We rescued the Beast from the hotel lobby and loaded the bags outside, watched by a couple of bemused Americans. Getting out of Inverness was relatively straight forward as we just headed for the water, a couple of streets away. A cycle path ran alongside it to the Kessock Bridge to cross to the Black Isle. Not really an isle at all, just a big ‘sticky out bit’. In fact, we could have ridden along it to Cromarty and then taken a ferry across the Cromarty Firth which would have put us within a short ride of Tain. However, I’d planned to go through Dingwall then follow the coast along to Allness then on to Tain.
We spent most of the ride to Dingwall running next to main roads. It was a fair climb to cross the ‘neck’ of The Black Isle but the run down towards Dingwall was good. Once in the town we headed for the high street to find a lunch stop as it was just before noon and we were riding 40 miles today, so refuelling was important. The climb out of Dingwall was the hardest we’d ridden since skirting the Lake District but once up on the slopes above the Cromarty Firth, the views were the reward.
We dropped back off the high ground to Allness where we stopped in a cafe to top up. Another climb back up to higher ground followed but it was easier going than the earlier one. Once up we contoured along the ridge until we were a mile or so from Tain then had an enjoyable descent to the town.
The views from our B&B are across the Dornach Firth to the NE coast stretching away into the distance. Spectacular.
A short walk into town to find food (again) and we both polished off a good meal – one of our best yet.
Tomorrow we ride to Lairg. Not as far as today’s ride. Just a few more days riding after that.
Will arrive in JOG on the 14th July. Resting 15th. Day trip to the Orkneys 16th. Leave for Inverness Airport to pick up a car for the journey home on the 17th.