Crask to Thurso

We had a lovely night at the Crask Inn thanks to the hospitality of Mike and Kai. Great locally sourced highland cooking at its best.

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The weather was forecast for rain and some strong southerly winds and that’s just what we got. Thankfully the first 30 miles was an undulating trip down the Strathnaver trail which took in more spectacular landscape and some places of historic importance like Rosal, a settlement decimated during the infamous Highland clearance.

While we were taking in our beautiful surroundings it had not escaped our notice that the tripometer was edging nearer a major milestone…

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That was cause for a celebration, a mug of coffee and chance to dry out at the Bettyhill hotel. From here, things started to get harder with the route now sticking to the dramatic coastline with its hilly road taking in some amazing bays and high headlands.

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The sun was out however, and despite having to pedal down the south facing hills we were making reasonable time.

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Coming into Thurso past Scrabster harbour we had a great view of Orkney just as a rainbow arched over it’s towering southern cliffs. A fitting end to our penultimate day.

Inverness to The Crask Inn

As I mentioned before, we really liked Inverness. Not however to the extent of living here for the rest of our natural lives which was the prospect we faced as we tried in vain to navigate out of the city this morning. Someone in the temporary signage department really needs to get a grip if they don’t want a whole series of cyclists careering off the Kessock bridge due to an ill placed diversion sign.

Eventually clear of the city and on the open road again, we stopped off for a coffee in Dingwall before beginning our climb up to Cadha Mor. With the sun shining and a breeze from the east we gradually gained height through the lowland farms in this pretty part of the highlands. Finally, cresting the rise to bring us within sight of our lunch stop we were met with one of the most spectacular views in Sutherland.

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After a fairly rapid descent to the valley floor, we came to Bonar Bridge. This was the place where back in October we first hatched the End to End plan.

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Best soup and bread of the trip award goes to the Caley cafe in Bonar, and most dramatic castle setting to Carbisdale that we past later on the road to Lairg. Here we paused at the shop for supplies before heading out into the remote moorland in search of the Crask Inn.

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We found it after about an hour with a great tail wind, through what has to be one of the most stunning areas of countryside we had past on our journey so far.

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