Jul 2019, 1:50pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Brianjeff50 » 17 Sep 2020, 7:51pm

I should just add a big thank you to various folks for their tips and advice - to Bluelagos who got me started, the Wimps whose route formed the backbone of my trip, to MickF whose persistent championing of Route 7 persuaded me to go that way (it was brilliant!), to the person whose name I forget who steered me through Wigan and on, and all the rest.

It’s been great and if anyone wants a beginners tips I’m happy to bore them to death!

roubaixtuesday
Posts: 3274
Joined: 18 Aug 2015, 7:05pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby roubaixtuesday » 17 Sep 2020, 8:07pm

Brianjeff50 wrote:I’m there! I was planning a half way stop in Thurso but woke up in the night thinking ‘why?’ so i cancelled that room and booked one at the Seaview (the only place I know where the room looks better in reality than in their website).
Great weather though some sharp climbs early doors reminded me of the downside of a big breakfast. The views were rarely anything but great. After a Co-op special lunch at Thurso I headed on - with an hour’s very worthwhile diversion to Dunnet Head. I was last there in the ‘80s for a magazine feature and the keeper showed us the polished brass and copper of his lighthouse generator engines with pride. Now it’s all automated of course and the whole area is heaving with tourists and camper vans.
The final miles into JoG were chilly but the place was sunny and busy - livelier and nicer than Lands End.
Tonight I’m at the Seaview; tomorrow homeward.
I
PS I’d publish pictures here but don’t know how - for anyone whose on Facebook look me up Kevin Blick and there posted for public viewing.


Chapeau!

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Paulatic
Posts: 5282
Joined: 2 Feb 2014, 1:03pm
Location: 24 Hours from Lands End

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Paulatic » 17 Sep 2020, 8:41pm

Thanks for the updates I’ve enjoyed them
A journey you’ll never forget or indeed want to forget. :)
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

rareposter
Posts: 207
Joined: 27 Aug 2014, 2:40pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby rareposter » 17 Sep 2020, 8:54pm

Great stuff, I've really enjoyed reading about your travels, right from the early posts asking for route advice to now.
Congratulations on a great ride and for the daily updates.

Have a safe trip home! :-)

Nessie23
Posts: 13
Joined: 13 Sep 2020, 1:19pm
Location: Warwickshire

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Nessie23 » 18 Sep 2020, 8:50am

Congratulations on achieving your goal. Really enjoyed your informative updates and some great photos on your FB. I hope you manage to adjust back into normal life after all the euphoria. Thank you.

Richard Fairhurst
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Joined: 2 Mar 2008, 4:57pm
Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 18 Sep 2020, 9:36am

Congratulations Kevin!
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

Brianjeff50
Posts: 109
Joined: 17 Jul 2019, 1:50pm

Re: And I’m off!

Postby Brianjeff50 » 19 Sep 2020, 4:56am

Just to add - my mileage counter read 987 from LE to JoG. To which I added 13.7 for the ride from Penzance to LE for the start. So just tipped the 1000 mark.
And as a postcript, while waiting for my taxi to Inverness I nipped the couple of miles to see Duncansby Head Cliffs and the amazing rock stacks In the sea. Just delight after delight up there.