After a long (8 hour) but uneventful train journey through seemingly endless bands of rain, broken up with various cups of coffee and a foot-long Subway sandwich at Inverness, we made it to Thurso on time, the girls about an hour back in the car.
Dan and I checked in to the Pentland Hotel and immediately set about our prologue – a 64km round trip to John O’ Groats, under time pressure – we needed to be back in 2h30 to get dinner at the hotel. Taking the back road out, it was dry to start but we soon got caught in a heavy rain shower – quite scary in the extremely bleak surroundings of rural Caithness. After a while though, we made it to John O’ Groats which was basically a giant car park and a small, pretty harbour with views to Orkney.
With dinner beckoning we didn’t hang around. The rain stopped for the return leg along the coastal road. After the first, and only considerable hill, I struggled to match Dan’s 38kph pace and started to see stars. A bit of slipstreaming got me sorted and we sped past Mey and picturesque Dunnet Bay, making it back with 5 mins to spare.
2h25 for 64km with an average of ~22kmh out, 30kmh back – ouch. We burst into the hotel bar in full cycling gear and carbed up. Tomorrow is more than twice as long, with 10 hills, so the pace will be a lot slower…
Caption for the pic of Dan: Cavendish who?