A drizzly morning, cleared to a warm afternoon with some sunshine.
We left our cosy pod in Evanton behind and rejoined the JOG trail passing through Alness.
The JOG trail uses the same route as NCN 1 for most of the way to Tain, there were a couple of sections of path through the forest on the JOG trail, but the cycle route was fairly quiet so we decided to stay on the road. The views were predominantly of oil and gas rigs anchored in the Cromarty Firth.
We reached Tain in time for lunch and we were rather disappointed with the lack of cafes, one we had used previously now only did takeaways and the other was a bit up market for a couple of smelly backpackers. Fortunately the sun had come out so we found a bench to eat a take out lunch from a Harry Gow bakery.
We rejoined the JOG trail and walking through some woodland spotted a deer, our first for a few days. After the woodland we rejoined the A9 to cross Durnoch Firth on another impressive bridge with fantastic views in all directions. We left the bridge by climbing the crash barrier and shimmying down a steep bank to reach the shore of the Firth.
After a walk along the shoreline and a short stretch of road we were back in the forest and passed the remains of a Bronze/Iron Age settlement of 25 hut circles. Just before reaching Durnoch we passed a standing stone where St Gilbert is said to have slain the Durnoch dragon with a bow and arrow. Steve found this rather fanciful as he knows it takes a lot more than a bow and arrow to get rid of a dragon.
Durnoch is home to Scotland’s smallest cathedral and the former Bishop’s castle is now a fine hotel.
Tonight we are camping at Durnoch Caravan and Camping Park right by the beach and dunes. We were checked in by a lady who had walked the JOG trail. She gave us some useful tips on things to be aware of over the next week: tics, cliff edges, barbed wire, overgrown paths and river crossings. Only 7 days to go!