A largely gentile downhill trek today but the temperature certainly dropped a fair bit as I could see my breath in the early afternoon.
The early part of my route followed along the Shin and railway line; comes from Inverness to Lairg and onwards to Thurso.
|Footpath and cyle access alongside Oykell Viaduct at Invershin (1867 by the Sutherland Railway Company) over Kyle of Sutherland - the slippery metal steps at the far end were not much fun carrying a 37kg loaded bicycle up!|
There is then normally an option of a summer route that uses the Nigg-Cromarty ferry, the normal summer service in each direction is every 15 minutes. - unfortunately due to there being no ferry at present this was not an option for me. My personal thanks to Mik Malster (an amazingly hard-core cycle adventurer in the UK and overseas and frequenter of the Goddard Arms in Clyffe Pypard) who I met at Tongue SYHA for letting me know that there ferry was probably not operating and to check first!
A new Cromarty Queen ferry is being delivered this month but alas too late for me to use - it was originally expected to in use May 2010. However, the concept of a turntable to enable four cars to go in and out the same is quite neat. The new vessel replaces the Cromarty Rose which only took 2 cars.
I then chose to travel along the northern shore of the Cromarty Firth via Invergordon - a relatively quiet route with a good view of the Firth.
As I approached Inverness there were more dedicated traffic rides. These must be great for commuters and in fact I passed by several fairly contented looking people using them in the by now heavy drizzle.
Personally, I found Inverness a very pleasant place to cycle into and it clearly has done a great deal to improve the main thoroughfares to be pedestrian friendly.