I awaken to the patter of rain blown onto my window from the direction I will be riding today. Outside, Mike, the proprietor of The Crask, with help from four sheepdogs, is rounding up his sheep to bring to market. He is not happy with the rain as the sheep don’t show well with a damp coat. From first light well before dawn on the moor, Mike and his dogs have been busy. Here he is leaning against the wind about to drive his flock to market.
I finish up a country breakfast prepared by Mike’s partner Kai. She treats me like I am her first and only guest. As we look at the rain she says something like: “up here it’s rain at seven and dry by eleven.”. So I ask, should I stay until eleven? “Not today” she replies. So it’s on my bike I go in full rain gear something I never really tested in Canada.
About half the rain gear works. The seamless, simple, waterproof Showerpass jacket works fine. The fancy Gore Bike Wear trousers that can be zipped in half fail miserably. Water comes through the zipper and the seams. My neoprene booties just soak up the water and bathe my feet in wetness and my gloves do the same thing. My Ibex wool Beanie keeps me warm but for serious rain I would need something else to keep my head dry. Fortunately, by mid afternoon the rain stops. And fortunately my trip has been just about rain free since leaving Pearson College in late May.
Like the day before, I follow the National Cycle Network 1 bike trail all the way to Inverness. It is well marked and takes me up and over more of the Scottish Highlands.
The trail briefly follows a dirt path for the first time and I get to be close to animals and stinging nettles.
After coming out of the highlands, freshly cut fields of hay are everywhere.
Finally, after one wrong turn that adds ten kilometers to my day, I cross the Kessock bridge into Inverness. Here are views north and south.
Stats – for Thursday 6 September
Start: Crask Inn
Distance: 122 km
Time on Bike: 7 hours 12 min
Average Speed: 16.9 /hr
Distance to Date: 8,352 km