Cycling day 36: Latheronwheel to Tain (Again)
Most of today was spent following the A9. It’s not a particularly pleasant road to cycle on with lots of panniers, but there isn’t really any other choice of road for most of today’s journey. The Berriedale Braes were pretty tough — a lengthy 13% gradient down followed by a lengthy 13% gradient up again. I was pleased that I managed it without walking though.
A little north-east of Helmsdale a cycle path suddenly appeared on the far side of the A9, so I crossed over to use it. It soon veered away from the A9 and uses a quiet road before returning to the A9 just outside Helmsdale. It appears that the A9 may have had its alignment altered here, so it may need to be resurveyed for OpenStreetMap (of course we may already have done that; I’m unable to check at the moment.)
Near the end of the day I was able to take an alternative to the A9 for a little while. The alternative took me along the southern shore of Loch Fleet, then swung southward to Dornoch, before finally rejoining the A9 to cross via Dornoch Firth bridge. On the latter portion of this diversion I was lucky to hear the screeching of some birds of prey. I spotted them soon after and managed to capture a photo as they flew overhead. I’ve managed to see some birds of prey on several of my previous cycling days in Scotland, but unfortunately they didn’t get close enough to be discernable in my photographs (I’m only carrying a small point-and-shoot camera).