Walk Day 67 – Alness to Dornoch

Day 67 – June 18 Alness to Dornoch
 Weather: Sunny and windy  B&B: Amalfi B&B (£35)
 Departed: 8:10 Arrived: 15:30  Walked: 6h 26m Rested: 0 hr 45m
 Distance Today: 20.7 mi / 33.31 km  Total Distance: 1088.1 mi / 1751.13 km
 % Complete: ~ 93.00%  Pint of the Day: McEwan’s 80 Shilling
 GPS Track for: Day 67

Today’s nearly 22-mile plod was a tiring one but the road sign I spotted just before the Dornoch Firth Bridge boosted my energy levels (slightly).

I got an early start and headed out of Alness by way of some quiet backroads. It was bright and sunny but the wind was from the north and it was decidedly chilly early on. I rejoined Cycle Route #1 and headed north towards Scotsburn. There were some good views of the Firth and I spotted several more oil rigs and one cruise ship. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before the Firth disappeared and for the next couple of hours I trudged through woodlands, pine forests and farmland.

The roads were pretty quiet after the rush hour subsided, although the traffic was much less than what I experienced back in Uphall a couple of weeks ago. I kept expecting Tain to appear on the horizon but the terrain was such that I didn’t see it until I walked into it at exactly 12pm.

I’d logged 12 miles so far and was in need of a break so I stopped into the local Co-op Food store and found a bench in the town center. One tip for overseas End-to-Enders: many chains (Co-op, Tesco’s, Boots, etc.) offer a good value meal deal consisting of a sandwich, snack and a drink for £2-£3.

Tain is another pretty little town that I would have liked to have spent more time in but I still had 8 to 9 miles to make so after my break I headed west to pick up the A9. There were some great views of Dornoch Firth and Dornoch as I followed the grassy verge towards the bridge. I had to smile when I saw “John O’Groats” on a sign for the first time since Land’s End.

A short distance after crossing the Dornoch Firth Bridge I cut through a field to link up with a quiet road that would lead me all the way to Dornoch. A couple of miles out I spied another backpacker heading towards me. Her name was Kate and she was the first End-to-Ender I’ve met heading from John O’Groats to Land’s End. She had set out on Monday afternoon and was hoping to average 25 miles a day. We had a quick chat, wished each other well and then headed off in opposite directions.

When I finally reached Dornoch I was really looking forward to putting my feet up. My b&b was a 5-minute walk out of town but I headed back to town for dinner and for a brief sightseeing tour. Dornoch is a fine town with a lot of handsome buildings and a fine Cathedral.

I just finished watching England play Algeria and the less said the better. England’s hopes now depend on their performance on Wednesday afternoon and it’s likely it will all be decided by the time I walk / stumble / crawl into John O’Groats.

4 thoughts on “Walk Day 67 – Alness to Dornoch

  1. Hi Steve, I have been following your daily blogs since you stayed at our guest House (Sunrise) in Bude Cornwall. I have very much enjoyed your observations and commentaries and would just like to wish you well and congratulate you in anticipation of the completion of your walk. Has there been any item that you packed but not used, has there been any item that you wished you had packed?

    Best Wishes John

    • Hi John, thanks very much. The only thing I’ve carried and not used is a backpacking towel but since it weighs so little I’ve not sent it home. The only thing I’ve had to purchase over here are a couple of pair of socks and a small bottle of laundry soap. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog and I certainly enjoyed my stay in Bude (and the Indian food I had there has been the best of the trip). Cheers, Steve.

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