Our penultimate day in the saddle (for LEJOG rather than forever – we weren’t always sure but Abbie has confirmed that she won’t be throwing her bike off the edge of Scotland tomorrow) had all the ingredients of a corker, and did not disappoint. After a breakfast of bacon sandwiches made by Lorraine (worryingly good for a vegetarian) and a ride back to our day ten destination – Tomatin Distilleries (where we will be popping back to on Saturday to try the whisky, having decided 8am on day twelve wasn’t appropriate) we set off in the sunshine, heading – you guessed it – north.
The scenery was simply spectacular. From crossing the Moray Firth by bridge to the coastal views of the Black Isle, there has hardly been a more stunning LEJOG backdrop. Our first 30 or so miles flew by and just as the first thoughts of taking a small break entered our minds we came across The Highland Cafe. We can’t recommend this place enough. In addition to the stunning views and extraordinary cream tea, the cherry on top was the bike rack, track pump and tap specifically positioned for refilling bidons. Cyclists receive mixed receptions at cafes, pubs and restaurants and we’ve experienced the full range, from extreme hostility (day three sausage roll gate and being asked to put our helmets on the floor in Kidderminster) to practically giving hugs at goodbye (Heaven Scent in Kinross). The Highland Cafe fell at precisely the right end of the scale, and it was wonderful to receive such a warm welcome at this point in our journey. It was also the point in the journey at which Abbie realised we have cycled “really, really, really far!”. It’s indisputable. (905 miles, in fact. Bonkers).
Not believing it to be possible after the highs of being welcomed to various counties – most notably Cumbria – and later a whole new country (hi, Scotland), next level excitement was reached when we saw our first sign to John O Groats – a mere 85 miles away. Anyone driving the the A9 this afternoon may have been lucky enough to see Abbie dancing underneath the sign post to Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (and some seriously un-secluded loo stops shortly thereafter, standards are seriously dropping… along with the bib shorts). Lucky them.
Well team – nothing is bloody well gonna stop us now. From tonight’s destination in Golspie, we are 75 miles from our end point and have it firmly in our sights. You all know why we have undertaken this challenge, in memory and celebration of our very special and desperately missed friend Fi, and tomorrow with her in our hearts we’ll do everything we can to finish what we set out to do.
Thank you all for your amazing support so far – it’s meant so much to us and will continue to do so as we reflect on the last two weeks, and the many months leading up to it. We quite literally could not have done it without you.
All our love,
Abs and Sal xxx