Day 9 – Rogart to Tongue

We knew this was going to be an easy day, so we were in no hurry to leave. When we’d finally stopped at the shop and cooked our bacon rolls, it was close to 10am so we made a move.
The first ten miles to Lairg were into the wind and uphill, so warmed us up nicely. Brilliant scenery though, and very quiet roads – I’d definitely recommend this over the A9 to John O’Groats.
After Lairg the road splits into the Durness road and the Tongue road. We opted for the latter in order to have an easy day. This is the only A road in Britain to be single track with passing places, so it was understandably quiet.

I have been to many places in Scotland, and have always been in awe of the scenery, but this takes it up a notch. No signs whatsoever of human intervention for literally miles and miles. Even Rannoch Moor cannot compete with this. All we had was the road and nothing else.

Out of the blue, a couple of buildings appeared – the hamlet of Crask. We stopped into the Crask Inn, noting a couple of other cyclists already inside.

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Arriving inside, we found these two cyclists to be on a quick two day tour via Durness, and one of them being the writer Cameron McNeish – ie the guy who wrote the Munro book and probably the one person who best carries on Tom Weir’s legacy. Both of them were great company, with the four of us sharing anecdotes about touring, route choices and so on. Definitely one of the highlights of the tour. They were soon on their way and we departed a few minutes behind them. We passed them again soon after Altnaharra, as they were opting for a far more graceful rate of travel to ours.

Continuing on the Tongue road, the scenery once again stepped up again. I stopped a few times for photos, giving James ample opportunity to catch up for the obligatory action shot:

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We reached Loch Loyal, and then I had my first sight of Ben Loyal. There are some who say that the Corbetts are more spectacular than the Munros, and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint.
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We descended into Tongue, and headed in for some more food. The Village Store had a Segafreddo sign outside, and a small coffee shop in it. Fantastic coffee finished off a great day’s riding, and finishing that we booked into our accommodation for the night and then got some food in the Ben Loyal hotel.

Tongue itself is a lovely little village, with a couple of nice hotels and plenty to do – I think I’ll probably return there at some point in the future.

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