Week 17 Week 18 Week 19
On my journey to John o'Groats I took quit some detours. But they were quite worth it, the North Coast 500 is absolutely worth a visit. This week though, I arrived. It was a bit unspectacular, to be honest. And the days were challenging. On my own again, I had to recalibrate a bit and biked rather short distances. Mainly due to rain.
Where the 405 kilometers took me
Fri, 23. Jun 2023
North Coast 500 - steep descend with Garmin going crazy

Solo again! And i took shameful advantage of it. Just after a short ride I decided to call it a day. A campsite with shop, bar and beautiful view was there and I couldn’t resist…

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Sat, 24. Jun 2023
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Today‘s landscape was exactly how I imagined Scotland. Long and soft mountains with the occasional peaks. Definitely a great ride and the campervans on the #nc500 slowly get less, therefore more motorbikes. And the sweetest thing happened. I always check whether there’s shop closeby before I call it a day. There was, but It was just about to close nd I wouldn’t reach it in time. There was a foodtruck though that I could actually see. Went there, ordered a burger and asked whether they would have a beer s well. They didn’t have a license. I must have looked a bit sad. The lady said that she would drive me to the next shop. I was obviously hesitant, but she insisted. We just made it in time. And she was such a sweet lady nd explained all the parts of the landscape we drove by. She got some onions as well and I insisted to pay at least for these. She was not happy about that and gave me yet another beer that she had in her trunk 🍻

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Sun, 25. Jun 2023

Having a set destiny some days in advance seems to make me lazy. Again. Short day. To be fair though, a lot of uphill. All with strong headwinds and dark clouds. I hardly could stand at a point. I had cell reception, found a great BnB nearby and settled in the bus station. And the one thing that I’m really proud of is my sense for rain. I left the bus stop just in time to arrive at the BnB in time for the big pour. Didn’t catch a single drop. Accommodation here is generally very expensive. In comparison to what I got for my money at the hostel, this was cheap. Breakfast was excellent!

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Mon, 26. Jun 2023
North Coast 500 - Wee Shop in Westfield near Thurso

I made it to #johnogroats! Certainly not in a record time, but I did as well some detours. Now further north! Now that I’m so far north, I at least want to see the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. I would not usually take all the travel time to get there, but now, easy! I changed general plans as well and might stay a lot longer in the North. France has been busy already in May, but now with the holidays starting it will be too busy for me. Still discussing with myself whether I should go to the Outer Hebrides. Chances are fifty fifty.

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Tue, 27. Jun 2023
Wed, 28. Jun 2023
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On my way to the islands. First the Orkney Islands, then Shetland. Only two people on the ferry and the crew, which was really nice. At least on the way to. Lots of busses came to bring people to the harbour to get to John o'Groats. Cruise tourists. Had them as well in Kirkwall where I had to wait a bit, as my gear cable needed replacement. All empty, until I reached the cathedral and all of a sudden hundreds of people. Really, pouring in. It must be bittersweet for people living there. The first night on Orkney I spent on an amazing campsite. Small, not too manicured, but really had everything one could ask for. And done in a super nice way. Made me realise, that I miss taking care of a place. They had as well the best honesty shop I've ever seen. Second night was so different, the warden had the charm of a prison guard. Not a lot of biking, due to the repair. Had to change plans a bit.

Oh. I found a little grocery in Kirkwall. They have the best smoked mackerel I had, ever.

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Thu, 29. Jun 2023
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I biked for 100 days now. I travelled longer. And I’m almost at the most northern point. Orkney is very beautiful, but I must say, I’m missing trees a bit. And I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that islands are not great for biking. You’re going in circles, need to take routes back and forth. Wait for the ferry. So, I think I will skip the outer Hebrides. And go to Ireland. I will go there though, but maybe with a pair of hiking boots.

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Mood: happy :)