Day Eight – Fort William to Black Isles – 81 miles – the worst weather but a free lunch

Alarm set for 7 but the wind and rain battering the window made sure I woke up early in the youth Hostel. Down to the Italian restaurant for my porridge breakfast. Just as I was leaving the 2 lejoggers I had raced towards Carlisle came in, we discussed tactics and routes for the day and I headed off. I had time to kill so I detoured to take photos on the way eg Neptunes staircase, Commando Memorial etc. Up through Spean Bridge, along the side of Loch Lochy and Loch Oich before stopping at Lovat Restaurant for lunch of Haggis on jacket potato then I discovered they offered free wifi so it seemed an opportunity to upload yesterdays blog. Just at that the 2 cyclists I’d spoken to at breakfast time came in as they’d spotted my bike parked up and ordered lunch. I spent so much time uploading stuff that they paid up and went. When I requested my bill the girl said she assumed we were together so they’d paid it – happy days – if I see them at the end I’ll buy them a drink. As I set away again towards Loch Ness it got colder and colder and windier and really started to rain – so apologies that there’s no photo of Nessie as everything had to be watertight – I did see her honest!! Loch Ness is huge but before I knew it I was out the end and heading towards Inverness, across the Kessock Bridge and onto the A9, briefly (which was hairy) before heading onto the Black Isle and my resting place at Avoch (pronounced ‘Och’ as with something stuck in the back of your throat). I was cold and wet so took the unusual decision to eat before I checked in. I had originally intended doing some dolphin spotting but as I was so cold and wet dolphins were the last thing on my mind. The Station Hotel didn’t look much from the outside but once inside it’s a different story, the décor is good, staff friendly (even though I looked like a drowned rat) and the food was just what I wanted and not overpriced :-) then it was up a very steep hill to my B&B (http://www.go-bedandbreakfast.co.uk/ardvreckan/_) for a shower and coffee before using more free wifi to update this blog entry.

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