Today was planned as something of a contingency day, I nearly had a shot at a 9 day LeJog with this route, but thought it was a good idea to get to to the highlands with some time to spare in case of bad weather. So as it turned out I was in no shape to go for 9 days and tried to recover and prepare for day 10 instead.
The morning started with a very steep climb out of Drumnadrochit, possibly the steepest of the whole trip, or maybe its just that I wasn't warmed up...but anyway it was traffic free and very pleasant once getting up top, avoiding Inverness and that horrible A9 too. Here's the profile, short but nasty hills:
After that I did drop briefly onto that A9 road but found the total lack of a shoulder and all the big trucks roaring past far too scary and jumped on the B road [b9176] alternative instead. Fellow cyclists, please don't use the A9...its not safe!
Actually a highlight of the day was overhearing a conversation at a services stop on the A9 here between 2 local truckers. To the outsider, they seemed to be talking UTTER gibberish...for a good few minutes. I concentrated hard but could only pick out the odd word...until at the very end of the conversation, one of them piped up with "Alright then Bill, see you Monday then" in perfect clear English.
Reminded me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJVGuxj7AWQ
...erm at least until I realised I was not in England now and they were probably just speaking Gaelic, or, were very, very drunk at the time. Still, it made my day!
The rest if it was a much easier pedal, the shortest on the whole trip at a piffling 95 km / 60 miles. But in good position for "summit day" on day 10...and right in the heart of the Highlands! In Lairg: