Day 16 – Tomintoul to Inverness

We stayed in a wonderful B&B in Tomintoul that did the most amazing breakfast.  Most of us had porridge followed by scrambled egg with smoked salmon for breakfast.

Probably the most notable thing about Tomintoul is the whisky shop with over 500 whiskies.  The pub where we had dinner had impressive collection including about a dozen Tomintoul varieties (we tried the peatiest of theirs, which was good).

Anyhow, today was short and relatively flat, though with a killer hill near the start, but with a fierce headwind most of the day.  So we set off round the Northern edge of the Cairngorms to Bridge of Brown and our last really bad climb of the Cairngorms at 13%, and Rob pushed Norman some of the way up that from his bike.

We then had a long flattish road round the side of Hills of Cromdale with fantastic views across the Cairngorms.

From there we dropped down to the pretty little town of Grantown-on-Spey, where I bought a new front tyre as mine had developed an annoying kink.  Annoying because it touched the mudguard each time round so my cycling was accompanied by tchk-tchk-tchk and a wobble at high speeds.  We also called in on a coffee shop, where some of us indulged

Grantown used to be on the railway and someone seems to rebuilding the station and 100m of track on the way in with a couple of old carriages on, but on the way out we came across this combined railway bridge and lodge

and so into the wind for a tiring time up “Dutch mountains” to lunch at Dulsie Bridge.  A huge high bridge over a massive gorge that has been flooded up to within a metre of the keystone.

There Andrew left us to cycle ahead, and reach John O’groats a day early as he needs to be in London.

I called in at Cawdor Castle, and so to the viaduct and burial cairns at Clava


And so into Inverness.  In the final mile or so I fell off my bike and managed to land on both knees, so we will see in the morning how they are and how much of a struggle it is.

Meanwhile, Andrew has reached Dingwall.