Day 2 – 122 kilometres and 1173 metres climbing from Lairg to Inverness. Today we meet three more Nesses!
So the day dawned bright, sunny and windy and after breakfast, a Radio Derby chat, and a fabulous bacon and sausage sarnie from the food trailer in the Loch Shin Pods car park (yum), it was time to set off. Despite the wind, the arm warmers and gilet were quickly off as I made my way into Lairg, complete with duck house on the loch (which MP owns it?). Shortly after Lairg a right turn onto the Ullapool road and then a left onto a delightful lane that took me along the side of the River Shin, with its falls (I could hear them if not see them!).
Leaving the shin behind, it was quickly into Invershin and then Bonnar Bridge for a quick Spar coffee and flapjack before the first significant climb of the day, that took me up and over the hills to Alness. A steady climb but not as bad as the 25% slope my route planner had suggested the night before, thankfully. It was windy though and fighting the wind as well as the climb meant a steady climb. the higher I climbed the better the views of course so the effort was well worth it. A lovely descent on the other side, brought me to my first Ness of the day at Alness, a largely shut village, as it was Sunday!
Shortly after Alness, the rain started and the next 10 km was cold and draining, as I hoped I was on the right road for the Highland café. Thanks fully I was, so I parked the bike and ordered a Mac and Cheese and waited for Sue. A welcome break and a lovely café.
It also gave me a chance to pick up my rain jacket, thankfully as the rain, only light, but there nonetheless. From here into Dingwall and the temptation to take the shorter direct route to Inverness but I resisted and meandered across to take a short and brutal climb up and over the hills to drop down to the shores of Loch Ness. From here, it was just 15 km to go to get me into the city and our accommodation for the night.
A good, if wet and windy day, ticked off four Nesses (Alness, Loch Ness, River Ness and Inverness, plus a host of Ness-named emporia in Inverness!) All set up now for the shorter ride tomorrow out of Inverness down to Glentruim Castle.