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998 miles in 12 days!!!

We finished yesterday (Saturday 19th September 2020).

998 miles in 12 days, we are all feeling relieved and tired. Memories full of the things we have seen and experienced on this ride.


The morning ride on Friday was extraordinary, up the Helmsdale valley following the river and railway to the peat heather moors on top. There cannot be that many A roads that are single track with passing places, but that is the nature of the A897. When we started the sun was up but only reached the hill and mountain tops, when it lit the road and browning bracken the full range of autumn colours was revealed. It was warm and sunny for the first part of the climb to Loch an Ruathair at the source of the Helmsdale River. No wind, just river noise and birdsong in this remotest of parts of the UK. Small settlements, isolated farms, a railway station for two or three houses and a Victorian shooting lodge, a church reachable by a small foot bridge are some of the images that stick in my mind. In the valleys birch trees predominate in the lower parts along the river then forestry higher up, higher still are the heather covered peat moorlands.  



When we stopped we were all quiet, unable to speak, just taking in the stillness of what we saw and heard. Joanna met up with us for coffee, no shops or places to eat for miles, the railway left us at Forsinard and Forsinard Flows, an important RSPB protected area of blanket bog. The descent along to the north coast of Caithness was also sunny, the road crossed the peat coloured foaming streams and even more peaty coloured rivers.


The North Coast felt a significant place to reach, the road gave us glimpses of The Orkneys, Hoy in particular, Dounray and more crofts and farms.  Rain after Thurso and the final leg to John O’Groats finishing as we started in mild but quite pleasant drizzle. The tea we had there was VERY welcome. 



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wonderfully descriptive blog for an amazing feat of endurance! xx

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CALI NORTON
CALI NORTON
Sep 20, 2020

Huge congratulations, Anthony and Jo......what an amazing achievement! The spectacular views and clear, sometimes lyrical (!) descriptions have been a joy to see and read. Thank you for letting us share this great adventure with you!


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Unknown member
Sep 20, 2020

Heartiest congratulations. A brilliant achievement. And you’ll be glad it’s downhill on the way back!

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Brilliant - many congratulations on an awesome achievement. Thanks for letting us share a bit of the experience from the comfort of our sofas. Bet you'll be glad to sit on one of those for a change too!

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What a fantastic trip, well done all of you!!! I'm sure there'll be many a story to tell and we want to hear them all

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