With no Internet connection at Findochty, I decided to get to bed early. This was after a meal at the Admirals Inn, next to the camp site. After a bowl of Cullen Skink, a chicken curry and a pint of 80/- (that's 'shillings'), I went to pay the bill. The proprietora asked me if I'd come far. When I told her what I was doing, she promptly handed the £20 note back and said to 'have it on the house'. The camp site warden had also waived his fee, so all in all, Findochty ('Finnechty' for those in the know) was a good place to be.
So a really good night's sleep, albeit with the rain pounding on the tent until about 05.00. I allowed myself an extra hour too, not getting up until 06.30. That seemed to do the trick and today I felt much stronger and less tired. The westerly wind was still in my face; it takes all my strength to keep the bike moving in a straight line, important when there's traffic hurtling past. It's my shoulders that suffer.
I decided to miss out Findhorn (the place I should have reached last night). It's not really a harbour, just a couple of breakwaters that shelter a few yachts. It would have been a six-mile round trip, so probably saved the best part of an hour there.
That brings me to average speed. In training I was managing 11 or 12 miles an hour. The 70 mile training run took a little over six hours. But I wasn't loaded down with nearly 30Kg of luggage. Into a headwind, the panniers act like airbrakes. Going up a hill, they feel like anchors. With all the many stops for food, drink and harbours, I'm only averaging about 7 miles an hour. That means I have to be out for between 10 and 12 hours each day just to maintain the schedule. Perhaps I was a little over-optimistic at the planning stage!
This evening I managed to reach Inverness by 7.30, which pleased me greatly. Not only do I love the city, but it meant that I was now only about 20 miles behind where I should be (at Balblair). I sit here writing this blog in between munching an American Hot in Pizza Express!
Tomorrow it's on to the Black Isle. Not an 'island' of course, but a mainly wooded promontory that looks dark from a distance.