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Monday, May 5, 2014

Day 9 Lands End - John O'Groats - Lands End On A Honda C90

A better night's sleep which was probably more down to my own personal chemist, cheers "Tizzy" those tablets worked well!

I felt better in myself but my leg was still very sore, and I did wonder how I would cope with gear changes and my knee being bent for most of the day.

I managed to get all my gear down stairs slowly and loaded up "Lucille". Today was the day that I hit John O'Groats!

I eventually managed to get away and it felt good to be back on "Lucille" and what made the day even better was the wind had died down considerably and the sun was shining.

I had arranged to leave my luggage panniers at the hostel, so with just my tool panniers and spare fuel/tyres I set out to hit my target corner.

The roads and scenery was spectacular until I hit Thurso, from then on in the roads and views were fairly non descript.

One thing I should mention was the state of the roads in the Highlands. They were perfect, very rarely did I see a pot hole and some of the roads were billiard table smooth which meant riding a bike was a joy. Nothing worse than having to dodge pot holes with a heavy bike.

Through Thurso and on towards John O'Groats. I thought I would of been more excited than I felt, but with a long way to go this was really only half way!

I reached John O'Groats around 0930hrs. Nothing much happening and to be honest not a lot there either.


The sign post was in place, so I grabbed a photo opportunity with the help of a man whose son was just about to attempt an End to End challenge on a push bike, but not only was he doing it on a push bike but it was being done in just 3 days! Now that is mental!

I then hit the only tourist shop that was open and bought a couple of souvenirs and a sticker for "Lucille".

I was slightly relieved to have managed to get this far, and now even if I did have a problem with the bike at least I can say I have completed a Lands End to John O'Groats. I am an End to Ender!

I then had to get my verification paper work stamped which I found out was back up at the hotel I had passed on the way in. Here I stopped for a coffee and a quick break before I retraced my steps back towards Tongue and the hostel.

The sun was lovely and it was a joy to ride, my knee wasn't giving me too many problems, all though a couple of times I had some fairly serious twinges which did make me utter a few choice words!





I stopped in Tongue to refuel at the local shop, this done it was a 2 minute trip to the hostel to collect my panniers.

Once loaded it was across the Kyle of Tongue on the bridge which was very picturesque and on to my next check point of Durness.

This was the part of the journey that I was looking forward to the most. Amazing scenery, with mountains to my left and a rugged coastline to my right.

I could of stopped so many times for photographs, but with a dead line of being back in Cornwall for the Friday night. It was now a race against time!

Durness does not have a lot happening in it. In fact it is very hard to work out where it starts and finishes, so I sort of cruised through taking the odd picture but not really stopping. The views were amazing. 

Every corner you went around a new vista came into view, many long sweeping bends then tight hair pins kept you well and truly on your toes!

The roads out this far were in most places single track with passing places. Being early April the tourist season had not kicked in so for the most part the roads were clear.

Every now and again I would see a biker all loaded up like myself, a nod of the head or a wave was always given and returned.

With another corner ticked off, it was now down hill and South all the way!

Heading South on the A894 through Scourie and some breath taking scenery. On past Unapool and then towards Ullapool.

As I approached Ullapool I spotted a campsite which over looked Loch Broom. It did look very picturesque but it was a bit early to stop, however I was starving and with the trawlers all tied up and the catch in for the day, the fish and chips shopped seemed like an obvious choice.

The haddock was amazing, I've no idea if it was caught locally or not, but it was some of the best fish and chips I have ever had.

Sat outside in the evening sun looking out over the quay. Here I was approached by a guy who had a BMW GS and was a little surprised at how I was managing to do the ride on my little Honda C90. 

It seems it never ceases to amaze people how well it actually copes as an adventure bike!

The Honda C90 is truly an exceptional bike. So far it had performed and done exactly as it was meant to. Yes it's slow but who want's to go fast with the sort of scenery I was surrounded by. Fuel consumption was between 60 to 80mpg and what with it being loaded up with a fat bloke and all his gear who can complain at that!

Mechanically, there were no problems, and she was a joy to ride.

I decided to push on for another hour or so as it was only 1800hrs and there was plenty of light left.

After riding for around 2hrs a quick fuel stop I decided I would stop at the next camp site or where ever I thought a good place for a bit of wild camping.

As luck would have it after just 15 minutes a sign for a camp site appeared and I pulled in. Not a lot of life, but as if by magic a lady appeared and she said I could stay. Once more I wish I knew exactly where I was, but the name of the place escapes me!

I was a cracking little site with showers/loo's etc and even a place to wash up. It looked up towards the hills and had a river at the bottom of the field. It was ideal.

Straight into my routine, all though I was a little slower putting my tent up due to my knee playing me up.


Still full from my fish and chips no cooking was required but a brew and a couple of Tunnock's Tea Cakes did the trick nicely.

I slept soundly, my knee and ankle still sore, but I think a long hot shower before I got into my maggot definitely helped.

The picture above was first thing the following morning, a hard sharp frost had set in over night. I should also say my sleeping bag kept me roasty warm and the Vango 3/4 self inflating sleeping mat kept me well insulated from the ground. Not only that but it was extremely comfortable as well. Highly recommended for lightweight travelling.

A number of times I packed the tent away wet, I always left the inner attached as this sped up the setting up process. However it did make the inner wet. But, after the tent was up it took literally minutes before the inner tent was dry as a bone. I wiped out the inner floor with a dry cloth and all was well. The Vango Banshee 200 was a wise purchase.

The next day would be my last in Scotland, and to be honest all I wanted to do at this stage was get the trip completed.

The journey continues...........................


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