day12
The route day 12 is approx. 70 miles. Another day – another ferry. We can avoid a good chunk of the A9 by taking the Nigg ferry across the mouth of the Cromarty Firth. Leave Inverness via A9 (Should be a bike path across (left side) the Kessock bridge.) Immediately after the bridge drop down left to minor road through Charleston and follow under A9 and along to B9161. Right on B9161 to A832. Right on 832 through Fortrose to Cromarty. Ferry across to B9175 and follow to A9. Right on A9 through Tain, cross Dornoch Firth Bridg, on to Golspie and finish in Helmsdale.

The Nigg Ferry: The only ferry service from the Black Isle, travelling between Cromarty and Nigg. The service includes a 50 passenger and 4 car ferry and is one of the smallest car ferries in Britain. The ferry crosses the entrance to the Cromarty Firth, one of the finest natural harbours in Europe and also an area rich in wildlife and world-famous for its dolphin population. Running from 19th May 2011 to the 30th September including Sundays, the service operates from 8:00 am to 6:15 pm, and until 7:15 pm in July and August, Monday to Saturday, and from 9:00 am on Sundays. The ferry leaves Cromarty on the hour and half-hour, and leaves Nigg at quarter to and quarter past the hour.

There are four small climbs – otherwise fairly straight-forward.

Dull terrain but we are getting closer.

We had a great dinner last night in “Little Italy” in Inverness, then to pub to watch the footy and get some more blogging done.  Boring game so had a drink then went back to our van to get some sleep.  I left the others behind as they wanted more.

Slept well but again woke far too early because we had (yes I know you won’t believe it) bright sunshine.

We rushed out after breakfast to get on the road and after the usual pumping up tyres filling bottles, fighting over the bananas we were on our way.  It was sunny enough for me to wear my shades but on principle I refused to.  I have had them with me since day one and day 12 I get to use them ?  Dave and Paul even applied some sunscreen, I personally think that is tempting fate a little but who knows.

A really crappy ride out of Inverness on the A9 with loads of traffic but within 30 mins we were down some little B road and peddling along quite nicely….. This road led us up a quite steep hill and but finished up at the Cromarty to Nigg Ferry cutting out quite a bit of the A9. They made us pay even though Paul told them we were doing a charity ride for H4H

Paul coming off the Nigg Ferry.

Paul coming off the Nigg Ferry.

There is nothing much to report.  The scenery was flat and rather uninteresting but today was just about getting the next 70 ish miles out of the way.  The ride was going really well and we settled into quite a fast pace but still had time to take jokey pictures.

Dave being restrained from abandoning his task for a more entertaining afternoon!

Dave being restrained from abandoning his task for a more entertaining afternoon!

We soon  arrived at Tain where we stopped for Tea.

After Tain we hit the main road again and for 35 miles had a very strong headwind that was very difficult to make progress against.  We really struggled for those last miles and Dave and I were very happy to arrive at Helmsdale.

On the road to Helmsdale

On the road to Helmsdale

Helmsdale looking very welcoming

Helmsdale looking very welcoming

The van was parked in the local pub car park and Rob had left the “Gone Fishing” sign on the van.

Bikes locked up for the night while we go to the pub

Bikes locked up for the night while we go to the pub

We showered and went for a wander round town… being last in the shower the water was very hot, Thanks chaps, they got cold water!

Not a lot else to say about today, except It was MUCH harder than we anticipated and I and really happy that stretch is over.

To finish the day we had an enormous plate of fish and chips so now just about asleep!!!!!

 

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