North East Scotland and Orkney – 2009

To continue the Celtic trilogy the 2009 tour was a circular of epic proportions, a 248 mile circular from Inverness airport.  Overnight stays in Elgin (nice) and Turiff (quiet/dead), bases for a two-day coastal ride through fishing villages along the south Moray firth and down to Aberdeen, from where an evening Orkney ferry carried Lindsay and Tom to Kirkwall.

Two nights at a splendid Orkney Guest House as a base for two rides around Orkney visiting settlement ruins and sparse villages.  The second day was a long ride south through Orkney visiting the incredible Italian Chapel before a Pentland ferry and ride to Thurso.  A quiet town is Thurso, with a chinese reataurant as the only dining option.

Two days of rides showing north Scotland at its finest, with stays in Tongue (very picturesque) and Inverness (acceptable mix of tourism, culture and history). The ride south from Tongue to Lairg was simply UK cycling at its finest.

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Day 1 – Tuesday 18 August

Midday flight Bristol to Inverness. Ride to Elgin along Moray coastline.

Day 2 – Wednesday 18 August

More Moray Firth coastline, Elgin to Turriff.  A quite town is Turriff on a Wednesday.

Day 3 – Thursday 19 August

Rainy ride along railway trail from Turriff to Aberdeen for 5 p.m. ferry to Kirkwall. Night ride to Guest House for 11 p.m.

Day 4 – Friday 20 August

Day ride around Orkney to see Larnibister, Stromness and

Day 5 – Saturday 21 August

Ride southwards through Orkney, visit to amazing Italian Chapel visit, then Pentland  ferry from Gill’s Bay to St Margaret’s Hope.  Ride to Thurso.

Day 6 – Sunday 22 August

Hilly ride along north coast from Thurso to Tongue. Late night walk back from pub to Guest House.

Day 7 – Monday 23 August

Brilliant day’s ride from Tongue to Lairg down picturesque single track. Amazing scenery,, in convet with French student cyclists. Lunch at famous Crask Inn, the train ride from Lairg to Inverness.  Cutlural evening walking tour of Inverness.

Day 8 – Tuesday 24 August

Short ride from Inverness to airport.  5 hour wait in departure lounge as plane is certified airworthy after bird strike. Bristol at 10 p.m., Dorset for midnight.

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