LEJOG Day 9+1
Start: John O'Groats
End: Thurso via Dunnet Head
Total Miles: 1023.33
Daily Miles: 28

Saturday 19 June 2004

I awoke to the sound of horizontal rain pounding my hotel room window. I lay there thinking I could just get a taxi to Thurso and forget Dunnet Head, but then I remembered how tough it was getting to the Lizard on that first day. Dunnet was an 8 mile detour so I really shouldnt wimp out now. I had breakfast with Yvonne and Ann. Ken and Gary had already set off earlier with the wind behind them! I wished all of them well and went to check out of the hotel. I loaded up the gear on the bike and was away just after 9am.

The north-westerly wind had swung around in the night and was now blowing straight in from the sea from the northeast. I had to slog it out to Dunnet Head with a crosswind again! I wasnt in a big hurry to get there but wanted to arrive in Thurso in good time for the train. I turned off the main road to make for the headland now uphill with a headwind for 5 miles. It was like yesterday night all over again but at least my legs were fresher. When I finally readched the most northern point of the UK mainland, I parked the bike and looked for some poor wrtch who would brave the elements and take my photo. An elderly couple drove up, turned around and drove off! Then a van arrived and the guy was wearing a big jacket and got out. He was working in the area but originally from Cornwall, how spooky! He obliged with the photo and sped off to Thurso.

The descent from Dunnet Head was fast, with a tail wind of about 25mph my run into Thurso was much easier for the best part of the way. Found the train station and even had time to grab a steak pie to take on the train for lunch. The bike was loaded onto a van for the journey to Inverness. It would arrive 2hours before me on the train! I met another end-to-ender loading his bike, so we sat together on the train. His name was Tony from Stoke-on-trent, a guy in his mid twenties who decided to travel and was convinced that an end-to-end would be a good way to start! He did a 15 day journey following the CTC route, 1050 miles. We swapped stories for most of the train ride probably boring the rest of the carriage to sleep. At Inverness, we met our Scotrail van driver and collected our bikes. After saying our farewells, Tony went to look for his Glasgow train and I set off for the last 5 miles to Leanach Farm B&B for the night.

When I was settled in to my lodgings, it was time to pack the bike for its plane journey. I had booked a cab for the morning to take me and the bike to the airport 5 miles away, no more cycling to do now! My work colleague, Paul, had sent some packing material up to the B&B in advance as instructed. Perfect planning again! I finished the job and then walked up the road to the Culloden Moor Inn for dinner. I shared a table and conversation with fellow B&B guests Doris & Gerhardt from Vienna, Austria. On the walk back I could just squeeze 1 bar of signal from my mobile phone so quickly phoned home to say goodnight to the family. The last call until I was to return - I cant wait!