Today I finally saw the Atlantic again as I arrived on the north coast of Sutherland As before it was a day of two halves, split this time by haar. For those that do not know, haar is sea mist or low cloud, caused by cool moist air being dragged inland by warm conditions that causes air to rise. On coasts that suffer from haar (called fret in Yorkshire at least), this means that hot conditions quickly change to cool overcast with an onshore wind.
Inland Strathnaver this morning was stunning. I rode slowly absorbing the gorgeous scenery and hoping to see a golden eagle (no luck on that front – they are around as I saw one last time that I passed this way). The butterflies were out, flowers were blooming and birds were singing!
Eventually the idyllic ride ends as the River Naver empties itself into the Atlantic. The route at this point takes a right turn and follows the coast eastwards across a series of valleys (aka ascents).
My main memory of Caithness is an odd one. I was on board HMS Orkney counting birds when we came into Scrabster one weekend as an honoured visitor (not sure what the occasion was). The ship held a drinks reception at which I drank a little too much (as did most others!). Next morning I learned that I had been volunteered to go on a tour of the archaeological sites of Caithness, driven by one of the local luminaries. Three others of the ships crew had also been volunteered. We were put in a very comfortable, warm car, and set off. We visited quite a few sites, but my real difficulty was staying awake and trying to be interested. I genuinely am interested in your tumuli and standing stones (there are lots about), but my brain was consistently telling me otherwise. Never have I had to fight sleep so hard!
Statistics: 119 km today, running total: 2885 km; 1185 m ascent (lots of hills!), 28712 in total. One new live mammal when I rescued an errant hedgehog off the road from certain death under a large articulated truck heading its way.
In May/June 2019, I am cycling the length on Britain, visiting all the places that I have lived and a few friends along the way. This is a charity ride aimed to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK and the Spinal Injuries Association. I will also have fun looking for various features along the way and exploring the meaning of memory
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