Thursday, 17 June 2010

Day 12 - Inverness to Crask

No phone coverage again, so this will appear tomorrow I imagine.

Last night we went into Inverness for an Indian, then returned to sample the Dalwhinnie whisky we had brought up the road with us.

We took our leave after breakfast at about 8.30 and headed over the Kessick bridge.  Getting onto it was fairly straightforward although crossing the road wasn't so easy.  The only "help" being a sign saying "High speed dual carriageway - cross with care" - like we hadn't noticed!

The cycle path left the side of the A9 after a while which was a relief.  We saw a sign for The Black Isle Brewery, but we couldn't tell how far off the route it was and also whether or not it would be open so decided to give it a miss.

We continued on until we got to a junction where the A9 took a direct route to the bridge across the Cromarty Firth but the cycle route took a massive detour via Conon Bridge.  We opted for the A9 - no cycle protection which for a relatively new road is ridiculous.  The bridge was much the same - although there was at least a bumpy pavement - which just stopped at the other end.

We regained the cycle route shortly after and then turned onto a B road towards Bonar Bridge.
We got some splendid views across the Dornoch Firth as we approached.  Not too surprisingly there was nowhere selling coffee.  I suspect the Food Safety Act has put anyone doing it on a casual basis out of business.

We got to Ardgay - one shop that sold coffee and no cakes, so pressed on to Bonar Bridge - just another mile up the road where we found a cafe and filled our faces.  We tried phoning a couple of places in Altnaharra for accommodation. Both were fully booked - which was a bit concerning because there is almost nothing between there and the North coast, another 30 miles or so.

We decided to go onto Lairg - another 10 miles up the road - with the option of staying there if we couldn't find anywhere further on.  We found the tourist information - which showed a place called Crask, which has an Inn. Sandy called them - initially they said they were full, but offered us the summer house. Sounded good enough to us so we set off the 12 miles or so, which would leave us only 8 miles short of our target.

The wind was in our faces on a single track A road that just climbed and climbed.  Surely it must go down after the next bend?  We passed the 900 mile mark and then came around the corner to see a farmhouse and The Crask Inn in the middle of nowhere.  It reminds me of the Tan Hill Inn in Yorkshire.

We were welcomed by the proprietors and given a welcome cup of tea.  Sandy is sleeping in the summerhouse and I am in a single room in the main building.

An excellent and unexpected find.

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