Day Five – Wednesday 2nd May
The day started with a long ride around Loch Eriboll. There is plenty of WWII history linked to this Loch and the surrounding area. In particular the surrendering of 33 German U-boats in 1945.
Leaving the Loch we headed due East, with the road being very undulating, hardly any significant flat stretches. The never-ending descent on the approach to the Kyle of Tongue followed by the scenic crossing of the Kyle on the elevated A838 was a particular highlight. See photo below.
There were long stretches of road without much in the way of services, so forward planning food and drink, and taking the opportunity to visit any open café or pub that was was key.
Fortunately I had made sure that my two rear panniers were not full at the start of the trip. This allowed me to carry plenty of spare food during the day. There were many occasions during the trip when we cycled for 25km or more without seeing any food / drink stops.
We ended up approaching Thurso towards the end of the afternoon, at what must have been a shift change at the nearby Dounreay Power Station, as the roads were very busy. The hour or two cycling into Thurso, and out the other side onto Casteltown was a low point of the trip The traffic was fast, dense and not especially cyclist friendly.
When we came back to Thurso (on Thursday ) we used the National Cycle Route 1 which passed through Westfield and Shebster. This was much more pleasant, and I recommend this as the way to approach Thurso from the west.
In evening we visited Dunnet Head, which was about an hour’s ride there and back from the Castletown Hotel. I enjoyed Dunnet Head in that it was basic without any commercialisation. A simple stone sign, and some information maps. The views were dramatic, and the Orkney Isles appeared closer than I expected.
Details of Day Five
From Durness to Castletown, Thurso (plus trip to Dunnet Head) – Distance 125km, Ascent 1779m
Evening trip to Dunnet Head – Distance 23km, Ascent 181m
Strava Activity - NC500 Day 5
Overnight Accomodation - Castletown Hotel