Friday, 27 June 2014

Day 12 Altnahara to John O'Groats

The last day.

You would think that the last day would be the easiest. Adrenaline carrying you through the hills.

We set off slowly with some weary legs, but fuelled by yesterday's random act of kindness of home made chocolate flapjack. First 20 miles seemed quite tough, little inclines but a strong north easterly wind seemed to be biting into us. Progress was slow.

After an age we reached the "main" road just outside bettyhill. We heard at breakfast that it was downhill all the way to bettyhill - which it wasn't!! Upon asking what was it like after, our source just laughed. More on the hills later.

The cove around bettyhill is fabulous. gorgeous, golden sands with some dramatic cliffs, along all of the top of Scotland we were greeted with such views along the pentland firth.

Then there were hills. Not overly high, jiust loads of them. Reminding us of Cornwall with the constant up and down of them. To combat them it was a case of adding up the number of climbs that needed to be done and adopting the "one less" philosophy. It got us to Thurso.

Before thurso we felt we needed to recharge our batteries, what better place than Dounreay, home of the nuclear power plant. Or to be correct the village of Reay.

So with the hills behind us and indeed some the most dense sheep I have ever encountered we navigated through this so with its grid street system not unlike New York. The similarities end there.

Thurso indeed brought us some sunshine, first of the day and only 20 miles to go.

Fatigue was settling in, and we had run out of flapjack. The wind that had been in our face for the last 55 miles was ever strong, but the end was in sight.

Indeed John oGroats happened upon us sooner than we thought. Purely for the reason its not right at the end, but who were we with over900miles in the saddle to start getting picky now.

We rounded the last corner and took the last downhill as we had started. Together.

John o groats gets a bit of a beating as having nothing there, or run down. I found it to be as it should. It wasn't as over commercialised as lands end ( no 4d cinema or Brian Blessad voice over). the hotel stands refurbishes and with eco lodges in the grounds offering stunning views over to Orkney. The place ain't that bad.

So we trundled up to one of the 2 famous posts ( the free one - which I like to think as the original one) to greet us were Sam and Anna, our heroines from Day 10, and some eager photographers.

So we'd finished. We were being congratulated, we had done something epic. True it felt epic, and an achievement. Although none of it would have been possible were it for the support of our partners, Stevie, Anna and Sam. True stars.

So is this the end? Or the beginning?

Day 12 stats

Day 12 miles - 75
Total miles - 962
Number of hills pushed up today - 0
Number of days a week the shop in Bettyhill is open - 8

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