14 July 2008

Towards the north...

On my way towards the northern shore I pass by deserted valleys with gravel roads and incredibly splendid lush green nature.
The wind hits Scotland hard, so often there are no trees and just little shrub. Whatever resists the wind is usually eaten by the sheep.
Except for the thissle with its well developed defence. It is the Scottish national flower - you find it on some of the Scottish one pound coins and otherwise everywhere over Scotland.

Sometimes when I open my tent in the morning there is a funny surprise waiting for me. Well, to be fair, I guess those two rams in front of my door were just as surprised as I was. Luckily, after a short first-contact-staredown they opt for the peaceful option and tolerate me and the funny sounds that emerge from my early morning coffee cooking.

My days are getting a certain routine now. I usually get up around 8 and prepare breakfast. Packing, dressing and loading takes roughly an hour so I normally leave the place where I sleep around 10.
Every day I start off cycling in a low gear and pretty slow for about half an hour to warm up my muscles. Every hour or so i stop and have a snack and tea or coffee. The thermos I originally carried with me during the winter proves very handy even in the summer - I just boil water during breakfast and then usually have tea and coffee until the afternoon.

Every day, the scenery changes a little. Hills, forests, beaches, cliffs, moores, dunes, highways. Just looking at the scenery is so entertaining I hardly ever get bored. And if so, I listen to music or play roadside scrabble (see picture) or give my contribution to the heritage of standing stones... :)
One rainy day I arrive at the little wooden birdwatch shelter on the picture above. What a luxury! There is a bench, a table and windows in all directions!!! I stay for two days, read, relax and watch herons, ducks and oyster pickers at work.

When I arrive on the north shores I decide to climb "Ben Hope", a smaller peak that offers a nice view onto the highlands and the coastline. Ahhhhh...!
The road to Ben Hope has been one of the most beautiful during my whole trip. If anybody is interested to cycle up here, this strip isquite easy with fantastic views and suitable even for children.
Send me a message and we can work out your route details.

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