Day Nine

Helmsdale to John O’Groats

Last day and half the distance of all the other days was something nice to look forward to. All pictures taken, with the Inn in the background and off we went straight into a climb up the hill that then turned into a massive climb away from th village, a small descent and then another monster long climb, not big ramps just long and constant. Then drop down and the hairpins where quite good with some speeds recorded at 50 mph ! but the side winds were a bit scary for me and an oscillating bike is no fun at speed for me so I chickened out and pulled on the brakes.

After these hills it was a steady rolling countryside again with the wind on our backs and the sea on our right with some beautiful morning vistas of the shore line. As we pulled into the van stop the weather had got a bit colder and we felt the wind chill more so it was a quick what ever was needed, on with jacket and off up the road again. We didn’t really need anything from the van as the distance and weather meant we carried what we wanted.

The sun came out again and the wind was strong, the roads were great as we pushed on towards the town of Wick. Wick came and we were back in a town again, negotiating traffic and people.

A left turn brought us into the wind but it was more of a side wind but hellish strong and as we left Wick it started to rain. we only had a few more miles to go and no freezing cold driving rain was going to drop our spirits now and with John on the front we maintained our onward quest for John O’Groats and our moment with destiny.

The rain dropped but the wind didn’t and relief was had when we turned right off the main road and on to the route but as we did we heard the toot of a motorist with life issues who then, because he couldn’t zoom through the junction, aimed his car at us when the other lane was quite clear. That didn’t dampen the spirit because the miles where coming down and the weather was holding as the sun made it’s appearance through the skidding clouds.

Onwards through the little villages and homesteads and counting down the miles the Orkneys appeared and looked huge in the sun but it was the one goal we were searching for and as we crested the last bank we knew we had it and as the village showed itself we rolled into formation and crossed the sign into John O’Groats together.

Onto the sign post we went and joy and jubilation as we had reached the topmost point and completed over 1000 miles in our long journey and our achievement, now it was over, out of the wind and  a cup of coffee, cream scone out of the wind and cold.

Job done .

Thanks must go to our van driver, Gary, fror driving the bikes to Land’s End, for running our errands, being there with tea, coffee and water refills. For getting stuff repaired and washed . For getting me jelly babies that were great at 100 miles. For not complaining when he’d set up then had to pack up and rescue us, in short he was our star and summed up in the quote one night, “If Carlsberg did van drivers ….. “

 

also thanks go out to

NRG cycles for repairs, Godleys , Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative, Escape Route cycles Pitlockry, DK for shifters , Nick, Julie, Eoin, James, Rob, J Kelly, Mike R, and any other Wheeler I missed also to Scott who rode to Rothbury, Byron Beatty for food at Rothbury, Tomlinson Bunkhouse at Rothbury, The Duke of York at Iddlesleigh for champers and staying open, The Bannockburn Inn for everything, and Marcus for the gels to keep us going and for the repairs to Roy’s zipper ! and apologies for anyone I missed out .

It was an achievement, well done to our riders

 

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