Friday 2 June 2023

RogueRunners '23 - Day 5

 Epic day.

Heading out on the A9 the sky was dull, but the scenery was good, running as we were along the east coast. I had thought this section might be a little dull, but the views kept us interested & the straights became overtaking opportunities.

I was carrying Robert as his car was still at the menders, but fortunately as the road was better I only scraped once. We stopped for coffee & cake at "The River Bothy" which I hadn't been sure about, because while I could find a presence on the interweb, StreetView wasn't showing anything much. but I needn't have worried, a full car park, a lovely location, a cake counter groaning under the weight of exquisite fayre all added up to a real gem of a place.

Back out on the road & the A9 was now wide & fast with sweeping turns & much better than I'd imagined. We turned inland & zig-zagged agross the flatlands
for a while, noting that even roads that just connected farms to the road network still had a much better surface than those in Surrey in spite of the climate.

Last time we were at John o' Groats it was a quiet almost desolate place, but now the NC500 has gained a reputation, it was buzzing, car park almost full, new buildings, lots of people milling about, eating drinking & buying stuff, so it seems that merely by linking up existing roads, someone has injected an awful lot of money into the local economy. But disapointingly, you can't get a car under the signpost anymore, the adjacent photo is as close as you can get.

There were a few spots of rain, so we put the hoods on while we wandered, but they came off again before we moved off heading west & the weather improved, we de-toured around CastleTown for no better reason than a Nepolionic fort on the nort coast sounded interesting, then re-joined the main route. Winding & twisting as the landscape gets hillier with glimpses of fine sandy beaches, this section is a joy as well.

We re-fuelled at BettyHill at a "local shop for local people" - it was quite strange & my suspicions that it had no price displayed were realised when I asked the price & was told 20p/l more than anywhere else we'd seen! Just a top up then I think!

At Tongue we turned south onto the fast single track road through Altnaharra, a gaggle of touring bikers pulled over to let us through which is unusual, & we "cruised" south to Lairg & then across towards Inverness at a cracking pace.

Just before we arrived back,moU8dW

 Roger came over the radio to say Robert had heard from the garage & his car would be ready to pick up at 6:00. I looked at the SatNav - ETA 5:58. Perfect.

Then we were taxied into Beauly for tea at the Priory by Pam again.

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