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So having organised everything in the last minute, on Thursday (11th August) I miraculously found myself on an early train to Thurso. Having just finished a long stretch of back to back jobs since the new year, weekly working on a multi-task-layered schedule, it was an incredibly surreal feeling to be travelling up north with with my bike, a tent, a few basic accessories and nothing else but a plan of cycling the north west coast of Scotland for the next two weeks. Being in a hazy state of mind from staying up all night, finishing the sponsorship website, added to the confusion in my head, that was finding it difficult to cope with such a singular idea. I was glad that all I planned to do today was to get to my starting point up at Dunnet Head, pitch a tent and fall asleep. It was hard to believe that it was more than a year ago when I was cycling the northern roads, now flying past me as the train was taking me further into highlands.


Soon enough I arrived in Thurso, without too much delay got on the bike and started pedalling towards Dunnet. It all came back to me very quickly as soon as I hit my first climb up a wee hill. “Yes Sergey, you’re not zooming around a city on an empty bike any more, - get into the low gear NOW!”

Journey up & Day 1: Dunnet Head - Bettyhill

Distance 43 miles / Elevation 800 meters

Needless to say, this sign was a welcome sight. It wasn’t much later than 5pm, but I was ready to pass out and charge up my batteries for the first day of pedaling.

Dunnet Head Lighthouse (Orkney Islands in the background). Gravitational force has changed around here, which has stopped me from performing last year’s trick.

It was great to see the golden cliffs of Dunnet Head. Nae puffins this time though..


I pitched my tent on thick carpet of heather, cooked my dinner, and fell asleep to the sound of fierce ocean wind, - nothing that my nylon castle can’t handle.


Next morning I woke up to the sound of the crashing waves and rushing wind. Thinking not much of it I got up, welcomed the ocean wind into the tent, had my porridge and started packing. The rhythm I acquired on the last years venture, seemed to kick in, and I was on the road again in no time.

Front-handle-bar-mounted treasure chest. Only the essentials are stored here..

Last sight of the Orkney cliffs.


Postcards were left in this box, miraculously they reached their destinations within two days.

After a short while I arrived to Torrisdale Bay in Bettyhill..

.. with 43 miles on the clock, and the next stretch of road winding into the hills, it seemed like a good place to stop for the day.


As I was pitching my tent, I noticed another, weather beaten cyclist approaching the camping spot. He looked absolutely knackered as he wobbled his way down the hill. He asked me if I knew where the campsite reception was so he could pay for his spot. All I could do was sympathetically smile and point at the reception cabin at the top of the hill, pretty much where he had just come from. The man was at the end of his 2nd last day of Lands End - John O’ Groats two week trip. He looked like a determined enthusiast who was happy to be at a near end of his journey. I am only getting started - Bring it!

This is what you get when you ask for a white coffee in these parts.

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