Today’s ride was only 42.2 miles (68 kms) and 1660 ft (506 meters) of climb, making it one of the easiest days on the tour. In addition it was all (save for one very short stretch, which was down a smooth packed dirt track) down paved roads or pathways. A lot of the pathways have been down the old highway. The new highway is up higher on the hillside and we are riding down the old highway. These are really great as you have lower grades than on a pathway and they surface is much wider.
My friend Liam and his wife Siubhan had driven up from Aberdeen last night to meet with us. This was very nice of them and we had a great visit. Agnes and I are off to Portugal where they have a house to spend three weeks with them in Sept so that was excellent to see them. We had breakfast with them this morning before we rolled off.
At the 6 mile (10kms) mark we stopped to look at an old train depot and when I got back on my bike the front tire had gone flat. When I got the tire off and the tube out, the stem had detached from the tube. I have never seen this in a failure before. Upon further examination I found that the side wall of the tire had failed and a section of the outer wall of the tire had detached. So I mounted a new tire and a new tube. By the time all this was done my hands were totally black. The bike is so dirty from all the dirt tracks we have been down, just looking at it gets you dirty. The new tire is a 28 mm and a slick tire and it sure changed the rolling resistance from the 32 mm threaded tire.
Jos had taken the route and extra few miles to go see this huge railroad trestle across this valley. It was absolutely amazing it consisted of 29 stone arches, some of which were probably close to 200 feet high. We hung around hoping to see a train cross but none showed up. The route then circled around and went under the trestle. I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
The site seeing stop today was a Culloden. This was the site of the last battle in 1746 of the Jacobite uprising and resulted in the end of the House of Stuart claim to the English throne. Bonnie Prince Charlie had crossed the English Channel and to Scotland and marched south and got with in a six day march of London before supplies, money and man power ran out and he was then forced into a fighting retreat north to Culloden. Just 6 miles (10 kms) south of Inverness he was forced into either retreating into the hills, surrender or trying a risky night attack on the English forces. He tried the night attack which involved a lengthy march at night through rain and fog. Unfortunately his forces got scattered and when day broke his men were exhausted and outnumbered. The English were well rested and well supplies and defeated the Bonnie Prince Charlies forces killing 1500-2000 in under an hour. He escaped and fled to France. Today there is a large tourist visitor center, in a field and a large cairn marking the spot.
We rolled the last 8 miles (13kms) in to Inverness where we are staying in a very nice B&B.
What a great day of temperatures of 64 f (18C), sunny skies and great roads.