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Monday, 13 August 2012

The Uber Challenge - Day 2

If you have read Duff's blog from day one you will realise that we had a splendid day. Day two would also be action packed. However, it started in terrible fashion as I awoke at 5.50 and decided to go and shower I realised it had been raining. This is not great news for our tents as if you touch the tent from inside the rain comes tumbling in. Not great when you are 6 foot 4 in a small tent. This, however, was the least of our worries. I clambered out my tents in just my shorts and by the time I had stood up i was black with midges. I ran for the shower. When i came out I counted 32 swollen bites on my upper body. I also had one on my lip. I got this pic off t'internet. When looking at it imagine the spaces between the midges are full of midges and you may get somewhere close to realising our torment.

We raced to take down our tents and pack our panniers and were on the road for 6.30am and ten miles down by 7.30 where we stopped for refreshments at Bonar Bridge (below).
MMMMMM rolls and garlic sausage 
Our favourite graffiti. A rubbish chicken randomly on a sign near nowhere 

Hey guys! I'm in Bonar Bridge. Sha!
At Bonar Bridge we had to tackle a mountain over to Alness. I had cycled the opposite way a few days before and you could see for miles and miles. When I arrived at the viewpoint with Duff our view wasn't just so great.

Duff's jacket was like a parachute as he'd forgotten a waterproof. Luckily, I had a spare one. Fortunately, the wind was behind us and like Bette Midler said we had the wind beneath our wings.

As we cycled up the hill Duff shouted "Ewan, want to start a band called Max Speed and the Loose Chippings. We'll have free advertisement and promotion all round Scotland". "Great Idea" I shouted back. He replied our first song could be "don't drive, don't drive so, don't drive so fast on me" (to tune of don't stand so close to me by the police). It was light relief from a gruelling slog and high spirits from Duff in trying conditions.

Max Speed 
Next we stopped for breakfast in Evanton. A lovely christian run cafe with a large knitting group in the corner. We helped ourselves to a full cooked breakfast and extra toast. Followed by scones. We were about 30 miles down and it was only about 11.

As we came down the mountain we met a lovely lady. We told her of our intention to skip Dingwall and a 7 mile bend by negotiating a scary A9 Bridge. She said she was terrified whenever she saw cyclists go over that bridge. This news didn't exactly fill us with confidence. She was a lovely woman though and she took our picture.

Our fear new no bounds as we ploughed forward and onto the A9 and over the bridge.
Duff trying to hitch a ride and avoid the cycle

Afterwards, Duff mentioned he thought he had had a healthy respect for heights but it turned out he had an irrational fear of them.

We navigated through small roads and towns such as Culbokie on our way to Inverness when the heavens opened about 12 miles shy of our destination. At this point Duff got the excellent Lauren to book us a B and B in the centre of Inverness. Everything became bearable. We approached the main bridge going into Inverness. A far greater beast than what we had previously conquered. Below you can see Duff slaying the dragon.

Whilst I waited on Duff I had time to make a short video diary.

So we successfully navigated our way into Inverness and to the Glenuig guest house. We got changed and promptly headed for the Kool Runnings Cafe that Duff had told me all about.

What an excellent time we had eating the finest Jamaican food. This was one of my favourite moments of the whole trip. My favourite ever restaurant.

We headed back to the B and B to watch another excellent night of Olympics and I had the great idea of  drying my stuff with the hair dryer. My cycling stuff didn't smell the best anyway after wearing it for 6 consecutive days with just one hand wash but after hairdrying it the stench was unbearable. I don't know what that hairdryer did but it was unpleasant. It was like a skunk with singed hair.

The room was fantastic as were the beds.

Duff crashed out for half 9 and I wasn't much later. We had completed a further 51 miles taking our tally to 88 miles. The rain had made it tough at points but the weather on the whole had been far better than expected and the b and b was an excellent success.

I would also like to remind viewers that Duff only learned to ride a bike in October and on the 14 weeks running up to leaving he went 3 cycles with me. I'm not sure if he did anymore on his own. His adventure so far meant he must have incredible natural fitness and will power that he chooses to use whenever he can be bothered which, isn't often.

Remember you can sponsor us with Duff's charity being The Erskine charity - go here to sponsor or text LLCI81 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

and my charity is Alzheimer Scotland - you can go here to sponsor: or text JGGO80 £5 (or whatever amount) to 70070 

Any sponsorship will be greatly appreciated. 

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