Saturday, 13 August 2016

On an indulgent end to a surprisingly tough day.

My stretch goal for today had been to drop most of my clobber at my hostel in Thurso and make a dash for Dunnet Head in order to say I'd been to the most Northerly point of the Island of Britain and therefore save time later.  This seemed feasible given a nominal distance of 44 miles to Thurso and a forecast tailwind. I packed accordingly.

Unfortunately, the road was hillier than expected. Furthermore, as my breakfast had been on the light side, when I got to Bettyhill, I was in the mood for an elevenses at the Bettyhill Café. It wasn't open until 5 PM on Saturday. This threw me for loop. I ended up going to the nearby museum which was open then going back about a mile to find a scanty lunch.

The road took in a lot of up and down surrounded by blooming heather. Also by a surprising number of sports cars. Lotuses, Miatas, Ferraris, Porsches and others. I one point I wondered if I had wandered into a Top Gear shoot or something similar. The weather was drier and I made a number of sartorial alterations to find the optimum moisture management.

I had shared a dorm room with a young Italian. He seems to be hitchhiking as I passed once walking along the road then again several miles later!

At some point a bit before Reay, the land settled down and spread out allowing for more sustained pedaling and some serious "Wee!-ing". In Reay, stopped for a snackrel at a shop. The young lady till asked a few basic questions about where I was going. (She must have seen hundreds or thousands of LEJOGgers and their ilk.) My responses were slow to the point that I realized I had a degree of brain freeze. I decided I would put a Buff on my noggin to keep the little grey cells warm.

After Reay, the NCN left the main road partly to avoid the mothballed Doune Reay nuclear power plant. (Elly's brother Ben doubtless has an opinion about it.)  The land became "tidy British agricultural" (as opposed to "rough sheep pasture"). Thurso came up and I found my hostel, but I wasn't about to go to Dunnet Head. I felt pooped. Through a certain effort of will, after dumping clobber at the hostel and changing my socks, I visited the excellent museum. Afterwards, I made a trip to the ferry terminal in Scrabster (circa two miles away) to get some particulars about taking the ferry on the morrow. Only then did I go back to the hostel and shower.

The hostel is opposite a fish and chips shop that advertises "fresh caught Thurso haggis". It wasn't where I had supper but would have better suited the whiny bloke at Le Bistro where I did have supper. However, I did patronize it, as I had a post-prandial battered and deep-fried Snickers Bar there. It hit a number of needs.

Bed time.

No comments: