Oh, the wind, the wind…Day 2: Helmsdale to Dingwall

A very restful evening was spent in Helmsdale Hostel and a chance to reflect on the day’s cycling and the one ahead. The hostel was very quiet with only two other guests, a couple from Southampton who were on their last leg of a tandem ride from Lands End. It was both wonderful and daunting to hear about what to expect in the days ahead. Some great cycling tips were shared too. By the way, we would highly recommend the hostel if you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods – good decor, comfy sofas and very clean. The roaring wood burner is a nice touch on a chilly evening too.

After the best night’s sleep since leaving home, the obligatory porridge and cuppa for breakfast, Jer set off on the 56 miles to Dingwall. The weather forecast for today predicted light cloud with showers and sunny spells and moderately light winds. It was certainly all of the above but without the rain…at 7am at least.

As yesterday, today’s route followed the A9 for much of the way hugging the North Atlantic coast down through Brora, Golspie, Loch Fleet, Domoch Firth, Alness and into Helmsdale on the A862. The first 20 miles was pretty flat (for the Highlands) and so was the next 20 when there a scheduled stop near Balnagown River.  The only real difference was the appearance of rain for much of the ride between the 20 and 40 mile stops. With it came stronger winds, and in particular some vicious side winds going over the causeway across Domoch Firth. The rain gave way to short showers but the wind never really died down and although the remainder of the ride continued to be relatively level, the wind made it much, much harder than it should have been. At some points, Jer was cycling hard…downhill! Despite blowing a hoolie, Jer decided to extend the today’s leg just beyond Dingwall itself to make an easier start in the morning. In total, Jer clocked up 59 miles  in 5 hours and 14 minutes of cycling today. Not only the furthest yet but the furthest he’s ever cycled in one day!

We’re staying at a budget hotel tonight rather than a hostel as there aren’t any around Dingwall. So we’re off to Garve to chill for a few hours before going back to Dingwall for fresh supplies.

After two days of great cycling, Jer is in high spirits and is both flattered and extremely grateful for the constant enthusiasm and support for his challenge from family and friends. Sponsorship and pledges are coming in every day and the generosity of everyone is astonishing.

3 Responses to “Oh, the wind, the wind…Day 2: Helmsdale to Dingwall”

  1. Nathaniel McConnell says:

    Hey guys, good to hear your still alive. Really quite encouraging! Well done Pa for what sounded like a henious day in the highlands. KEEP IT GOING BOYO! Doing everyone proud. Thinking of you guys while I’m in brum revising, which is very dull indeed. Let me know if you’re going to be passing through Birmingham on your ride??? I’ll come and watch as Jer cycles past, I’ll wear a little dress and hold a cup of water, which I’ll let you drink. Anywho, Maren and I send our love! Looking forward to reading the blog tomorrow! lots of love! xxxxxx

  2. Wellden family says:

    Grannie says she’s totally gobsmacked and impressed. Boasting about you to all her friends. (Grannie’s 81 today).

  3. Paul and Elaine says:

    Well done guys! we finished yesterday at 3.15 really tough winds as you say. We shall be watching!

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