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NC500 Day Four: Kinlochbervie – Mey (John O’Groats)

Day Four

NC500 - Day Four

NC500 – Day Four

Route: Kinlochbervie – Mey (John o’Groats)

Distance Travelled: 146 miles (670 )

Weather: Mainly dry with heavy showers, and high winds

Drop Counter: Jenny 2 (8) Ian 0 (2)

Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave Waterfall

Smoo Cave – so much water!

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NC 500 Day Two: Dornie to Badrallach (The Isle of Skye)

Day Two

NC500 Day Two Isle of Skye

NC500 Day Two

Route: Dornie – Badrallach, via The Isle of Skye

Weather: Overcast with heavy showers

Distance: 184 miles (353)

Drop Counter: Jenny 1 (3) / Ian 0 (2)

The Isle of Skye

Another day of grey skies, high winds and heavy rain. Fortunately the morning stayed dry for our foray onto Skye. Taking a turn at random on Skye, we ended up on the A851 which leads down to Armadale. We stopped a little way down this road at The Gaelic Whiskies and had a wander round a local gallery before trying a very wee dram of a few whiskies.

Local artist Derek Robertson showed us his current field study drawings of an otter and let us use his telescope to see some porpoises he’d seen across the bay. His artwork was stunning, although sadly we could only afford to take a few cards home with us. The whiskies we tried were all very tasty, and not being connoisseurs couldn’t taste the difference in quality between the single malt and the blended. So, naturally, we bought the cheapest, “Té Bheag”, which according to the label is pronounced chey vek and is the affectionate term for a wee dram! Continue reading

NC500 Day One – Inverness to Dornie (Bealach na Bà)

Day One

NC500 - Day One

NC500 – Day One

Route: Inverness Castle – Dornie

Distance: 169 miles

“Drop” Counter: Jenny – 2 / Ian – 2

Our first day of travelling the NC500 ended in a quaint “bothy” listening to the rain lash against the tin roof. Occasionally a particularly heavy lashing caused a light mist to rain down on us as the weather found gaps to push through. Doing the NC500 whilst the tail end of three hurricanes battered the U.K. was perhaps poor timing, but now we were here we were going to make the most of it!

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Kielder Forest Drive

Kielder Forest Drive

We explored this little route on our way up to do the NC500. The weather, forecast to rain all week was kind to us, and stayed dry, with a few sunny spells throughout the drive.

The route starts at Kielder Castle and finishes on the A68 near Otterburn, a few miles from the Scottish border.  There is a small £3 levy, which you pay via a machine at the Kielder end. It only accepts change, although if you are caught short, the bike centre opposite were very accommodating in changing a note for us.

Kielder Forest Drive

Jenny on the Forest Drive

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NC500 – The Next Adventure…

The Next Adventure

With New Zealand becoming a distant memory, a new adventure was required! Needing something a little less expensive, a little closer to home but something equally exciting we settled on the NC500. Touted as Scotland’s rival to America’s Route 66, it encompasses 500 miles around the northern reaches of mainland Scotland.  With a friend’s wedding in Inverness providing the perfect excuse, we got down to details. Continue reading

White Island (Te Puia o Whakāri)

 Te Puia o Whakāri

When you land amidst the ruins of the old sulphur factory, you wonder what it must have been like living in this desolate place for months at a time.  The volcano itself descends some five thousand feet below sea level to reach the seafloor, but its crater and surrounding rim extend a mere 300m above the sea. This makes it one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world, with no need to traipse up a mountainside for hours to reach signs of volcanic activity. The tour itself is little more than a pleasant stroll, albeit through  steam that hangs ominously in the air. Indeed, in Maori its name means “the dramatic volcano”, and as you approach the island by boat, you get a bubbling sense of anticipation. The steam that emits from the island’s centre seems to merge seamlessly with the blue sky, forming a backdrop of white clouds. It is this ever present cloud that caused Captain Cook to name it “White Island”. We  booked a tour on Peejay, and spent the day exploring!

 

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