Kincraig to Helmsdale
As it had hammered down last night we expected rain this morning but when we set off rain just looked likely .
We headed through Aviemore and roads that went up and down through some nice views and nice showers but the rain mainly held off and the jacket stayed off.
It was rolling countryside again heading up and down to Inverness a route that meant going on the A9 again but at least we had some duel carraige ways.
The pitstop in a layby on the A9 had views of the bridge but we were not sure if we could cross by bike, anyway, we headed off to the bridge to find out and we just rolled on to it on a cyclepath seperated from the traffic and off , very windy but great views.
Again we followed the A9 sometimes on and sometimes off and with lots of drivers pointing out alternative routes and their views on the highway code !
The sun was out and we were in good spirits as we rolled through the coutryside and across firths with brilliant backdrops all along the way, hills in the distance and old oilrigs in the firth.
The sun was again hot so at the next stop it was off with gear and on with cream, not long the end now. Coming down a hill we could see the long low bridge we needed so towards it we went and a vanman decided he could get into the right turn before us and almost had me down ! We decided to get over the windy and busy bridge as soon as we could and with great pace the bridge was left behind but then martin had a rock jump up and another blowout ! The tyre was mended with a patch and a gel wrapper and we were off again.
The A9 was a bit better with not so many lorries and on the whole, the cars were playing better just one or two idiots. So it was small hill big hill all the way with the sea on our right and the promise of a good early finish and a lie in for the last leg. The wind was on our backs and the rolling roads were taken at leasure but Helmsdale seemed never to be getting closer. Closer it did and with a “that must be it” we hit the village before but we could see it in the distance and with that we were spurred on to take the prize .
Starter, steak and chips and a sticky toffe pudding were downed as well as afew pints and a taste of whiskey ( old poulteney ) from the land lady at the Bannockburn Inn ( well worth a stay if in this part of the country )