Wednesday May 6, 2015. Day 23

Lairg to Bettyhill: 72km

How many times do a doctor and a lawyer have to get their feet wet before they implement creative solutions? The answer? Too many. (Partly due to an irrational adherence, in the face of repeated failure, to the belief that the expensive gear we have purchased should actually work.)

The proprietor of the Park House B&B in Lairg told us that the Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) run is referred to locally as the “rat run” (or, in our case”drowned rat”). This morning, we decided to encase our feet in plastic bags. (Lois’ idea). This was not a perfect solution but did delay the eventual soggy socks.

It rained again almost all day and the wind was either in front or to the side. Lois decided she was receiving free microdermabrasion from the sting of the rain, today from the other side!

The NCN#1 is on the A386, which, just north of Lairg, becomes a single lane with passing places, but, fortunately, with little traffic.

The highlight of our day was our coffee stop at the Crask Inn, miles from any other habitation. The bar was warm, but empty, so we rang the bell and the delightful landlady appeared and offered us coffee. She ushered us into a lounge, with a fire, where Janet, a woman from Warwick, who is walking the opposite route (“JOGLE”), (and mostly staying in bothies) was sitting reading, enjoying a day off after her first 6 days. We were chatting when suddenly two men walked in and went immediately to the grand piano in the corner of the toom. One of the men, who was wearing bike shorts, launched into a wonderful rendition of “Summertime”, while being videoed by the other. Another man then arrived in bike shorts and only one leg, who followed with a little ragtime. In the bar, we met the rest of the team of three legs, 2 bikes and 1 piano who are on the JOGLE raising money for “Wings for Warriors”. Sarah, a young British woman living in Berlin cycling from Lands End had also stopped to warm up.

AN alternative to the #1 was a slightly shorter and gentler route north along the Strathnevan Trail. Many of the sights/ sites were off the road but we stopped to look at one about the clearances, which were especially brutal here, and also the possible burial ground of the Red Priest. This pile of stones could easily be missed, but has historical significance.

Our destination was the Bettyhill Hotel, which gives a commanding view of the North Atlantic. Luckily. we could eat dinner in the hotel where delicious Cullen Skink was on special.

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