Friday 5th October 2018
12.2 miles today. 1128.84 miles total.
Yesterday was a rest day, so as well as doing lots of stretching and resting I posted my tent, sleeping bag, mat and liner back home.
Even with added food my pack was noticeably lighter this morning.
My starting point was on the A9 on the ‘wrong’ side of the railway line for the coastal John O’Groats Trail. Handy for the distillery for anyone so inclined. I didn’t spend the time visiting it.
High tide at 10am, and the advice of locals meant I decided to start walking on the A9, and then try to join the trail when I could.
One diversionary circle took me to the Caravan site at Dalchalm, then to the Caravan and Camping Club certificated site (flat clean pitches, worth remembering) where I met Kimberley and Cheryl who are exploring the area on fat wheeled bikes, carrying everything with them.
The man who lived next to this sign didn’t think the route was accessible until lower tide.
I’d previously been told that the rivers were probably too deep to cross.
Having explored different options, I eventually walked the whole day on the A9, admiring the views but separated from the beach by tracks, walls, barbed wire, rocks and of course, the sea itself.
Sun and rain were out in equal measure with a strong westerly/ south westerly wind that was sometimes quite helpful at pushing me up the hills.
For the second day running I wore gloves.
The wind that was helping me was hindering John and PegLeg, two men from the surfing community in Cornwall who are travelling the other way. They were pedalling downhill and finding the effort quite draining. But they managed a smile.
It was another day for rainbows. This is a double. The lower rainbow is in front of the hill.
Below is Helmsdale harbour. I’m just up the road in the newly renovated hostel, with lovely warm showers.