Saturday, 12 September 2015

Lejogle - Day 8

Let’s start with the bad news, for fans of “Welcome To” signs, there will sadly be none today. The reason will become apparent.

The day started off as normal with my dad waking me at 7:00 (I don’t think I’ve actually been asleep any of the days but, if he didn’t call for me, I’d try to stay in my sleeping bag). It was dry but then there were a few spots of rain and then a lot more. We packed up and set off towards Perth at about 8:50.

Having seen the rain was forecast to last all day, I had a pair of gloves under my cycling gloves, two pairs of socks on and a Buff around my neck to keep the rain out of my jacket (as it’s a cycling jacket, it doesn’t have a hood).

I immediately got wet but was managing with the cold. I met my dad after about 10 miles and he was wet too. We met again just after Perth in “Layby 1” of the A9 (I’m not sure why the laybys are numbered). The A9 is the trunk road between Perth (which is at the top of the M90, the most northern motorway in the UK) and Thurso (just to the west of John O'Groats). I must say that if I could have worked out another way to go up, that avoided the A9 as far as Inverness, I would have but the other option was up the A93 and that goes over the top of a couple of mountains.

And so we continued up the A9, stopping about every 10 miles. While we stopped every ten miles, the rain didn’t. We both just got wetter and wetter and, with the strong winds and passing traffic, colder and colder. I had my Buff covering my face and ears to keep warm and my dad had a mask over his. At one stop o found my dad with a cloth over his head to keep the rain off but eventually he just left his helmet on.

As we were just following the A9 for about 65 miles, there was no need to talk about the route and there are only so many times that you can say that you’re cold and wet and that you’re sorry to have dragged someone all the way from Cornwall to soak them to the skin, I think that at one stop I didn’t even say a whole word.

I think it was only with about 10 miles to go that I saw a dry bit of ground and shortly afterwards we left the A9 and headed towards Aviemore (the campsite is at Alvie, about four miles from Aviemore).

With it being so wet and with my hands being stuck in gloves, I was unable to take photos during the day. I did take a photo of a rainbow over a loch at the end though.

I arrived at the campsite at about 16:30 and my dad was waiting outside the reception and said that they couldn’t find our booking. I went in and eventually found the email confirmation in the name of “Justin Luke”.

After such a hard day and with the prospect of an hour or two of rain coming, neither of us fancied cooking, so my dad unhooked the trailer and we took the motorbike up to Aviemore. I’ve never been on a motorbike before, it was fun to start with but as I don’t have any trousers with me (excluding the Sponge Bob pyjamas), it was a bit cold on my knees. There wasn’t space at the first two restaurants we tried but we were in luck at the third, maybe that was because their logo looks like my dad.

Tomorrow is another day of the A9 but, as it’s Sunday and we’re going further north, hopefully it will be quieter. I’m also hoping for it to be dry.

Distance today - 97.8 miles
Total distance - 734.2 miles

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