After a wonderful breakfast we were already to get going. It looked like it was going to be a fabulous day. The forecast was calling for temperatures in the around 64 F (18 C) and sunny skies with a favourable winds out of the SW. When I got my bike out of the storage garage I found a flat on the front tire. This is the same one I had a flat on yesterday. A coincidence? Upon pulling the tube out I found the same fault as yesterday where the stem had separated from the tube. Upon reflection when I was getting Surly ready for the trip I dug out all my stuff and these tubes were probably from my Paris to Istanbul trip 7 years ago. So these tubes have probably been sitting around all wrapped up and the rubber has hardened.
After fixing the tire I rolled around the front to join the rest of the crew only to find panic out there. Jos has left his good sun glasses in the restaurant last night. It was decided I would roll, Jos would phone the restaurant and he and Patrick would catch me, with Agnes going to pick up the glasses when someone got to the restaurant. Well off to a later start than planned but off.
I crossed the Inverness Bridge which is called the Kessock Bridge which was opened Aug 6 1982 by Queen Elizabeth. It is a huge suspension bridge but of an unusual design in that the suspension towers are really masts rather than towers. This gives it a very modern appearance even though it is now 35 years old. It is 3464 feet (1056 m) and crosses the Beauly Firth. As the day was great the views off the bridge were stunning.
After crossing the bridge I was right into the first climb of the day which while not really hard was about 7 miles (11.3kms) long and 500 ft (152 m). After a very nice roller coaster back to sea level the second hill of the day was up but at only 1.5 miles (2.4 kms) and 370 ft (112m) of climb making it a much tough hill. By now I have my arm warmers off and just having a ton of fun riding the hills and enjoying what is now a very nice tail wind. We were to meet Agnes at this little town but as she was delayed retrieving Jos’ glasses I was well ahead of her. There was no way I was missing out on what is a very nice tail wind so I pedalled on. The third hill was soon up and it was a long and winding affair which a lot of stair steps over 17 miles (27 kms) and about the same climb as the second climb. However with the great tail wind and very nice quiet roads I hardly noticed the climb. Taking pictures, of the beautiful country side, I even took a couple of selfies. I came over a steep little bridge and around a corner and put the run on a bunch of sheep by barking. I spotted a totally out of place flag, but you can see my tail wind.
By 12:30 I was in a quaint little town of Tain. As rolled through it I spotted a bakery called the William Grant Bakery established 1876. The aroma wafting out of the door caused my bike to come to a screeching halt. Once inside there was no doubt in my mind I was going for one of beef steak Scotch Pies. It was so delicious that I had to go back in for a second pie. On the wall was a huge display of all of the awards they had won for their Scotch Pies. I was so full it was hard to swing my leg over the bike.
Back on the road my friendly tail wind picked me up and I was just flying along. I passed the Glenmorangie distillery and while I have drank several of the bottles and was sorely tempted to go in I just couldn’t leave the tail wind I was enjoying. I was not even pedalling and was flying along at 20 mph (32 kms). Sometimes it is all about the bike.
It wasn’t long and I was into Bonar’s Bridge and got to the B&B just a couple of minutes before Agnes.
What a great day sailing along in beautiful sun shine with a friendly tail wind.