There was supposed to have been a second person in the LEJOG cabin where I was staying but they hadn’t turned up by morning which is always a bit of a worry. I asked the hotel owner if they’d heard from them (not that I knew the person who was supposed to be there, but it’s part of the camaraderie of cycling) and they hadn’t. I hope that they’re OK and just decided to stop at Lairg or something.
Anyway, I was quite excited to get going that morning and took a tip from the hotel owner to take the right hand turn at the cross roads just after leaving Altnaharra to bypass Tongue and one of the climbs of the day. It turned into a really quiet road filled with roaming sheep although I did feel like I was getting eaten alive going past those lochs. There was nothing you could do to avoid those midges!
Once past Bettyhill there were a few long climbs which seemed wholly unnecessary for the final day but once past those you were flying along. I bumped into the red support van I saw the day before quite a few times and when I stopped for lunch at a tiny pub there was a congregation of the cyclists with that trip. Turns out it was their official pit stop for lunch and they had a set menu of soup and sandwiches. Thankfully since I was by myself I was allowed food off the normal menu and had a brilliant lunch of chips and sausages while the pub labrador looked up at me with begging eyes and a sniffing nose. This must’ve been precisely what my engine needed (plus the can of full fat coke) to power me to the end. My fear at the day being hilly was a misinterpretation of the profile since any undulations from this point on really weren’t bad at all. Once I got to Thurso I let my parents know I was about 20 miles away and I would be a maximum of two hours (not knowing entirely what the terrain would be like). Apparently I did it in about 1 hour 15 minutes, thankfully they had anticipated my increase in speed.
I got to John O’Groats just after 3pm, took some photos, got a hug off one stranger and a handshake off another. The two guys I’d met at Lands End and bumped into just outside of Glasgow turned up about half an hour later which was a lovely circular way to wrap up a trip.