Day 10 – Tongue to John O’Groats
By this point in the ride, we had got into a rhythm in the mornings. Up, shower, pack, breakfast, leave. However, today was our last day, and a short one at sixty miles so we were in no hurry to make a move. After our final hearty breakfast in the Weavers B&B near Tongue, we started out in the traditional light drizzle we had become accustomed to.
Very early into this ride, we realised it was not going to be a simple sixty miler, with the coastal rode undulating considerably. Every downhill was greeted with dread, knowing that the other side of the valley would yield a horrible climb to be conquered. I don’t think the hills were as bad as Cornwall – but they were close!
We kept up a steady pace, only stopping once we reached Reay – a few miles short of Thurso. A quick refreshment stop saw us back on our way. We stopped again in Thurso at a Tesco, noting a full twenty miles left to go.
It was during this last stretch where my first injury appeared. I had hurt my knee several years back in an adventure race, and since then it hadn’t given me many issues. However, this time it made pedalling painful all the time, so I had to dose up on the ibuprofen and ease off.
The last section seemed to go on forever, with each sign to John o’Groats being checked for an ever decreasing distance.
We finally arrived just as the clouds cleared to find a car park, a couple of shops and a cafe. It was a lot better than I expected, or at least less bad than I’d been told it was like.
It honestly felt a bit deflating arriving there, with a tinge of regret that the trip had ended. While we were both happy, relieved and surprised we’d managed it, I personally wanted to keep going as I had become accustomed to just riding my bike all day.
We did feel smug though, and certainly superior to the daytrippers arriving by coach, as we’d just cycled the entire length of the country in ten days…