Tuesday 10thJune 2008
Westhill to Saltburn
The first port of call was the information centre in Inverness. We needed to find another laundrette to enable us to have enough clothes to last the trip. While the clothes were washing we went off to visit St Andrew’s Cathedral, a comparatively modern building built in the 1850’s. One of the cathedrals treasures is the Angel Font, a copy of a similar font in Copenhagen which Bishop Eden saw on his journey to Russia in 1866. Christine especially liked the kneelers at the altar rail which told the story of the Christian Church in Scotland. Later we came back to dry the clothes off and access the internet – internet cafes I’ve heard of but not internet laundrettes. Nevertheless an excellent idea while you’re hanging around waiting. The wind was blowing strongly into our faces and it had started to rain as we made our way across the Kessock Road Bridge to North Kessock. Part way across we stopped to take photos. Just as we were about to start off again there was a shout from behind – two more cyclists had narrowly missed colliding into the back of us on the narrow cycle path. They had had their heads down into the wind and had not seen us until the last minute.
We were beginning to meet up with more end to enders. Long distance cyclists had been very few and far between so far on the trip. Now on the Black Isle we met up with six long distance cyclists within the space of a few miles. Some were keen types who were obviously determined to do the trip in minimum time by keeping on the main roads – others were very laid back pottering along at an even slower rate than us and not knowing where they were going to stop that evening. The rain eased as we crossed the Black Isle and eventually stopped as we ate lunch in a playground in the little village of Munlochy. We then crossed over the Cromarty Firth on the busy A9 and later took tea at the Heritage centre just after the bridge – not much heritage that we could see here – but free cake pieces on offer. The RSPB had had a display outside here during the afternoon but had decided to pack up. They were struggling to dismantle their tent in the wind. At least the wind was now behind us as we made our way along the coast through Evanton and Alness and eventually we reached Invergordon where we sat huddled up on a bench on the shore of the firth with the wind blowing strongly.
Not too much further to Saltburn and the B&B – another grand view from the bedroom window overlooking the firth with the village of Cromarty on the Black Isle in the distance. I was interested to find out that the ferry still runs from Cromarty to the mainland in the summer months – last time I was here I understood it was closed, but that must have been because it was early in the season.
The B&B in Saltburn was different. It was packed with ornaments of every description – mainly of dogs but also a whole zoo and other memorabilia. Not only in the lounge but in every nook and cranny in the house. It is amazing that we came away from the house the following day without having tripped over or knocked over any of these items. The most worrying was the bathroom with a life size alligator on the back of the bath and a row of small china ducks on the front plus various assorted swans and pots around the outside - perhaps our hosts were trying to tell us not to have a bath! Getting in and out of the bath could have been fraught with danger had Christine not had the presence of mind to guide the ducks into a corner.
Mileage 36.9 miles Total 336.2 miles