Day 11 Fort William to Inverness

What a bloody good but hard day. It’s amazing how a day can switch from being very bad to incredible. Overnight my knee had hit a new low. I couldn’t lift my leg onto the bed without lifting it with my hands… but I had the best 10 hour sleep. I was staying in a backpackers hostel in a dorm of 6. I’d chosen it for the price (£17.50) and when I got there I was slightly worried about how well I’d sleep but I had fallen asleep early at 9 and barely woke again til 7am even when others came into the room. Sleep definitely aids general recovery!

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I stopped at the Commando Memorial just past Spean Bridge to pay my respects, take a few photos and appreciate that it has the most stunning view of Ben Nevis. The Wikipedia article on this memorial is an informative read specifically on why it’s place where it is.

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The knee pain brought me to tears at 20 miles when I had sat on the ground in a layby and I tried to stand. So once I got to Fort Augustus 10 teary miles later I bought some strong Ibuprofen and some cheesy chips in an attempt to bring me back up.

I’d recommend 400mg of Ibuprofen to everyone about to tackle General Wade’s Military Road because my knee pain disappeared and I got up it without getting off and walking. I went from not being able to put any weight on that peddle at all to climbing up almost 1200ft. It’s the hardest, longest, steepest (in places) climb I’ve ever done and the euphoria I felt when I got to the top was unlike anything I’d felt on the bike before. I celebrated to loudly with a fist pump that a man in a car parked at the top celebrated with me. It honestly felt left everything I had done om this trip up until this point was to prepare for that climb. Happy hard times. The rain had started to fall half way up so I put on a fleece under my jacket to descend quickly down the other side. According to the data that climb took me an hour and 10 minutes (for about 5 miles) so I needed to make up the time.

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From then on I took the road which followed the Loch (there’s the B road option which takes you away from it but it all joins up before Inverness).

The road following the Loch takes you past the Falls of Foyer which was a lot of steps down a hill. I debated it for a few seconds and decided there was no way I could go past this and miss it since I’m supposed to be seeing the country so down I went. It’s very beautiful and I recommend the stop if you pass (it’s free).

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It was still raining so I pushed on towards Inverness. There weren’t anymore major climbs but plenty of undulations to take me back down into the small chainring. At one point I noticed the time felt wrong and upon closer inspection I realised the Garmin had frozen 20 minutes earlier. I panicked, restarted it and kept my fingers crossed (and anger at bay) that no data would have been lost again like in the Lakes. Looking at Strava I dont think anything was lost but as a precaution I’m no longer using the map function for the rest of the trip once I’m out of Inverness tomorrow.

Oh, as a welcome to Inverness some small dick of a boy racer overtook me with about an inch to spare. There wasnt anything coming and it was a long straight road I can only assume he’s been lied to about how big the couple of inches actually is. Dick. Don’t jeopardise my trip because you’re selfish. The driving I’ve experienced on the 840 miles so far has been largely brilliant. It’s a shame the worst happened on a day which had brought me up to such a high. Anyway, a good dinner and a good sleep and a big push to Altnaharra tomorrow.

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