Scotland bike tour: Day 0 (Saturday, July 13)

Lots of pics of this day of the tour are here.

The trip started out well. Yesterday evening Simon I caught the 19:15 train to London King's Cross, then rode to Euston Station to catch the Caledonian Sleeper, which departed at 21:05. We met Sue, Neil, and Greta as we got on board.

We got a small compartment to ourselves, with bunk beds, and a couple of shelves. The lower shelf looked like a kitchen countertop, and it lifted to reveal a sink with hot and cold running water! We read for a while, then brushed our teeth (using the complimentary toothbrush we found in a little purple bag on our beds) and went to sleep. The train made various rattling noises, and you could feel it slow down, speed up, and swung around the bends. I found this very comforting and quickly dropped off to sleep. I felt the train stop a few times during the night.

Getting up in the morning I found that the train had reversed direction! Previously when we looked out the window the train had been going left to right, but now it was going right to left. It must have somehow reversed direction in the night.

The carriage attendant gave us our complimentary breakfasts (chocolate croissant & juice) and apologised for not having tea: the power was out in the lounge car.

Fort George

It was very foggy when I woke up, but by the time we arrived at Inverness, it was brightly sunny, and it stayed that way the rest of the day.

Upon arriving in Inverness the first thing we did was head to a Safeway to take advantage of their cafe, where we loaded up on tea and various breakfast foods, having found the free breakfast insufficient (cyclists need calories!). Then we headed off for a local ride, We cycled northeast to see Fort George, then stopped at a farm shop for tea, lunch, and cakes. We looped round a bit more before heading back into Inverness, having done a total of 37 miles.

I really enjoyed the ride. There were hills, but they weren't too steep, and we went though lots of wooded areas, and there were plenty of wildflowers along the way (foxgloves, which had stopped flowering in England some weeks ago!). I wore shorts the entire day, with a T-shirt on top covered by a long-sleeve shirt for most of the day.

Getting back to Inverness we met Mike and checked into our guesthouse. We took showers, washed the day's clothes.

We met up for dinner at 7pm. We went to Bella Pasta, where I ordered a pasta dish that should have come with lots of veggies. Instead I got a moderate sized portion of pasta with very few veggies. I was still hungry after eating this (very rare for me and pasta dishes!) so I ordered a starter of gnocci, which filled me up. Not too impressed by Bella Pasta, I was.

Back at our guesthouse, we gathered in the sitting room and chatted, and around 10:15 we were all feeling a bit tired, so we headed off to bed.

next day
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