Picture of Ken and Linda with their tandem

Title: End to End by Tandem. Ken & Linda Hardy

 Day 14: September 23 rd , Beauly to Lairg

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Today started with a pleasant run into Dingwall where we stopped briefly for supplies. Then there were several miles alongside the Cromarty Firth, joining the A9 part way along and having to endure the heavier traffic for a short while.

From Evanton there is a choice. We'd planned to ride over the tops toward Bonar Bridge and thence northwards through the middle of the northernmost section of Scotland. This is excellent riding most of the way and takes you into some of the most remote and wild areas of the Highlands. However, it's worth checking the weather forecast to see what the wind's going to be doing. When we reached the far north coast we turned into a fierce headwind (more about that later) and had we realised we might have chosen to follow the A9 north from Dingwall instead.

Our chosen route took us high into the hills between the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths. It was a long climb but the gradients were gentle and we were able to ride it all the way. The wind was getting up a bit by now and this may have helped with the climb. Not too much in the way of views up here until you reach the other side and can see down into Dornoch Firth. Then there are excellent views in all directions of sea and mountains.

We dropped down to Bonar Bridge where we stopped for lunch at the picnic site by the bridge. Half way through lunch it started to rain but we were able to shelter. Then we continued on to Lairg.

The plan was to phone ahead for a B&B somewhere between Lairg and Bettyhill. It was only the middle of the afternoon when we arrived in Lairg but there are only 3 B&Bs before Bettyhill, one of which was far too expensive, one booked up and the third we couldn't get a reply. There was no possibility of continuing to Bettyhill (about 35 miles through virtually uninhabited country) that evening so we had no option but to have an early stop in Lairg. Lesson: if possible, book accommodation, if needed on this stretch, well in advance.

Day 14 - Mileage: Day 49; Cumulative 881