Thursday, June 08, 2006

Day 14 - Kingussie

A “Welcome to the Highlands” sign awaited Martin as he reached the summit of the Drumochter Pass today, crossing the border into the Highlands of Scotland. I know he’s getting close to the end now because there are only a few pages left in the road atlas. He himself feels the end is in sight, although he is anything but blasé about it, taking each day as it comes – “it’s not in the bag until I’m past Inverness.”

Martin has pedalled another 73.58 miles, ending the day camping in a farm field 1 mile east of Kingussie, 7 – 8 miles SW of Aviemore. It has been another hot day, but he is in good spirits and his knee is perfectly OK, although he can feel the saddle giving him new sores. Mental note to self: must remember to put a cushion in car when collecting him from Carlisle.

He says that everything has been different since he hit Scotland. It has everything going for it. It was a pleasant ride to Pitlochry, with fantastic scenery. The Drumochter Pass gave him spectacular views of the Grampian Mountains, being one of the highest and most remote passes in Scotland, and was a gentle ascent and descent along its 18 miles.

He met three cyclists doing the ‘end to end’ journey from north to south; Greg Parent from Canada, Peter Johnson from Liverpool and John Hayter from Southampton. Two of them had previously cycled across Canada.

The only downside for Martin now seems to be the daily grind of setting up home at the end of each day, and laboriously packing it all away again into the panniers a few hours later. Not for much longer though; he thinks he will reach John O’Groats on Saturday night or Sunday morning, travelling back to Carlisle on Monday. I’d better start searching for train timetables.

PS Remember the campsite just outside Dalkeith, where Martin arrived after the shop had closed, and he would have to pay at 9am when it opened? He packed up super-quick, and cycled off at 6.40am!


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