Into the highlands of Scotland

The final few days of the LEJOG through the spectacular scenery of Scotland, from the borderlands to the highlands and the islands. It was amazing eventually getting back to the place I was born…


…that the weather pretty much changed the day we left from Carlisle in the north of England to cross into Scotland as we headed to Galashiels. It snowed overnight so the countryside was just beautiful, blanketed in white. It was a cold day, but we soon warmed up as we cycled. It didn’t seem to take long until we got to that landmark sign telling us that we had left England behind and that we were in the final part of our journey.

From Galashiels, where we stayed the night with a nice young couple we had again met through Warm Showers, we headed up to Edinburgh where we were able to take a day off to explore the city. After that, crossing the Forth, and towards the highlands. We had been advised to not take the main A-road to Newtonmore because it was so busy and dangerous, though the alternative was a cycle track that was just icy, very hilly and treacherous. We tried for a while though eventually made the decision to just go back to the A-road as our progress was so slow – we wanted to get to Newtonmore before nightfall, and we just about managed it.

Inverness followed (we treated ourselves to a hotel there and went to Zizzi where we had what was to us the most amazing pizza and beer ever – it was great, though I do think we were very hungry! From there, it was just north along the coastal road for a few more days until we got Brora and eventually Wick – just a few kilometres from John O’Groats. We thought we would stay the night there (and it had been a perfect day) to be able to cycle peacefully in to John O’Groats in the morning, taking our time to take pictures, film some videos and relax… The weather, however, had other plans as it changed overnight and was literally howling as we got out of bed. We had to ride diagonally in the road to be able to forward as the cross winds were so strong. We got to John O’Groats but didn’t linger as it was so bad… we had done it, but what an ending!

To celebrate the ending of the journey we had arranged to meet my mother and head on over to the Orkney Islands. And the weather as we crossed over–the day after that crazy storm had hit us–was absolutely perfect, still and frosty, and it stayed like that the entire week we stayed in the Orkneys. Almost unheard of during winter!